Hardships Come With Love

Chapter 4

Teresa's POV

Last night I didn't find shelter, so I simply slept in the sand. Startled awake by Tom's voice, I now regret my late night decision. Sand is everywhere. In every nook and cranny of me and my clothes. I'd never realized before how hard it is to get sand out of your hair. I whip my head around crazily, thankful there is no one around to see me. Also, it is an impossible struggle to get sand out of your belly button. I am extremely jealous right now of those who have outies instead of innies. If only I could take a shower. Then, I suddenly become aware of the stream next to me. Without a second thought, I jump into the semi-cool water and lay down at the bottom of the stream so that it barely covers me completely. I sigh in relief, my joints no longer aching. When I finally force myself to get up and start walking, I notice how my shoes are falling apart. I estimate that they won't be able to hold much longer than a couple days. I walk and walk and walk. With every step, the sun rises higher in the sky and it gets a degree hotter. I reassure myself that this is great exercise even though I don't have a way of keeping track of how many miles I cover.

My thoughts shift from focusing on my surroundings to my memories before the Glade with Tom. I remember a certain moment when we were little. Tom was shorter than me then by at least a few inches. He was also slower. When we used to play tag, he could never catch me. Now, it's reversed. I actually brushed my hair back then and managed to put it into a braid. Currently, I could fit in with the cranks because of my messy hair. It is even too much of a struggle to run my fingers through my hair. When the majority of your time is spent running and worrying and fighting, you forget to take care of such things, like your appearance. Tom's hair may stick up sometimes but it looks good. I doubt I rock the "don't give a fuck about my looks" look. I start to stress over what Tom will do when he sees me after all that's happened. Will he still see me as a friend? Or as a waste of time that brought him more pain than it was worth? I start pulling at my hair, yanking out the impractical knots. The pain distracts me from my anxious thoughts.

After much wincing and cringing, I rip out the last knot with a defiant humph. My feeling of satisfaction doesn't last long for I hear the approaching whirs and hums of an all too familiar aircraft. I jerk my head back so fast that I feel whiplash. I don't think it has spotted me yet. Think. Think. If I dive in the shallow bed of the stream, they might be able to see me and I don't know how long I can hold my breath. I can cover myself up with sand and see how that works. I don't have much time so I choose the latter. I groan because of having to be immersed in sand once again. It is quite easy to slip under it as if it's a blanket. A really itchy blanket that scorches your skin. At the last second, I shut my eyes and mouth tightly closed, and throw my head under the sand with the rest of my body. Wait. I resist the urge to jump up and reveal myself. I don't breathe. If I breathe a single breath, all the tickling sand nesting around my nose, will be sucked deep down into my nostrils. Now that would be an awful feeling. The aircraft must have passed already. I've been down here for at least ten seconds. Maybe twenty. I can't hear any whirs or hums, but then again that could be because every millimeter of my ears are filled with sand. I wait a little longer until I can't bear it anymore. I shoot my head up, gasping for air, like a penguin after being submerged underwater for a while. I blink my eyes slowly open, frozen in fear that an innumerable amount of sand specks will get stuck. The aircraft disappears as it rounds the peak of an outlying mountain. Once again, I jump in the stream to wash off and comb out the returning knots. I readjust my clothes that are ready to give up and fall to the ground from too much wear, or just sand. The colors that were once vibrant are faded and you can hardly tell them apart.

Tom speaks, "Did you just see that aircraft?"

I jump, realizing at the moment that he is in my head, not in front of me.

"Y-yes," I stammer.

"I think I see you."

I run around wildly in a circle, like a chicken that has just had its head chopped off.

"Are you...running in a circle?"

I freeze in my tracks, then ask, "Are you to my right or left?"

"Right."

I look again in that direction.

"Why do I only see a triangle?" I ask.

"We made a human pyramid," Tom laughs.

Now that I found him, I don't know how to react. Should I run to him or walk? Unable to decide, I speed walk, which is hard to do in the desert if you've ever tried it. Tom is also advancing towards me quickly unlike Brenda and Newt who are hanging behind. He realizes this and slows his pace. I slow my racing heart and force myself to act calmly. This is my moment to try to win their trust back and prove my loyalty. As I get close enough to recognize every breathtaking detail of Tom's body, I ask myself: Why, oh why, did I ever leave his side?

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