love, Ruth Nineke

Throw her out.

Post Published: November 3, 2022

In an effort to keep teen delinquents off the premises, to prevent them from loitering, smoking, or drinking on the benches or swings The playground outside of Supreme was well lit at night. But its parking lot was never closed, and any given week night six or seven cars and kids could be found near its edge. 

Kevin figured she’d be waiting at the benches because that’s where the payphones were. He was right. 

She sat atop the back of the last bench closest to the phones, her feet on its seat. She was hunched over with her arms crossed and her elbows on her knees. She wore a sweatshirt and though the hood was up, the autumn breeze still blew strands of hair into her face. 

Kevin loved her more then, than he ever had. He loved her more than when he’d first kissed her, more than when he’d taught her to throw and catch a ball, or swing a bat. He loved her the most then because he knew she’d needed it the most then. He knew that by calling him, Brenda was saying she loved him most.

They noticed one another as soon as he shut the car door. Kevin put his hands in his pockets, and raised his shoulders up to protect his neck from the chilly night air. Brenda kept her eyes on him until Kevin stood directly before the bench. 

“Hey,” he said softly.

“Hey,” she matched him.

He’d wanted to ask how she was but small talk seemed ill-fitting and absurd at that point. She’d called and said she was in trouble, and asked for his help. It was unnecessary to ask how she was doing.

“Brenda, tell me what to do?”

“Throw her out,” she replied, referring to Michelle. 

She was living with Kevin and his parents. Her mother had put her out for refusing to end the pregnancy, and Jaclyn insisted she stay with them. 

His hands were tied. 

“I know,” Brenda said. She shut her eyes a moment, and changed the subject. “I lost it tonight…on my mom.” 

Kevin wanted to wrap his arms around her, bring her into him to make it easier. But he was wary of physical contact. He didn’t want to make her uncomfortable, because he didn’t know for sure where he stood with her. If she wanted to talk he would listen. He’d do anything she asked.

“I have to run away,” Brenda said. “I have to leave this place. There’s nothing for me anymore.” She looked at him and twisted her lips to the side of her face. “You know?”

“Where are you going to go?”

“My cousin’s.”

“Alex?”

“Yeah, she’s in Aberdeen. Drive me to Aberdeen,” Brenda said.

He hadn’t expected that.

“Brenda?”

“Kevin.”

“Are you sure?”

“Am I sure?” she asked. 

Brenda hopped off the bench, and He stepped back to accommodate the motion. “Am I sure?” she repeated. 

“Gee, I don’t know, Kevin. Am I sure my boyfriend got another girl pregnant? Am I sure that girl was my best friend, my next door neighbor? Am I sure that I witnessed them moving her out of her house last week? To go live with him and his parents? Am I sure that I just tried to kill my mother tonight, four hours ago? Am I sure,” she went on, “that I’ve got no reason left in the world to be where I am right now? To stay here and face more humiliation when my family sends me to the looney bin? Am I sure that I only want to be in the one place where I know one person on this entire planet who won’t betray me? I really just don’t know.” She took a breath and turned her body at angle away from his.

“Brenda, I’m sorry,” he said.

“I just want to go, okay? Either give me a ride to the bus depot or go home.”

“I’m not going home on you now.”

She turned her body back to him. “Then drive me to Aberdeen,” she said. “Come with me. Stay there with me.”

Kevin watched her for a moment. He looked at the arcade, at the red and yellow sign that read Supreme, and brought his eyes back to Brenda. If she wanted him to leave with her he would.

“Let’s go,” he said.


 

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