If there was one thing in the world April was incapable of it was doing nothing. And with this pandemic at full force, all of her extra curriculars gone and having to stay home all day, April is getting restless.
She’s getting way too much time to think. So April made a plan to overthink as least as possible.
- Post a picture at least once a day, keep the reputation going.
- Listen to as much music as possible (don’t get stuck on one song, don’t listen to Slow Burn.)
So April has taken up walking. Not in the fun hiking-to-see-beautiful-places kind of walking. More of a walking-to-run-away-from-your-emotions kind of walking. The second she steps out of her front door her mind goes blank and she starts speed walking the streets, headphones in, head down. She doesn’t really know where she goes most times and also doesn’t really care. (She definitely doesn’t notice that she walks past the Wesley house every time).
All this walking of course wouldn’t be a necessity if her home life was just okay. April really doesn’t ask for much. Just okay. It doesn’t have to be perfect or good. Not even fine. She just wants to be okay. She doesn’t want to be scared of her dad. Doesn’t want to run away to escape his yelling. She doesn’t want to feel guilty about leaving her mom with this man. She also wants to just have a conversation with her mom, preferably one not about her dad.
God, all April wants is to be okay for one second.
But not everyone can be lucky in this life (not everyone can be as lucky as Sterling). So April takes pictures of her cat. Takes selfies in the golden hour. She takes pictures of flowers and sunsets and happy families in the park.
She does feel a little guilty and creepy about that last one, so those never see the light of Instagram. When she posts and her friends text her to yell about missing her, a little shadow of a smile comes over her face. When she reaches 50 likes in 10 minutes she feels a flicker of the pride she felt when she got an A+ on a test.
When she sees the faceless, nameless, anonymous account liking her post and commenting emojis on her stories April likes to think she made a secret friend. Even though she knows that’s ridiculous. It’s probably a creepy old man or her dad stalking her (oh god, her dad is a creepy man).
Her dad who hit a sex worker.
Her dad who starts drinking at 11 am.
Her dad who yells at her mom, as if she’s his slave.
Her dad who threatens his daughter is she doesn’t keep up the reputation.
Her dad who calls her Padawan.
Her dad who used to hug her and tell her everything would be okay.
Her dad who hasn’t told her “I love you” in about 8 years (“you’re too old for that now Padawan. You should only say those things if you mean them.”)
So who can blame her if she gets a little antsy? Who can blame the butterflies in her stomach when she sees that Sterling liked her post and watched her story and commented on her story? Who can blame her if she wants to be a little reckless for once in her goddamn life?
She likes Sterling’s message.
Even sends something back.
So I see you’re stalking me nowadays?
She doesn’t get a response for a while and almost regrets her decision. Maybe she was being to hard on this girl. Something had happened to her, that much was clear. No one just seemed to know exactly what it was. Sterling wasn’t in school for days after the lock-in. And when she came back she looked like a shell of the person she used to be, she looked shattered. Like someone ripped out her heart and didn’t care to replace it or stitch her back up.
For about one second April thought it was her fault before she dismissed that. Sterling might feel deeply and April might (pretend to) think highly of herself, but it was impossible that this had anything to do with April.
So she just watched in silence as Sterling slowly grew back into herself. Scars healing, eyes shining and smiling wide again.
She felt sad that she would never be the one to make Sterling smile like that again.
April’s thoughts were interrupted by the buzzing of her phone.
Yeah well, I’ve got to do something to keep entertained in these fun times. Sorry not sorry.
If you think sunsets and cats are entertaining you should see all the books I’ve been reading.
I mean I’m not against some book recommendations, so sure.
Okay I don’t know if you’re serious but here’s a list of must reads:
- Radio Silence from Alice Oseman
- Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine from Gail Honeyman
- The Chaos Walking series from Patrick Ness
- Heartstopper comics from Alice Oseman (beware: very queer, so read at own risk. You can also find this online)
Oh wow! Those seem great I’ll definitely pick those up if I have a minute to spare.
What do you mean if? Aren’t you locked in your house with nothing to do 24/7?
I kinda got into gardening, so I keep busy with that and also I have therapy twice a week and on a therapy day I need the rest of the day to recover. Which means lying in my dark room alone.
Oh. Are you okay?
That’s stupid question of course you aren’t.
April just didn’t know what to think. At first she was just imagining Sterling wanting a little adventure too. But now she thinks there’s a little more then just a pandemic bugging Sterling. Was it the same thing that kept her from school and turned her into a different person for a while? Why did she tell April that in their first conversation in months? What’s going on?
But underneath her worry April felt something else.
Sterling is gardening.
Wearing a tank top, digging in the mud.
Getting sweaty, skin sun-kissed and damp.
Probably caring more about her plants than any person should.
Was it getting hot in her room?
April doesn’t realize her smile or that it’s the happiest she felt in a while.
She does realize that Sterling doesn't respond for the rest of the day.