Putting the pen down for a moment, I rub my hands together, hoping the friction will warm them up a little. Why couldn't have the heat broken down in the summer?
There's a knock on my door and before I can answer, my brother walks in. Colin is eating a handful of freshly baked cookies and is just as bundled up as I am, his black winter coat billowing out around him comically. I hate that coat. It makes him look like a rejected villain from a Ghostbuster movie or something.
He's was wearing the hat too, the red one that scorches my retinas every time I look at it now. I have no way of knowing whether Colin's doing it on purpose or not. That familiar anger trembles inside me.
The wasp is right above Colin's head, sitting on the wall and twitching its wings nervously.
It's not a real wasp. Obviously.
James was the first one that talked to me like I was a normal human being. He took me to all his hide-outs; the gray cliffs, the abandoned barn, the pond that was chillingly cold even in the middle of August. And when Colin was old enough, it was the three of us. It was damned good luck that the three of us got along so well, liked doing the same things and had the same sense of humour. Then again, having Colin around all the time made things awkward sometimes...
James was the one I told my secrets to. He was the one who gave me the idea of the wasp. It's a personification, like they teach us in school. His eyes were serious but bright as he explained. So every time you get mad, you can squish it good.
It wasn't easy to stick to, it never was, not with me.
I didn't mean what I said, I never do when the wasp is around. We went down to the pond last summer, the three of us dangling our feet in the dark waters, trying to cool off in vain. It was too damn hot, hot enough that thinking wasn't easy. Colin sighed about how boring it was living in our town, that staying here was making us all soft in the head.
The wasp buzzed around my head, drilling into my mind. Well, at least I'm not as soft in the head as James.
What are you talking about?
Everything felt strange and backwards inside my head. I saw you hanging around with Katrina yesterday. Why are you even talking to her?
She's not that bad.
I snorted as the wasp soared even higher in the air. She's a coked out whore and she's going nowhere.
Hey, back off. Katrina is my friend. He sounded hurt now.
Fuck your friend. I swore, bitter. Colin hummed uncomfortably, the red hat bobbing on his head. The angry wasp's eyes glinted in the afternoon sun and settled on James' back.
I can't remember who moved first. Our mouths were clumsy and rushed when we kissed, but it was still the most exhilarating rush I had ever felt. His breath was hot and so were his hands as they stroked me through my t-shirt. Even now, he was comforting me. He was always giving and I was always taking. I wanted to take even more from him. Don't go. Stay with me. I need you.
I have to do this, he said when we finally pulled apart. I didn't understand why, couldn't understand how seeing the world would do for him. James always talked about life being more than a straight line, that there was so much out there to see. That stepping outside the box showed you what kind of man you were.
What did he stand to gain by taking off and seeing the world? Maybe I didn't understand because he was my world. But I can't tell him that. Not now, not ever. He deserves better than me.
Colin shoves an entire cookie in his mouth, crumbs flying everywhere as he talks. "What are you doing? Writing something?"
"You know, he might not get it. It's just a rumour. Don't take my word for it."
"Just get out of here." I say, raising my voice and hoping he gets the message. Rumours are all I have right now. Rumours are what brought me here in the first place.
The only thing I've written on the page is Dear James.
I have no idea what else to say.