The Downside of Being Charlie
Jenny Torres Sanchez
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Stanley.” Mrs. C raises her eyebrows. I think we just took a wrong turn. “I mean, okay, Stanley might seem like a jerk and all, but at least he’s honest, you know? I appreciate that. Blanche just pretends to be something she’s not. She’s definitely got some issues,” Charlotte concludes. “Exactly the point, Charlotte. She’s got issues. And does that justify what Stanley does to her in the end?” Mrs. C asks. She clicks her tongue in a semidisapprov-ing, semigenuinely interested in what we have to
I’m ready to go. “Well, I guess I better go to lunch,” I say because I don’t know how to end this weird TV-sitcom moment. I get up to leave. “Okay. But listen . . . ,” he says, “anytime, all right?” I look over at him, and I can tell he means it. He’s not just playing the part of the concerned teacher. “Yeah, okay . . . thanks.” I put the card in my back pocket and make a mental note to put it somewhere safe once I get home. I grab my backpack. “See you later . . . Sue,” I say as I leave.
chance with a girl this year. I swivel around in his chair, staring at the Rat Pack posters on his walls for the millionth time. Ahmed is obsessed with the Rat Pack. There are posters and postcards of them all over his Las Vegas–themed bedroom, and there’s actually a really funny one where Ahmed went to all the trouble of taking a picture of his face, cropping it to size, and pasting it on the poster so he looks like he’s crooning into one of those old-timey microphones with the rest of them.
if he doesn’t like it, I don’t think he’s in the mood to put up a fight. He nods. “I’ll make the flight arrangements.” During the drive to the airport, I finally ask him what I’ve been wanting to ask him because I can’t keep guessing anymore. “Is she alive?” I mutter. I don’t want to know, but I have to know. He doesn’t flinch when I ask him; he’s not even taken by surprise. He must have thought about it already. “Yes,” he says, “she’s alive.” His voice is flat, and I wonder if she really
had ignored, and had purposely missed, because I had too. “Hey, you.” I hear a voice from behind me. I turn around and it’s Charlotte. She’s here. “You’re here,” I say. And she looks so good that my heart feels as crushed as the night I lay in the falling snow on her front lawn. Her hair is pulled back, and she looks all soft and gauzy in the white sweater she’s wearing that I just want to lay my head on her chest and see if she feels like a cloud. I have to stop. I can’t keep falling for this