Katie was sitting at the bench in the bus stop close to her house. She checked her phone. No new messages, just the plans from Becca. “Hey, let’s meet at the bus stop after school. 4? It’s close to both of our places so it’s perfect.”
Katie already finished her homework, doing most of it between classes, and finishing up at home before walking to the stop. She didn’t have that far to walk, and Becca’s house was even closer to the bus stop than hers. That was part of the reason why they were going to meet there.
Katie and Becca were close friends. They’d known each other for years. Becca learned how to bake specifically so she could make treats for Katie. Katie practiced extra hard for soccer so she could impress Becca. Becca even made a bracelet for Katie with a little soccer ball design on the wrist.
Becca was supposed to be there up to half an hour ago so they could go to their secret base. About two months ago Becca found a dried up well in the woods behind her house. When she showed Katie, Katie immediately climbed in it and started to climb down. She remembered reading that you could see the stars in the sky during a sunny day when you were in the bottom of a well.
Katie was kicking her legs back and forth at the bus stop. She was quite glad that the bus stop had a little overhang so she could avoid the rain while she waited. She wasn’t stupid. She brought an umbrella, but her arm got tired holding it up while waiting for Becca.
That first day she showed Katie the well Becca eventually climbed down too. Katie had to goad her down, but it didn’t take too much effort. She promised her a surprise if Becca would make it all the way down. When she got down there, Becca was greeted with a kiss. Katie confessed that she didn’t like boys much, but thought Becca was really cute and funny. Becca was mostly quiet for the rest of the time they were in the well.
Katie started to get frustrated waiting for Becca. Half an hour was quickly becoming an hour, and Ty just texted her about a book report due at midnight that she completely blanked on. She started to bite her upper lip and pick at the dry skin on her hand. “What if she doesn’t really like me now? I shouldn’t have kissed her. That was too much.” She remembered Ty texting her about a boy in a grade above her who was beaten up after he confessed that he had a crush on another boy. His confession was originally a private message on facebook, but it was screencapped and sent throughout the school. Katie began to cry.
They spent over 2 hours sitting in the bottom of that well that first day. They just held hands and stared at the clouds above them. Katie’s book was wrong, but the moment didn’t lose any of it’s magic. Then for one brief moment they were blinded by 20 seconds of direct light. And just as quickly it was gone. Becca begged Katie not to tell anyone about their secret place. She said “It will be somewhere only we know.”
Katie started to walk home from the bus stop, tears still dripping down her face. When she got home she tried to convince her mom that it was just the rain, but her mom could see that her eyes were bloodshot. That weekend Katie didn’t leave her room, waiting for Becca to text her why she didn’t show up at the bus stop.
Monday came around and Becca didn’t show up for class. It quickly dawned on Katie where Becca was. She ran out of the school and started sprinting to the bus stop. She had to think about where to go from there. She knew it was behind Becca’s house, but Katie didn’t know the woods very well. She tried to remember the landmarks as best she could. There was the knocked over tree, the weird sign post, an old tractor tire, right?
She wandered through the woods shouting out for Becca, until she made it to the old well. Katie looked down into the well using the flashlight feature of her phone and saw Becca at the bottom. Becca’s legs were twisted in the wrong direction, and littered around her were several cupcake wrappers.
Katie was sitting in a plastic chair in the waiting room, holding a glass food container. She was biting her lip until it started to bleed a little.
A nurse in pink scrubs came through a door behind the counter and said, “You can see her now.”
She walked with the nurse past a couple of closed hospital doors and into Becca’s room. Becca was smiling from ear to ear, trying not to move too much, but a little too excited. “Ow, ow, that still hurts, come here! Just don’t touch, um, anywhere over here.” She motioned to pretty much her whole left side.
“I tried to bake you something,” Katie opened up the food container. “They’re supposed to be lemon squares.” Becca thought they were brownies. “I don’t think they are safe to eat.”
Becca motioned her to set them down on the side table, next to a brand new phone her dad just delivered. And then she pulled Katie in, with as much strength as she could, and gave her a kiss back.
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One thought on “Somewhere Only We Knew”
“Becca learned how to bake specifically so she could make treats for Katie. Katie practiced extra hard for soccer so she could impress Becca.” Honestly, love these lines. You picked super great examples for how a kid would simply think, “Yeah, just ordinary friend stuff 🙂 ” But any queer adult raises a fond eyebrow and thinks, “Yeah, normal crush stuff.”
“His confession was originally a private message on facebook, but it was screencapped and sent throughout the school.” Gosh yeah, kids these days really do have it rough, with the looming threat of cyber-bullying and the fact that so much of their childhoods get archived online. This line has that sting of realism.
This story is so bittersweet. Feels like the physical hurt of Becca falling into the well sort of reflects the background social hurt that the two girls know they might be subjected to in their futures.
But still their affection for each other is sincere!! My heart.
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