A/N: If there's a weird review that doesn't really match the piece, it's because I unpublished this and then recycled it to get it out of my drafts folder...
Really wish Nate would make a way for us to delete our drafts.
She moved in on August 8. I remember that day like it was yesterday. She wasn't even next door, she was down the street. But I could hear the moving trucks and the other neighbors rushing to welcome her. I was 26.
I remember her walking down my part of the street, her blue converses striding confidently on the pavement, the sunshine bringing out copper highlights in her wavy chestnut brown hair. Her brown eyes sparkled in the bright light, drawing my attention away from the pimples that scarred her face. She was probably about 11 or 12. But she was beautiful.
I also remember the second time I saw her, walking with a girl who had chin length blonde hair. The other girl was short and stocky.
"Lily," she said, her voice drifting through the window. Lily, the girl with the beautiful hair looked up.
"What's up?" She rubbed her arms, the coming night air had caused a small drop in temperature.
"We really shouldn't walk by here." The blonde stopped her, pulling her to the other side of the street.
Lily stayed rooted in place. "Why not?" She asked, her brow furrowing.
"The guy who lives there is a sex offender."
"What'd he do?" Lily asked, still not moving.
"Who knows. But we shouldn't walk by there."
"Heather," she said, "People get on the sex offender registry for all sorts of reasons. Besides, what's he gonna do? Run across the yard and grab me while you're right there?" Heather just rolled her eyes and crossed the street, joining Lily again after they had passed my house. And I was in awe. She wasn't afraid.
After that day, I saw her walk past my house hundreds of times for a few years. Her hair was always the same length, her eyes always brown and her face always covered in acne. But she grew into herself, her only slightly thick legs growing more and more feminine. Her curves became more prominent and she began to dress in ways that complimented her figure better. I could tell as I noticed things I'd never noticed before, the feminine curve of her hips, the way her collarbone jutted out at just the right angle. She changed, but she also stayed the same. She never crossed the street in front of my house.
And she was right. I really hadn't done anything to get on the sex offender registry. I was on a road trip and had to go, so I used the side of the road when there was no traffic. Well, no traffic but the cop car.
There was one night she was walking past my house, toting a garment bag and a very large purse. She was on the phone.
"Yes, Heather, I'll be right there. Yeah we'll get ready and then walk to my place and leave. Sound good?" And she rushed, knocking on the door that presumably belonged to Heather. She was about 16 then. Probably getting ready for prom.
Whatever she was getting ready for, she emerged looking beautiful. Her gorgeous hair was shiny and sleek, but still held it's shape. her dress was a bright blue, sticking out in the night air. It fell to her feet and billowed behind her as she walked, her white high heels clacking on the pavement. She had a matching flower in her hair, the perfect touch. Heather, however, was an eyesore in her too tight red dress.
But the next day, she was distraught. Her phone was by her ear and she was crying. Tears streaking down her face.
"Heather he doesn't... he said he didn't like me." She paused, "No no, I made a fool out of myself in front of the whole student body. You're not home right now?" She stopped in her tracks, a few hundred feet from my house. "Whatever, I'm running." And she did just that, her hair flying behind her. She looked like she was flying.
Until she fell.
She'd tripped over a piece of sidewalk that was pushed up, just big enough for someone to smack their toe against it. I knew this crack well. I didn't go out often but when I did, that crack was always there, mocking me.
She laid there on the pavement, clutching her leg and avoiding the long gash that extended from her knee to her shin. I waited to see what she would do. She stood hesitantly before falling to the ground again. Her already glistening face was streaked with fresh tears and I felt a pang in my body for her pain. I wanted, ached, to help her. But I was so scared to leave the confines of my house. Scared that she would be afraid of me.