The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 42

Maggie shut her laptop and climbed into bed. She was furious with Micah for not gripping the rope she was throwing. She stripped Micah down in her mind, down to whatever thing made him crash, and she cradled it. She looked at his picture in the yearbook and tried to read sadness. Maybe she was alone after all, maybe she was crazy. Maybe even Kim and Micah, the ones who seemed the most unhinged and carved out still had that crucial piece inside of them that urged them to keep going, to want things, to breathe. She didn’t have it. She felt her blood pressure drop. She tiptoed down the stairs and prayed the ancient creaking wood wouldn’t wake her parents or Angeline. She put on her parka and her hat. She tucked her cellphone in her pocket. She grabbed a little notebook, a pen, and her mother’s car keys.

Outside, it was black and frigid and she knew the stars were just a mirage. She could hardly hold the keys to unlock the door, but she climbed into the front seat she revved the engine. She tried to see through her cloudy breath and her wet eyes to the road. She slid away from her house. She left the radio off. She drove through a deep tunnel of the star ghosts, frozen birch trees, and snow. She drove through the lightest whites and the darkest blacks that cut the sky into geometry. Her tears turned to laughter and her heart felt ready again to unhitch and be filled up by the time she got to the Tannenbaums’ street. She forgave Micah for keeping his secrets, his sadness, and his pain because that was a perfectly normal thing to do at such a small school. That was a very human thing to do. That was a very Maggie thing to do.

She could see their house at the end of their very long driveway. The kitchen window was lit up. She took the pen and the notepad in her shaking, rigid fingers and wrote. I know you are sad and that you feel hopeless. I know you don’t want anyone to know. I’m just like you. She felt like what she was about to do was crazy and creepy. What would they say at school if they knew? What would Cal think? What would Gigi say?

She added, If you want to, tape a note for me under the freshman stairway. Even in his wheelchair, he could reach. She didn’t sign her