Hands by Melissa Jenkins

My best friend holds my hand on the day I lie to her for the last time.  She braids my hair and does my makeup, but she holds my hand like only a best friend can.  The cheers from the crowd and ringing of their shoes on the bleachers for the winning touchdown drown out the sound of my guilt, so I let her keep holding my hand.

Emma holds pom poms in one hand, and my sweaty hand in the other.  I remember all of the times she has stood by my side underneath the glare of the stadium lights at football games.  I remember all of the times she has stayed by my side in the dim hallways and cold classrooms in spite of my lies—the lies she never believed, was never tricked by like the other girls I drove away.

Emma doesn’t let go of my hand until the game is over and parents and friends pour onto the muddy field.  When she does, I run up to Jared.  Someone tells her that we have been dating since Tuesday.  She has been expecting this since Saturday when I called and asked for his number for an English project, but she knew we didn’t have English together.  A part of her refuses to believe I would do this to her, and she knows she has let me.  She would like to believe she is more hurt by her own ignorance than my betrayal.

She doesn’t call me a bitch and pull my hair like any other girl would if she learned her friend was suddenly dating the boy she had been in love with for years.  Instead, she gets in her car and drives and cries for hours.  She cries for Jared; she thinks that he has broken her heart.  When he cheats on me with her six months from now, Emma will understand that she has been missing me all of this time.  She will think of the time she held my hand on a cold Friday night in November and will feel the sting of my betrayal deep in her chest.

—written by Melissa Jenkins in CW 350 Fiction Workshop, Fall 2010

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