Megan pedaled home on her bike with the pink-and-white handlebar streamers. She thought of the hills and homework and babysitting that awaited her, and she sighed heavily. She was 18, a senior, and a proud B-student at West Park High School. She was doing OK.
It is true that Megan had failed to earn her driver’s license; a sin against Americanism that forced her, to the consternation of her staid conservative parents, to pedal everyday through the ‘Mexican ghetto’ while in the bloom of young womanhood.
While Megan’s parents minded this, Megan didn’t so much. Riding home from school was her special time to shut off her school brain and enjoy the breeze that rustled the maples and ran cool fingers through her pink-beribboned hair. When she recognized this little bit of fearlessness in herself, she chuckled a bit. And they say Mormon girls are all the same!
Up ahead of Megan, a slim white figure with sandy short hair strolled.
“On your left,” Megan called, veering to the center of the road.
The figure half-turned, revealing her face, and Megan’s stomach clenched. She determinedly floored the pedals, hoping to avoid a conversation.
“Oh! Hi, Megan,” said the walking girl.
Megan sped past her, but her legs gloomily ceased their work, and she slowed to a crawl. Guilt, which is the pimp of all dutiful Mormon women, tapped Megan on the shoulder and tugged at her Anna and Elsa backpack. Guilt silently reminded Megan of her obligation to be kind at this girl she hadn’t seen for three years.
Kathryn, as Megan remembered, had been dour and doughy, with owlish round glasses. Now she was trim, in a very flattering striped top, and using some trendy black wire frames. But that was far less shocking than the way her skin glowed with health, the way her small heart-shaped lips smiled often, and the way her clear, dark eyes captured Megan in their steady gaze.
When she found her voice again, Megan said, “Hi.”