The Mural by Lauryn A. Brooks

The Mural by Lauryn A. Brooks

Author:Lauryn A. Brooks [Brooks, Lauryn A.]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Published: 2021-05-16T14:00:00+00:00


I HAVEN’T SEEN MY FRIENDS IN WEEKS. Since Christmas break started, I had avoided virtually everyone except for my family. The guilt of reality was eating me from the inside out, but for some reason I just wanted to be… alone.

Now, as I sit in the safety of my car after days and days of isolation, I would soon come face to face with most of my peers for this New Years Eve party.

I stare at my ceiling fan and continue to watch the blades as they rotate in a painfully slow circular motion. Post dinner has me feeling mentally exhausted because Alyssa is home from college, and when she’s home, conversations consist of political talk and bickering.

Lately, I just couldn’t find the will to leave my bed.

Small vibrations pull me out of my head. I frown when I realize someone is calling me. I roll over and check my phone. It’s Jamie. My heart races as I sit up. Why is she calling me? I hadn’t seen her since the last day before Christmas break. I hover my finger over the answer command prompt before I exhale a deep breath and slide.

“Hello?” I say.

“Hey,” Jamie answers. “What are you doing right now?”

Don’t tell her you’ve been lying in bed for an hour, my mind demands.

I search for a quick lie. “I, uh, I just got back from having dinner with the fam.” Lame. “Why?”

“Well, Gwen said she couldn’t get in touch with you…” She sighs. “But uh, there’s a party tonight.”

“Yeah, I forgot to get back to her,” I lie. “I don’t know if I’m feeling another party, though.”

“You should come,” she suggests.

“Yeah? Why’s that?”

“Because it’s New Year’s Eve and we haven’t seen you all break.”

I know she’s right. I know that I’ve avoided everyone and every text I had received to hang out. I know it and still don’t feel inspired to leave my room.

“I just figured y’all needed a break from me,” I let slip.


I mentally facepalm myself. “I didn’t mean it like that. I just, you know, we see each other all the time…”

Jamie is silent on the other end of the line. I know how my comment sounded, and I know exactly how she’s going to take it, but I really hadn’t meant it like that. Had I?

“Well, I miss...” She stops. “We miss you. A lot. So, you should come out.”

Only for a moment does the gray surrounding me flash with color. Had Jamie meant to say she missed me?

“I’ll think about it.”

“I’ll text you the address.”

Then more silence. For a moment, I think she’s hung up. I pull back to look at my phone, but realize she hasn’t, and then I press it back to my ear.

“Jamie... ?”

My phone buzzes from a text.

“Please, just come over,” she begs. “I… I really miss you, Peyt.”

She sounds desperate, which makes me feel even guiltier than I already do. I look at the clock and sit up.

“Fine. I’ll come.”

I check my phone. It’s already eleven thirty. I should go in now.


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