Thought Processes
by Voleuse

I'm already dressed and ready for school by the time Mom stumbles into the kitchen.

"You should crow in the morning," she grumbles at me, groping for the coffeepot.

"Too busy eating worms." ("Early to bed, early to rise." Poor Richard's Almanack. Benjamin Franklin. Turkeys for America. Bifocals.) "Besides, Headmaster Charleston isn't nearly as lenient on me as you are on yourself."

"I'm the boss of me, babe." She's happy (glad, cheerful, jovial, joyful, blithe, jocund, merry) when she's had coffee. "What's for breakfast?"

"Luke's." I stuff another book in my pocket, just in case. "Dean's meeting me there."

"Good ol' Dean," she smiles, gulping from her Badtz Maru mug. "Solid as a rock." (Igneous, sedimentary, metamorphic. Granite, limestone, marble.) She starts to hum that song from that car commercial.

I throw the paper at her. It jump-starts her monologue. The day wouldn't be complete without a song of praise (psalm, ode, ballad. "I love a ballad in print o' life, for then we are sure they are true." Shakespeare. A Winter's Tale.) to my boyfriend.

I tune her out for a second, checking the batteries in my Discman. They seem fresh--PJ's coming in loud and strong.

"--taking hits from a keg at a party, nosiree. That is one dependable guy."

I get the picture, Mom. Unlike... "I am dating him, you know. You don't have to pimp him out."

A rare pause. "Rory, Ah am appalled by such coarse language." Mom, Southern-fried. "Ah think Ah might be feeling faint."

"More coffee?"

She gives me her Oliver eyes. ("Please, sir, I want some more." Musical. Also, Disney musical. Singing Chihuahua.)

"Shouldn't you get dressed?"

"Gave myself the day off." Gulp. "The world is my oyster." (Shakespeare. Pistol. "Which I with sword will open.")

"Don't throw any wild parties," I warn, shouldering today's pack. ("The ass will carry his load, but not a double load." Don Quixote. Cervantes.) "And no boys in the house."

She's already cranking Metallica when I walk out the door.


Another breakfast, another awkward conversation. Maybe an argument.

I exit the diner feeling frustrated, but I don't know why. (Infidelity causes 65% of breakups nationwide. Dysfunctional: failing to serve an adjustive purpose. Sigmund Freud, born 1865, died 1939.) I'm glad Dean doesn't walk me to the bus stop.

I'm even more relieved when I see he is sitting on the bench, reading. Waiting for me?


"Milady." He stands, shuffling the paperback in his hands. (Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck. Married three times, divorced twice, two children. Burgess Meredith. "The best laid schemes o' mice and men.")

"What're you doing here?"

"Sitting. Reading. Waiting for the bus?" He shrugs at me, a smile on his mouth. (lips)

"Skipping class?" I walk past him, sit on the bench with every intention of reading my chemistry notes. (Transition metals. Hg. Mercury. Atomic number: 80. Atomic mass: 200.59 amu. Famous for its toxic properties and liquid state.)

He slouches next to me, lazily. "Not for another hour or so." Glances at my notebook. "Studying already?"

"Still." I look at him sharply. "You can't be too prepared for a quiz."

"A mind is a terrible thing to waste," he drawls. ("The object, Truth, or the satisfaction of the intellect..." Edgar Allen Poe. Died "of congestion of the brain.")

The bus pulls up, screeching, slowing, stopping. I stand, awkwardly. "I've got to go."

"You okay with those?" He eyes my backpack warily where it sprawls on the bench. My French textbook sticks out from the under the flap.

I shrug. "They're not as heavy as they look." (W=Fx)

"Here." He picks the bag up with a soft grunt. He hands it to me. (warm hands) "I'll see you later."

"Yeah, later." I step onto the bus, take my usual seat.

I look out the window. He's standing outside, a smile tugging at his mouth. His lips.


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