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Before Ghost World

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They had only kissed once.

Well, once that Enid can clearly remember. And that once wasn’t really reality anyway, but she still counts it for what it’s worth -- nothing.

~*~*~*~

Enid Coleslaw and Rebecca Doppelmeyer had known each other for years. They were childhood friends whose parents had been close, resulting in their friendship. Enid was a lively young girl with an odd obsession with dinosaurs, so her parents were happy when Becky came into their lives as a distraction. Becky and Enid immediately clicked. The two girls would spend days together, sleeping over at each other’s houses and playing non-stop games together. Then came spring when the two were just fourteen.

Enid’s entire world crumbled. She had been quickly learning throughout her young years that there were only a few people she could trust to stay with her. Those few people were Becky, her parents, and her cousin who never failed to visit every single summer. High school hit Enid hard. She was struggling to find where she belonged, and it seemed so easy for Becky to just melt into the bustling society of high school life. She didn’t think it was fair. People got along with Little Miss Rebecca Doppelmeyer like she was a celebrity. Enid simply faded into the background. However, no matter how popular Becky got, she still remained faithfully by Enid’s side.

The dedication of their friendship was hitting the test of a lifetime when Enid called Becky early one Tuesday morning in a fit of tears.

“Don’t go to school,” she sobbed over the phone. “I’m begging you, Becky. Please, come to my house.”

Becky was immediately on edge. Her best friend status was stepping up and this was definitely a test of how dependable she was. “What’s wrong, Enid?” she quickly asked, trying anything with her voice to make Enid stop crying. She tried to make the question sound as soft and as soothing as possible to quell her best friend’s tears.

“Come over and I’ll tell you,” her words were muffled, probably from dropping her head on a desk, or smothering herself in a pillow. “Please. Please, Becky.”
Becky didn’t think twice about her decision.

When she arrived at Enid’s house, before even knocking on the door, she could feel the air was different. The aura of the house felt as though it was sinking into a dark, abysmal pit. The lights seemed darker, and she could swear the sun was blocked with clouds the second she set foot on the Coleslaw property.

Her knock was deafening to her own ears, and it made her wonder how obnoxiously loud it would be to her friend. She rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet, attempting to find some shred of balance among whatever was daunting over the house. Quickly but surely, Enid was at the door, eyes puffy and red, tear-stained cheeks. Her mouth flopped open like a fish gasping for air, and her arms reached for Becky, who quickly ran into her embrace.

“My… My mom,” Enid erupted into tears on Becky’s shoulder, “She’s dead…”

 

Mrs. Coleslaw’s funeral was quickly after the events. Becky noticed a void residing in the back of her best friend’s eyes. Enid no longer loved dinosaurs, and she quickly got rid of that fire in her eyes. Neither of the girls really comprehended the loss of Enid’s mother until the funeral. Enid’s dad had to be pulled from the top of the casket as his echoed screams of “My wife!” ensnared the rest of the service. Enid was quiet for the whole two hour service, saying no more to her friend than a quick, “I’ll miss her.”

The death of Enid’s mother changed everything. Enid missed days of school left and right, she started lashing out in the middle of the classes she did attend, and her father never got along with her anymore. The word fuck had quickly become a fundamental staple in her vocabulary. She spent many days in detention.

Enid wanted her mother back.

Becky wanted her dinosaur-loving best friend back.

That was the moment that Enid realized Becky was the only one she could trust. She noticed that Becky never left her. Not after she threw the stapler in class at one especially annoying kid. Not after she told her dad to “fuck right off” during a sleepover. Not after Enid punched her in the face for telling her to “grow the fuck up.” Becky never left. Even after all that stupid shit that the two had been through, Becky never abandoned her. She still held her when she cried. She still squeezed her hand in comfort when she was angry. She still hugged her goodbye, and invited her over, and understood her. Becky was still there.

 

When the two girls reached their junior year of high school, and Becky had turned seventeen, they were closer than ever. Becky got used to Enid’s new attitude, and found some charm in her outbursts. Enid contained her frustration and her father put her in counseling for a few months prior. He even started dating again. Everything seemed to be falling into place again. Peace was coming back to their lives. It felt like the puzzle pieces were coming together, but there would always be that one piece missing. The important one, like the face of the hummingbird sucking on the flower. No matter how hard you try, you can’t find the piece, but the puzzle is still beautiful, and you still hang it up.

Enid found herself wanting Becky’s closeness all the time. She invited her over almost every day, and whatever days Enid didn’t invite Becky, Becky invited Enid. They were inseparable.

Then Enid kissed her. It was only a dream, and it wasn’t. It meant nothing, but it also meant something. Enid just remembered waking up with desire on her lips. She couldn’t recall when she started feeling this way about her oblivious friend, but she wasn’t really surprised. Becky had held her hand through the roughest part of her life, and never showed any animosity. She showed her nothing but love and protection. Becky even helped her with an asshole at school who wouldn’t quit calling her a slut after she had sex with Mark Jefferson.

She didn’t know when the feelings surfaced, just that they were there.

She also knew Becky did not feel the same way.

“Enid! I think Ryan is going to ask me out this week,” Becky told her one afternoon. “He was telling me in science class, with Mrs. Baxton, you know? The one with the mole the size of Texas?”

“Yeah,” Enid was already disinterested in the conversation. The corners of her lips tugged toward a smile, though, when Becky talked about that ridiculous blemish.

“Yeah, her, so he was telling me that he needs to talk to me later. He says it’s really important, and that I should go alone.”

Enid rolled her eyes, “Sounds like he’s a fucking mob boss who’s going to try and kill you and your family. He’s going to kidnap you for leverage in order to get ransom from your parents and then kill you anyway.” She smirked at Becky’s raised eyebrow. Shrugging, she continued, “Look, I’m just saying nothing good ever came from the phrase, ‘come alone.’”

But something good did come from that phrase. Something good for Becky anyway, because she was right. She had a date the following weekend. Enid stayed in her room all night. She resented the phone call late that evening. On the other end was an ecstatic Becky replaying the events of her date.

 

Enid was unreasonably happy when Ryan screwed Becky over. He slept with her and then told her she was a good lay, but he was on to bigger and better things. Enid wasn’t happy that he had hurt her so much, no, for that she was livid. She was happy that he wasn’t in their relationship anymore. She was happy that she didn’t have to fight for time with her friend.

Becky dated many people throughout the course of high school. Enid paid close attention to the fact that none of them were ever women. It was like she never even entertained the idea, so Enid kept her distance. She didn’t shy away from their friendship, or stop spending time with her, she just stopped commenting on who Becky should date and what she should do in dating situations. Enid simply opted to say, “How should I know? I only fucked Mark.” It seemed to placate the situations up through senior year.

With graduation right around the corner, the girls became even closer, which Enid didn’t think was possible without getting some sort of physical. Becky stopped dating, claiming that high school boys were too damn young for her. She thought about shooting for dating websites but decided ultimately that she wasn’t that fucking desperate yet, and her time would come. Enid hoped it wouldn’t, and then hated herself for thinking that.

Enid herself tried dating more boys, she tried to drag herself away from this god-awful crush, but every time she was with someone else, she was thinking about how much more fun she have with Becky. She thought of how much happier she’d be with Becky. She’d never admit it outloud, but she even thought she’d enjoy herself more sexually with Becky. Though no matter how prominent those thoughts were, no matter how prevalent her aching heart was, she never spoke of it.

Which is why senior year became easier. Neither of the girls dated anyone, Becky helped Enid keep her distance from Maxine (A.K.A. The Step-Devil), and they stayed together more than ever. Three weeks before graduation, the girls started to think about future plans. Enid was never excited about those conversations, because she didn’t know what the fuck to do.

“I’m not going to college,” she stated abruptly. “It’s not happening. I could barely handle twelve years of school as it is. There’s no way I’m going to stomach another four to eight fucking years. Why would I put myself through that?” She groaned dramatically.

Becky laughed. “I wasn’t planning on college, but I got a scholarship, so I may look into it.” her voice was soft, pensive. “Graduation is coming up so much quicker than I thought it would. We’ll be out of here before you know it. Then suddenly we’ll be on the streets, finding jobs and working like real members of society.”

Both girls cringe, and laugh.

“I just don’t see the point of suffering through that unnecessary torture just to get a piece of paper to sit and do a menial fucking job while I kiss my employer’s ass for more hours or a higher paycheck. It’s stupid and I’m not wasting my valuable time on it.” Enid folded her arms indignantly.

“Yeah, valuable,” Becky scoffed, her body moving to emphasize it. “Yesterday I saw you watching a foreign drama and quoting the lines with it. I’m pretty sure it was Russian. You don’t even speak Russian.”

“I can watch Sunflower as many times as I want,” Enid sat up, feigning offense. “Marcello Mastroianni mastered the role of amnesia. When Giovanna stumbles upon Mascia basically taking over her life and her husband -- ugh! Eat your heart out!” her arms waved with her dramatic retelling of the Russian drama.

Becky contains her laughter, gripping her sides at the dramatics of her friend. “Seriously!” She slapped Enid’s leg, dragging her consciousness back to Earth. Becky briefly wondered if Earth was where Enid belonged. “We need to think about what we’re doing. I’m not going to let you live with your dad if he keeps bringing Maxine back, shit.”

Enid flinched at the mention of Maxine, and quickly rolled her eyes. “Why don’t we just live together?” She said it as a joke. Becky blinked.

“Okay.”

“What?”

“I said okay. Let’s live together,” Becky shrugged, a smile etching its way onto her face. “I mean, we practically do anyway. When was the last time you spent a weekend at your own house? When was the last time that I didn’t want to come over?” She paused for effect. “Seriously! Why would it be a bad idea?”
Enid thought about it. It didn’t take long before a smile came to her own lips as well. Her grin threatened to split her face in two. “Okay,” She nodded. “Okay, yeah. Let’s do it.”

And it was settled.

 

Graduation sneaked up quickly, and the three weeks encompassing final exams and purchasing diplomas zipped by faster than either girl wanted to admit. Becky cheered loudly as Enid crossed the stage. She did her own thing and dramatically headbanged after receiving the slip of paper. When Becky crossed the stage, Enid stood, clapping so hard her hands turned red. She whooped and hollered and waited until the noise died down before yelling out, “Go Becky!”

When the ceremony was over, the girls hugged each other tightly and Becky cried. “I didn’t think we’d make it, Enid,” she laughed through her tears, “But here we are.”

“Here we are,” Enid confirmed. “We’ll look for jobs next week, yeah?”

“Yeah.”

 

And the two walked out to their families, middle fingers in the air, aimed toward the school in a rebellious farewell.