Truth in Lies
“Why are you so happy?” Nate asks when I jump in his car and shoot him a smile. Typically, he’s carting my semi-conscious body back and forth to Amber Lea High. Most mornings he shakes me awake after he pulls in the school parking lot.
“Alex is coming home … he’s taking me to the prom … it’s a sunny day…” I list the simple pleasures in life that would make any eighteen-year-old girl happy.
“Back it up. You’re dragging the most eligible bachelor on the East Coast to your prom?” Nate acts like this is the first time he’s hearing about it. He must not listen to the one-way chatter I keep up on our drives home from school when I’m actually awake.
Puzzled, I ask, “Who else would I take to the prom?”
“I don’t know. A friend, maybe. Not Alex.”
“Nate, have I done anything without Alex in the last four months?”
He makes a careful turn on Main Street. “No, but seriously, Cara. Aren’t you a little beyond a high school prom?”
I hold up a hand to stop him. “Don’t ruin this for me.”
But he plows ahead, undaunted. “Aren’t those boring DeMarsh charity events enough for you?”
“Are all of my friends there? Do I get to wear a prom dress?”
“Does it matter? You’re with Alex. The so-called love of your superhuman existence. Tell him to buy you a prom dress and you can wear it around town this weekend when you go on a coffee run. Or better yet, invite your friends to his house and have your own prom without people staring at him all night long.”
My chest pangs. Is Nate putting a voice to what Alex really feels? But, wouldn’t Alex tell me the truth? He’s never complained about going to the prom with me. And I went with him to Crestview’s prom a month ago, although we spent most of the weekend driving around the city, scoping out apartments for next fall, so we can live as close as possible to each other, though we’re attending different colleges. “Can’t I just be normal for one night?”
“No, you can’t. Want to know why?” Nate presses the brake pedal and turns to me. “Because you’re not normal! You never were normal although you tried to ignore that fact for the last eighteen years.”