There were two girls and one boy at the lunch table with Sarah, Mari was not among them.
Usually she would skip lab in the second half of her class, or Sarah would skip lab later on in the day so that they could eat together, but she was waiting in their dorm for a call from her brother.
Sarah was talking to the boy, Chris, about a band that they both liked.
Because of the light shining through the glass walls of the cafeteria, glaring off of every shiny surface, she laid across the table facing away from the light, forcing Chris to lean over to speak to her. The others were teasing them about it.
Her father had drained the little rubber pool and Sarah had lain in the mud puddle left behind. It was so warm and comfortable- her mother had been angry afterwards.
If her parents hadn’t been taken from her she would have died on that farm.
“Sarah, is that a friend of yours?” Jackie smiled suggestively. Everything she did was suggestive, even the way she didn’t quite look up from her text books was suggestive.
Sarah turned in her chair and squinted, then squinted harder as though she had mistaken the familiar outline of the person whose features were obscured by the afternoon sun.
She got up and walked toward the figure. “Kaci?”
“Hello, Sarah. Can we talk?”
“Sure.” She felt surprisingly under whelmed by Kaci’s reappearance. Ignoring the wolf whistle from Jackie, she followed her out of the cafeteria to a quiet part of the hall.
“It’s so good to see you again.” The shock was starting to wear off and she found that she was able to say this with real feeling.
But Kaci crossed her arms over her chest and frowned. “Three weeks. Three weeks without a word and all you have to say is ‘It’s good to see you again?’”
The words were delivered in a harsh whisper, but this did nothing to dampen their impact.
Sarah’s face fell. “I lost my phone.”
Kaci ran her hand through her hair, an exasperated look on her face. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I don’t have your cell memorized. And after what you said, I didn’t think that you would want me to call your office.”
“Just one call,” the shorter woman held up an index finger. “Just one to explain what happened.”
Her voice cracked on these last words and Sarah’s heart dropped. “Kaci?”
Kaci put a hand to her mouth, looking surprised for a moment before she pulled herself back together and lowered it back to her side. “I was afraid something might have happened.
Sarah’s eyes dropped. She knew she was a little off, but if she hadn’t broken yet, after all of this time…
“Well, I’m alright. I’m right here, see?” Sarah said gently, holding out her arms to offer herself up for inspection.
Kaci laughed, but it was a bit hollow.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come. I just wanted to see if you were alright.” She took a deep breath. “Take care of yourself, okay?”
Sarah wanted to say something. Something important. But the lines were drawn and there was nothing else to say. ‘Sorry’ didn’t seem like it would help either of them at this point, so she just offered a weak smile.
Suddenly bored with the old nursery rhyme, a new one came to mind and she said it under her breath.
We all fall down.