Remember Last Knight

exposed over the table's edge


I don’t want to get up; I don’t want to get dressed; and I certainly don’t want to hang out with anyone.

Every day this week has been the same: fall asleep in the early evening, wake up before midnight to eat dinner, take something to get back to sleep, wake up around 8 AM and wish for sleep, fall back into bed and wake up again around noon, eat something small, run for an hour, eat, run for an hour, eat, run for an hour, eat, fall asleep in the early evening, so on and so on.

That has been my routine. I haven’t seen my parents, only Ayden, when I come in to sleep and sometimes later at night, but never during the day. I haven’t spoken a full sentence to anyone, or even thought of anything that could make sense.

Oh, and now, I was supposed to get up and go to lunch with Knight, where it would probably be expected for me to eat and keep up a normal conversation, and that’s just not something I’m up for. Not at all.


I’m nervous. Completely, truly, absolutely nervous. I don’t know what this is. I’ve never felt so compelled toward one person. I think I may need to have a talk with Mom and Julie about what’s going on, maybe later tonight. I feel obligated to stay near Elle, but not in a chore sort of way. We’re not magnets, but we’re being pulled together, and torn apart, and I can’t help but find myself straggling back for more. I’m attracted to her, and not just in the sense that she’s gorgeous. Ever since that first night, even after she hit me, I let her take control and drive my car. She pushed me back and then pulled me in, and I let her, and in turn, she’s let me do the same with this little lunch of ours. I pushed, she pushed back. She’s a mess. I’m a mess. I want this. I just don’t know why I would want my knots of yarn to get tied with hers to such a degree.


Getting ready isn’t hard. It’s easy for me to step into the shower and let myself divulge in warm water, tangerine shampoo and mango body wash. It’s actually semi-fun to disappear into my closet and pick out a real outfit for the first time in days, do my hair and makeup and watch as I transform from Hot Mess #1 into Semi-Decent Looking Part of Society.

The hard part is answering the door and leaving with Knight.

I’m so into my routine. I’m so into being in control of what is happening, and I have been, for the last few days. I have my routine set. Nothing can go wrong. What gets me out the door isn’t Knight’s continuous knocking, or his yelling through the door, or even the loud honking of his car’s horn. What gets me out of the door is that when I step into the half-bath downstairs to take one last deep breath before I opened the door and told him I wasn’t going to go, I couldn’t, I’m sorry, was the way I looked. I didn’t look frantic. I didn’t look a mess. My clothes were neat, my hair laying the way I wanted, and even though I was breathing in to convince myself of a change, I liked this better.


After a long argument of where to eat, I was stuck with Knight Harvey, running through Walgreens in search for food.

“Why are we doing this?” I ask for the third time as I follow him, pushing the cart.

“You couldn’t decide where to go! I gave you the choice of any restaurant or diner in Houston and you still couldn’t decide -”

“You could have made a decision, y’know.”

“Yes, but I’m taking you to lunch, which means it’s your choice, and since you couldn’t pick a single place…”

“I told you I’m not hungry.”

“So I’d have to go somewhere with variety, and we can’t go to a buffet, because those places are always full with obese Baptists and the food is completely toxic. So, of course, next best, a place where you can get anything and everything you’d like!”

I shake my head, looking into our cart. He’s right, we’ve got about anything and everything: apple juice, a package of hotdogs, a box of Ritz crackers, a jar of peanut butter, a gallon of sweet tea, and we’re still not finished. I don’t mind so much, really, because it’s funny to watch Knight flit from aisle to aisle, grabbing at things and putting them back, and then only grabbing them again. My problem is that we’re currently standing in the frozen section, which means my legs and arms are covered in goose bumps. I’ve been pushing this cart around the whole store for half an hour, which is difficult, considering that every other second I’m veering hard to the right to avoid running into everything, due to the faulty left wheel. Oh, and worst of all, I’m actually a little hungry.

“Can we go now? It’s freezing in here.” I know I sound crazy. I want to go out into the hot, hot Texan heat. I’m already turning the cart toward the front of the store (lifting the left side off of the ground and dragging it into Aisle 6: Toiletries, Shampoos and Body Washes,) ready to make a mad dash to the register. I start walking forward, taking a look back at Knight.

He looks up suddenly, dropping the package in his hand, like I’d startled him. He shuts the door to the freezer, opens his mouth to say something, and closes it again. I almost chuckle, as he stutters and nods and smoothes his hands down the sides of his pants, shoving his fists into his pocket and letting me swing a right into a nearby aisle and head toward the cashiers.


I knew I’d pushed to stay too long, to kill time. I wanted to kill the sick feeling in my stomach that made me nauseous and antsy. Instead, I got onto the interstate and stopped at the first rest area.


My lunch consisted of apples dipped in peanut butter, apple juice from the carton and pieces of hotdog sandwiched between Ritz crackers. I know, I had told myself no, not one bite of anything. No food for Elle. I was breaking my routine, so I need a punishment of some sorts, right? It’s all about control.

What broke me, unlike earlier in the day, was not my own self-satisfaction or rebellion or my hunger. No, what broke me was that while I was perched on a splintered, wooden bench at the far edge of the rest area where we had stopped, only a short walking distance from both the playground and the doggy-walking-and-business-area, I watched Knight’s sad attempt at lighting an older, camp-site grill. He’d been trying to light the coal with a cigarette lighter and a few scraps of paper that had been in his trunk. I didn’t have the heart to break it to him that he was in need of lighter fluid to get a real fire blazing, so I just sat back, legs crossed over one another, laughing at him as he tried with all his might to not only produce some flames, but backlash my laughter.

“Stop it, quit it! Elle!” I could barely hear him now. Really. Just… I don’t know where to start. He was running out of paper, and burning his fingers, and squealing at me to stop giggling. It was too much. I couldn’t control myself.

“I want to see you do it!” Knight told me, plopping down across from me. I laughed again, a strangled chuckle, as he stared at me. He dropped the lighter down beside the open package of hotdogs, motioning for me to go and take my try.


She was laughing. At me. It was nice, to hear her laugh. To see her laugh. Elle has a nice laugh. Not too loud, not too obnoxious, not too wheezy. Her cheeks are tinted pink from her giggling, I see, as I sit down across from her. I can only hope that my own aren’t flushed from shame.

“You’ve never grilled before, have you?” she asked, in one flourish. Her voice is breezy now, too soft, and she takes a deep breath, her right hand pressing against her stomach, to steady herself.

“Yeah,” I say, looking down fast, then back. What is wrong with me? “Not a lot, but yeah. It’s all been on a gas grill, though.”

She laughs again, louder, just once. I can’t help but make a face. She smiles, one hand reaching up to her lip, which she grabs, shaking her head.

“What can I expect,” she says, reaching forward, grabbing the lighter, “from the son of two women? Of course, you didn’t grill a lot. Of course, when it was with charcoal, you were young. Of course, you don’t have a dad who hates propane grills and refuses to use anything but charcoal because it takes too long to build a fire from sticks. Of course.”

I just watch, and listen, and watch. She’s got the lighter in her right hand, flicking at it, her left palm resting on the little bit of knee I see exposed over the table’s edge. I’m watching the lighter, listening to her talk, entranced by her fingers, nails painted a light, light blue, as they brush over the side and the flame rises and –

“Knight,” Elle says. She stopped with the lighter, but did not close it. The flame is there, still. “Knight.” The lighter is out of her hand on the table, and she’s reached her hand out to cover the skin on my forearm. “Are you okay?” And in her face, I see that this isn’t funny anymore. Not one bit.

“What? Yeah!” I shake my head, slip my arm out from under hers. I can tell now that she’s uncomfortable, sliding both of her hands under the table. I want to hit myself, or something. I’ve done it again. I’ve zoned, I’ve paid too much attention, and I’ve let that side of me, the attention-to-detail, the I-write-detailed-narratives-and-replays-of-my-days side of me get out.

“But, uhm, there is no way we’re going to be able to cook these like this,” Elle says, pointing toward the hot dogs. I nod, understanding, frustrated with myself. This had been going well enough. What am I even trying for? Really, honestly, what?

“Look!” I did, and I couldn’t help but smile a little. I was looking at Elle, eating a small bit of hotdog wedged between to Ritz crackers. She finished eating the one, then smiled at me, “They’re good, here,” She tore off another piece, placed it between two crackers and held it out for me. “I don’t have cooties, I swear.”

Then, without thinking, I leaned forward and grabbed the little sandwich with my teeth, straight from her fingers.


For Knight. I broke my promise, and my punishment to myself, for him.

Not that, y’know, I didn’t enjoy the smile it brought to his face. I could tell something was wrong. He’d just turned down so fast, and he needed it. I needed it. I needed to see that smile, because hello, he was the one who brought my laugh back to me, why not repay the favor?
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Elle's outfit.