Chapter 23 The wishes (1)

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Flora

"God I really hate that Leslie," Janet said as soon as we were out of the emergency room.

Sandra was as cool as the cucumber salad she ate for lunch. "I don't hate her, actually. She's his girlfriend, and she's entitled to be there." She threw a warning glance my way. "You really should stop flirting with him. It's never going to work."

"I wasn't flirting with him," I said indignantly. I couldn't believe Sandra didn't understand me. I was never a boyfriend-stealer and I didn't plan on becoming one. "I was just making a joke to lighten his mood."

Sandra raised her eyebrows, like she thought I had an ulterior motive. Janet announced that she had to rush off to her band practice, and I waited until she was gone to start.

"Sandy, Sean is upset enough already. He doesn't need us to hover around him gloomily like he's going to be crippled for life. He needs cheering up, and that's why I insisted on getting the balloons before we came."

"Since when are you such an expert on Sean?"

"I'm an expert on cheering people up," I corrected. I didn't understand Sean, obviously; ever since he showed up at the beach with Leslie I realized I never did. He was so attentive to her while he always told me to hang out with my friends and stop pestering him. Not exactly in these words, but-

"What do you care, anyway?" Sandra asked. "I thought you want him to suffer."

I had to admit, ever since we broke up and the love I had towards him fermented into hatred, I sort of wished something bad would happen to him. But not like this.

"By suffering I mean crying himself to sleep every night. Or grow a huge mole, preferable with tufts of black hair coming out of it. I don't want him in physical pain." A thought formed itself unpleasantly in my head. "What if he can never play basketball again, Sandy? It'd kill him!"

Sandra scoffed. "It's sports injury, not bone tumor."

"I'm worried about him. His knee looks really bad."

"You didn't seem so worried ten minutes ago when we were in there."

"That's because I don't want the heartless creature to know I care." I chewed on my bottom lip as I mused. "Maybe I can buy him a knee brace?"

Sandra frowned at me in alarm. "Honey, he's not your problem anymore."

"But there must be something I can do for him."

"Yes, there is," she said icily. "You can leave him alone."

"Sandy, I-"

She held up her hands. "Stop right there. I don't want to hear about him anymore. You have to move on." She turned her whole body so that she was facing me directly, and I could see that the usual arrogance disappeared in her eyes. It was replaced by concern. "It's been months since you broke up. He has a girlfriend now, and you're still here obsessing about what you can do for him or how you look in a bikini in front of him. He. Doesn't. Care. About. You. I'm sorry I have to be the one to say this, but it's the truth."

I knew everything she said was true, of course. Did she think I was oblivious to the fact that Sean did not take one look at me at the beach? He was more loyal than an old St. Bernard, and it was one of the things I loved about him, until his loyalty was no longer directed at me and his smiles were reserved for someone else.

I didn't want it to hurt but suddenly tears burned behind my eyelids. I turned around to wipe them away.

Sandra exhaled. "Look, if you really want to do something for him," she said, her voice softening, "you can pray for him."

***

Praying? I had never prayed before in my life. Praying felt like sending George Clooney fan mails; he was so busy I doubt he had time to open his inbox, let alone reply it.

However, I did believe in birthday wishes. I was convinced they operated through a completely different system, and since my seventeenth birthday was coming up at the end of junior year, I dedicated all three wishes to Sean.

1. I wished for him to get well soon. For Sean not being able to play basketball was like not letting Leslie play violin, or like me stop being beautiful and rich and popular and fabulous. What a sick world it would be if we couldn't all be doing what we did best.

2. I wished Sean and Leslie would break up. He shouldn't be allowed to date, at least not yet. When I'm married to a billionaire someday and am feeding my firstborn with a sterling silver spoon purchased from Tiffany, perhaps I'd allow him the pleasure of going on dates again.

3. I wished Sean would stop being so hot. Somehow the blue hospital gown brought out his eyes and I could only stare at the curtain to stop myself from ogling. It was too unfair. He needed to...get fat. That's it. I wished Sean would get fat because that would be the ideal punishment, and I would obviously stop obsessing over his sex appeal.

A short time afterwards, I got two wishes granted. I'd say two out of three was a pretty great ratio.

***

Dedicated with love to @EthanEzekiel for entering my KITEP one shot contest x


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