Long, drawn out sobs escape me as I lie against the pavement in my driveway. I can’t stop, no matter how hard I try. Even the honeysuckle-scented, humid air can’t calm the torrent of tears.
I focus on one star and continue to shake. My eyes stay exactly where they are, and I think, maybe if I can just keep my eyes open, the tears will stop. Maybe. So I try it. It doesn’t work. I can’t keep them open long enough to do much of anything but focus on that star, again and again.
Then I hear it.
It almost sounds like laughter, and I think it’s coming from me, but I’ve sat up and I’m pretty sure I’m making no sound. A gentle voice comes up behind me, as though trying to comfort me.
Don’t cry, Nikki. Crying’s not cute. Be cute.
And somehow this works. The tears dry, and I’m able to get to my feet again. I doubt anyone will believe me, so I rush to the laptop to write it as fiction. At least then I’ll be heard. I heard her.