I flip through the records, finding something to play and checking for any scratches Christian may have accidentally made when he went through them the other day. Every record seems to be fine, placed perfectly in their cases. He seemed to handle them very delicately, as if they’re the children that he birthed. I pick up The Samples self-titled album and hold it up to the light, staring at the cover. When Christian looked at it, his face reflected the cover: blue and confused. Sure, the band is jumping around in the sand, but it’s warmed in blue and Christian had looked so sad, so angry.
Why do you care?
The doorbell rings before I can conjure up an answer to my own question, and I hear my mother open it, her annoying nasal-y voice a harsh murmur in the downstairs room. She calls me down. I look at the album cover one more time and place it back in the box, leaving Christian with it.
I take my time going down the stairs, gliding my fingers over the pastel pink wallpaper. It’s hideous, but it came with the house and mom wanted to leave it in its full glory. The house we live in was built in 1949 and is one of the only handful of Tudor homes in town. The couple that had lived her passed away three years before we moved in, the husband of lung cancer from smoking too much cigarettes during his time in the army and on, and the wife of grief I suppose. That’s the supposed story, anyways. I’m not sure about how much of that is true, but apparently the wife really liked pink. Or maybe the husband did, thought it was a pleasant color to look at. The bathroom walls are covered with the same pink wallpaper as the walls on the staircase, and the tub is pink. The sink in the kitchen, too. Even the tile on the counter is grey with bits of pink. Looking at the house from outside, I would have never imagined so much pink. I originally imagined there to be a lot of white and grey, maybe some black. This house is meant to be cheerful I suppose, but I don’t feel all too happy looking at any of the décor. It’s tacky and I hate it.
There’s pictures of me when I was a child on the way down – or up, depending on which way you are heading – the wall of the staircase. There’s my mom and dad on their wedding day, my mom’s face covered by her long white veil, my father looking directly at her. It’s amazing, the way he looks at her; as if he is oblivious to the rest of the world, the sun only shining on her, the grass only growing around her feet. He still looks at her like that every day and it amazes me every single time. Their love is so strong. I can’t comprehend how they do it. How am I supposed to do it, if I ever fall in love?
“Melindaaaaaa!” my mother calls.
I scamper down the rest of the steps, not wishing to irritate her, and I join her in the threshold. She points outside and I raise an eyebrow at her as I pull the door the rest of the way open.
My mother covers her ears and cowers into the house.
“Kelsey!” I cry.
She screams too and we embrace as if we’re long lost twins. We kind of are. Sisters from another mister Kelsey would always say.
We talk loudly as we run up the stairs, hooting and being teenage girls, talking over each other and laughing at nothing. I shut the door behind me and we launch ourselves onto my bed, making the mattress squeak and nearly break. Our hairs are fanned out underneath us and we just laugh as if our presence is a joke, a dream. She rolls over on top of me, her face so close to mine and asks me to tell her everything. Her breath smells like mint gum, sweet and striking.
I’m not sure where to start and she asks me about Cole. I can’t help but blush and laugh as I talk about him, as I give her a recap of our lunch date and the many more to come. She asks about his accent, mimicking him and his stuttering. He only stutters because he has only been speaking English for a few months, but I tell her that his accent is perfect. She cries and bicycle-kicks her feet in the air as she laughs and cradles her chest, choking on her own breath. We’re so loud when we’re together.
Then I tell her about Christian and our unfortunate endeavors.
Her face goes sour, her pink lips pursed in repugnance. She likes him just about as much as I do.
“Flounce didn’t let you switch?”
I shake my head and continue my story up until the night he shoved me. My elbows burned from when they rubbed against the blankets on impact. Now they’re pink like the wallpaper in the house.
“What a shithead,” she exclaims. “Want me to kill ‘im?” She says him as if the h is silent.
I laugh. “No. Maybe just shake him up a little.” But that’s impossible. Christian is tough, or at least he acts tough. He sure knows how to pack a punch, I’ll give him that.
“I’m not gonna fight ‘im. He’s kinda scary, isn’t ‘e?”
“Yeah. You know he wears reading glasses? He looks like such a nerd.”
“Sounds sexy,” she swoons, draping an arm over her forehead.
I give her a disgusted look.
“Give ‘im some credit. He is kinda hot.”
I smash her face with a pillow. She just laughs.