“I was raped.” Aurora looked away from me. “Did you really need to know?” she mumbled. I could feel her roll her eyes at me.
“Yes,” I insisted.
She turned back towards me, gripping the edge of the brick wall that we were sitting on. I saw her whole face for a second. It looked like god sculpted every single one of her delicate features carefully, making the 16-year-old look like a baby. Not in a bad way. She always had a way of charming all of the guys at school, especially me, with her cute face. She was mine. She never failed to grab a guy's heart and pull it by the strings. As she glanced at me, I felt like I made a huge mistake in asking the question. She looked away again. I felt terrible after asking. It seemed as if the girl was about to cry. Carefully, I put my arms around her. She was mine. She struggled against it for one second, then relaxed and let me hug her. She seemed fragile as if she was made of glass. I put my hands on her face, feeling something wet. Tears. Literal tears were rolling down her face. She pulled my hands away from her face and wiped her tears. The girl that never cried, the one that always appeared tough, was weeping her heart out.
I didn’t know what to do, so I just hugged her a bit tighter and whispered, “It’s going to be okay.” She slapped my hands, and I quickly moved them away.
“No,” she exclaimed, her voice shaking, tears pouring from her face, “It was never okay. I was a 13 year old. I was just walking home from school, and I was suddenly being pushed into a car, with my hand over my face!” She was screaming now. “Do you understand how scary that is? Do you understand how it feels, getting touched in places that you don’t want to be touched by a complete stranger? A full-grown man? As a 13-year-old? Someone who doesn’t even have a good understanding of the world? Do you even know how I got out of the situation? Now I live in constant fear. Do you understand what that is like?”
I shook my head and pursed my lips together, not daring to utter a word. They say that mad girls are the scariest types of girls. They were right. She sarcastically nodded her head, crossing her arms over her chest with sass. No wonder she always wears hoodies and sweatpants now. She doesn’t want any male attention. She never goes to parties. I never knew exactly why because most girls do whatever they want. Now that I do, I regret asking such a question. The question that she always avoided. She wasn’t answering for a reason.
“Blake, I have to go,” Aurora said, hopping off of the bricks, her bottom lip trembling. It seemed like she was leaving earlier than normal. This brick wall was our usual hangout spot until 5 PM after school. I checked the time on my phone. It was 4:36. She started to walk away without another word, but I grabbed her arms and twirled her around.
“You’re not going anywhere. You are sitting your butt down on this brick wall,” I released one hand from her arm and pointed to the wall, “and talking to me. You don’t have to talk about that, just tell me about anything interesting.”
She nodded at me and pulled herself up on the wall, wiping away tears with the sleeve of her gray hoodie. She brushed her jet-black, shiny hair back. “Have you heard about the shitty goat?”
I shook my head, not knowing what to say.
“He pooped a lot because he ate a lot of garbage.”
She evidently tried to hide her smile, but she started to laugh. A full, ugly laugh. It was amazing. I laughed with her, throwing my head back. After about a minute of her slapping her knee, she regained her consciousness and smiled at me.
I chuckled, “What type of joke is that? It isn’t even funny.”
She raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Then why did we laugh?”
“Good question. I don’t know.”
“See, these little jokes, these little things, they make people happy. Even if it’s just for a minute, it feels good. It feels good to laugh in hard times. Sometimes, you don’t know what someone is going through.” She glanced at me for approval, and I nodded, staring off into the forest, thinking hard. “Sometimes, a small laugh with another person that means something to them makes a situation feel less heavy. I just did that.”
I blinked, then realized she was talking about me. My ears started to burn. I looked around, trying to find another topic because I didn’t know what to say. I stared at the apartment complex behind us, my ears burning like fire.
Aurora laughed, stretching her legs out. I looked at her, cocking my head to the side. She was mine. She pulled her phone out and turned it on. The image of her dog glowed on the screen. On top of that, in white text, it showed the time. 5:02. We nodded and got off of the bricks, parting ways.
~ t h e n e x t d a y ~
I sat down in the uncomfortable red chair in first period, twirling my pen in the air, minding my own business, waiting for Aurora to arrive in her usual style. She always is holding a Dunkin’ Donuts cup in her right hand with her keys in her left. I was staring at my pen when people started to gasp behind me. I glared at them, but they were staring at the doorway. There was an Asian girl that had on a red, sparkly dress and red lipstick. She also had eyeliner and eyeshadow. I stared at her, gaping. She sat down next to me, in Aurora’s spot. I started to tell her that the spot was reserved, but she started to glare at me.
“It’s me, silly.” Aurora’s unique voice caught me off guard. I started to stutter at her.
She looked down, smiling at her dress. I realized that Aurora telling me what happened to her made her comfortable with everything. I stared at her eyes. They had an unusual twinkle in them. I had never seen those in her eyes. She always had a dull look in her eyes, the type that signaled depression. Now, she was glowing with confidence and happiness. She was happy. Confident with herself. She was mine.
She leaned in and whispered, “I’ll tag along with you at the party tonight.”
I was shocked, “Really?”
She nodded, “Let’s meet after school and go to the club, and then we can meet at the front entrance at 11 PM sharp. Be worried if the other is not there on time.”
After school, I waited for Aurora in the parking lot. She finally got out, her red heels making a weird noise on the concrete. Without a word, I opened the door and she got in. I started driving to the club, not knowing what got into her today. She was smiling the whole entire way there. She actually started to look like a creepy clown until she probably realized her cheeks were hurting and relaxed her face. We finally got to the club, the music booming in our ears, giving me that familiar sense of happiness. It was overwhelming for Aurora. Right as we entered, she immediately went in the direction of the bar. I tried following her, but she got lost in the crowd. I didn’t want her to go. She was mine. I needed her not to go. I looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find her. I decided that she was safe. She was a 16-year-old. Nothing could go wrong. She is a strong woman.
After a few hours, I finally found her. She was standing in the corner, talking to what seemed like a 20-year-old man. He put his arm around her, and they started to dance. A flame started to form in my chest. That was my girl. Well, we were never dating, but I had to protect her. She was mine. I headed towards them, trying to push through the crowd, but they disappeared from my sight within seconds. I figured that they were just dancing, but I was still furious.
At 11 PM sharp, I hopped outside of the club after having a lot of fun, waiting for Aurora. I waited until 11:10, but she still didn’t arrive. Something was wrong. I went back inside, searching for her, my vision blurry with tears. I finally went back outside and caught my breath. I slid down the wall, into a squat and started to pull at my hair.
It was my fault. I didn’t take care of her. Now, she’s gone. At the very worst, she could have been killed.
Blake, don’t think like that. Please.
But it was all my fault. She might be crying, with bruises.
My inner voices tried to comfort me, but it didn’t work. It was not okay. The person that meant so much to me, the person that laughed with me, cried with me, was always happy for me, she was gone. The light of my life was gone. I stared at the concrete, tears pouring from my eyes. She was mine.