Remember Last Knight

run, girl, run


I settled into the passenger side of Knight’s car, letting myself rest against the door. I could see Knight standing on the stoop of his house with his parents, who were talking to him, sometimes shaking their heads. They were talking quietly; I couldn’t hear what they were saying. I rolled my eyes not at them, more so at him, ready to get myself home.

Finally, Knight walked away from his parents, sitting behind the wheel. He started the car, turned the air and radio up, slamming his hand down to pull into reverse. This all happened in about two seconds, the door barely shut behind him as he looked behind us, backing out of his driveway too quickly.

We’re on the road, the houses and mailboxes floating by. The radio station has turned to static, and finally, nothing. The air is quiet and still, the only noise our breath, my heartbeat in my ears and the hum of the engine. I turn my head to Knight. He’s staring straight ahead, hands clutching the wheel at 9 and 3, his fingertips white. Slowing to take a right turn, Knight flicks his eyes in my direction, and I watched them flit away quickly. I nod my head slightly, a small something rising on my lips; a smirk, some words, and a bite of attitude.

“What?” Knight asks suddenly. I’m surprised. I didn’t think he noticed.

“Are you upset still?”

A heavy sigh fell from his lips. He turned his head to me, a slight frown there, a furrow of his brow. “Yes, I am,” Another sigh. “I’m sorry, but I just… I feel like you owe me something, and I know I shouldn’t feel like that and-”

“You’re right, you shouldn’t expect me to tell you anything. I really shouldn’t tell you anything, actually, because for one I barely know you, but I’m gonna say it, are you ready? It’s kind of a mouthful.” He just stares ahead, but I continue to sit at an angle, watching him. I don’t know why I’m doing this, I think to myself, but not for long. I know why. I’m a yank-the-band-aid-off-as-fast-as-possible-to-get-it-over-with kind of girl. Here I was, yanking the band-aid. “We don’t need another one of us exploding, so I might as well right? I’ve never said it aloud, never had to, never needed to, but damn it. Fine. Okay, look, I can’t really bring myself to feel sorry that you’re mad at me – okay? I-I’m just not gonna do that, I can’t do that to myself. I’m a little too busy being mad at myself, and mad at the world.

“Last night, I found out that my ex boyfriend was killed, and I’m mad because I cried over him, and all the shit that happened because of him, because of a boy who used me and abused me and cheated on me, and I’m mad because also last night, I almost got into a fight with one of the girls who he cheated on me with, who I beat the shit out of because Freshman year I was that girl who was used and cheated and abused. Fighting her because of what Louis did to me lead to me switching schools, leaving my friends, my parents hating me and a permanent record filled with three charges and three court cases that are going to follow me for the rest of my fucking life, so I’m sorry, Knight, yes I am, that I don’t have any sympathy for you right now because I can barely turn anything into sense in my head right now. There ya go, happy? I’m sorry that I can’t feel sorry for you.”

We’re in my neighborhood, I see, when I finally look away from Knight. That’s also when I realize that the car is, in fact, not moving. We’re at a standstill in the middle of the intersection of Pine and Mulberry, Knight looking at me, and me looking back.

“Uh, um, well… I-I didn’t mean to explode. I just… something’s gotta give. I obviously didn’t know what was going on, so I mean, you can’t really blame me. Well, you can, I guess, but-”

“I don’t blame you.”

I don’t blame Knight. Not one bit. He’s not the one who cheated on me, or hit me; he’s not Louis. He’s not the one who went off on a rage against immature high school girls who don’t understand the term abstinence and got in a shitload of trouble for it. He’s not the one who ruined his life over one boy, one stupid boy who I should have never even wasted my time on. He’s not the one who looks like a jealous, overreacting bitch who is just completely psychotic and has the temper of a neutered bull…. I just. I can’t blame him. I can only blame myself.

Quiet. Dead. Knight isn’t looking at me, and neither am I at him. I’m staring at my lap, he’s focusing on the span of road ahead of us. I wait for him to say something. He doesn’t. We’re not moving. I wait for him to accelerate, to finish driving the three blocks to my house. He doesn’t. He just sits there, unmoving, staring. Finally, I look up, reach my hand for the door handle and hold on.

“Pull a U-turn, I’ll walk. I need some time alone anyway, y’know. Thanks for the ride so far.” I pull at the handle, pushing the door out. One foot out of the car, I feel a hand on my arm and a voice, too loud in the quiet that was his car.

“N-No! I’ll drive you. I will. I didn’t mean to stop; I can get us there in a second… Ugh, um…Just… just let me make it up to you. Not the stopping thing, the me being a huge, disgusting prick. Elle, just… let me, uhm, le-let me take you out to lunch. On Thursday. I’ll pick you up.”

I’m sitting in the car again. Planted in the seat, one foot out the door, one arm being held in Knight’s hand, which was warm and steady wrapped around my wrist. I’m looking at this frantic boy, with a flushed face and wide eyes, stumbling over his words to apologize.

“I’m gonna go home now. Let go of my arm. I don’t blame you for any of this, okay? I’m not mad at you, but please now, please, let go of my arm or I will hit you, I swear to God, and it won’t be pretty. Trust me, I’m not mad. I just can’t… I can’t have anyone touch me.” He drops his hand when I pull slightly, still watching me as I talk, slow and clear. “Just let me go, and I’ll run home, and we’ll all be normal again. I need a run, I need some air, and you need to get home.” He doesn’t stop me as I get up, step out of the car, and start walking.

Walking to my house, where I’ll hide around the side from my parents so I can stretch, and then I’ll run. Run, run, run, girl, run. I’ve passed the first block and I’m close to the second when the car slows beside me, the window rolled down, Knight calling out to me across the seat.

“Does that mean I can pick you up? On Thursday? I’ll come to your house and everything, and we’ll just have lunch and-”

“Yeah, sure, whatever; just… Yeah. I’ll be here.”

I don’t know where this stemmed from, this smile he threw at me. One second he’s mad as hell, the next he’s sorry, and now he’s making me toss a small smile back. If I didn’t know any better, I would say he’s just as wacked up as I am. Of course, that’s not right, since I’m as fucked up as it can get, but hey? A girl can wish her lunacy unreal.

He nodded, saying bye. I bid him goodbye as well, refusing the ride he offers again, and he gives up, before waving again and taking a turn to loop back out the neighborhood.

I’m at the house now, stretching. I need this. I need this run. I need it. I turn around and slip between my fence and our left-side neighbors’, taking the little path between them to the street behind ours. I start off slow, steadying my pace before speeding up. I’m a distance and speed runner, and this could go on for a while. That’s okay, though, because I need this. I need the familiar feel of my heart pumping and my feet hitting the pavement, I need to be able to hear where I am as I run, so I can at least, right now, know where I stand. Run, run, run, girl, run.