“Sneaking out last night was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made. I’ve snuck out before, but last night, last night was different.”
I live in area 423, for only Jewish white people. Twenty years ago, the Federal West segregated everyone by religion and race. Each area is surrounded by a gate. If you get caught going past it or being with anyone in another area, you will be punished. Sneaking out last night was one of the worst mistakes I’ve ever made. I’ve snuck out before, but last night, last night was different.
I walked to school every day like usual. My high school is ten blocks away from my home, but today I felt sick to my stomach. It was my last day of junior year. I stopped at Quart Street to wait for Rory, my forever best friend. Rory and I have been inseparable since kindergarten. I can tell her anything and everything on my mind. We walked to school in silence. Neither of us wanted to talk about what happened last night.
Last night me, Rory, her boyfriend Keith, and his friend Phil went to the gate to celebrate the last night before the last day of school. Everyone goes to the gate to hang out, but mostly to smoke and take drugs. I’d been there before. I snuck out at twelve, careful to keep silent as I opened the window and reached for the rope I had previously tied to my window frame. I walked down the silent streets of 423. Getting caught outside after 8:00 could result in jail time, but in 423, it was easy to sneak around. Rory and Keith were already there and Phil was in the corner smoking some new drug.
“Lena!” Rory jumped up and gave me a hug. I sat down next to her. As soon as I sat down, I heard a rattling sound. I turned around and saw Phil climbing up the gate to area 907. I sat there astonished at his stupidity.
“Get down idiot,” Keith yelled. Phil got to the top of the gate, ducked under the barbed wire, and climbed down the other side.
“Fuck society,” he yelled and walked away into the darkness. The three of us stood there, shocked, and frozen. We slowly walked towards our homes, knowing if we went after him or reported him, we’d all be doomed.
So, that’s why Rory and I walked to school in silence. We started to hear the screams of the kids at our school. Every yell, every shout, reminding me about last night. I was so dazed that I hadn’t noticed that Rory stopped.
“Lena?” Rory said quietly.
“Yeah?” I turned around to face her. Her eyes were red. She must have been crying a lot. “Are you okay?”
“Do you think he’ll come back?”
“Rory, I-I don’t know. I hope he does.”
She looked at me with tears in her eyes. “Okay.” I could tell that my answer wasn’t the answer she was looking for. We walked the rest of the way to school, pushing our sorrows away and putting on our fake smiles.
I sat down in math class, middle-left side. Mr. Fitzgerald walked in and sat down. The bell rang and Mr. Fitzgerald turned on a movie and went on his phone. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around. There sat the incredibly hot and gorgeous Matt. Matt was on the baseball team and always played the lead in the musical.
“Hey Matt,” I said awkwardly as I faced him, his deep blue eyes staring back at me.
“Are you okay?” He asked me.
“Why wouldn’t I be?” I responded with my cheesiest grin, my voice only shaking a little bit.
He lowered his voice. “I know what happened last night.” My heart stopped, my brain froze, and I died a little inside.
“Keith told me,” he said. Of course Keith told him. Matt and Keith told each other everything, at least that’s what Rory told me. Matt and Keith were the male version of me and Rory, except I knew Keith before Rory. I practically set them up.
“Earth to Lena,” Matt’s gentle voice whispered to me. I felt myself come back and I looked at him. “Lena, I’m here for you,” he said and reached for my hand. We sat there speechless for a while. I sat there going through the events of last night. The bell rang and my body jolted. I didn’t even realize that I was still holding onto Matt’s hand. He smiled shyly at me, and I smiled back. We walked out of the room, and I dropped Matt’s hand immediately. Rory was sitting on the floor bawling with a note in her hand. I quickly sat down and gave her a hug.
“Rory, what’s wrong?” I asked, concerned and worried. She looked at me, her makeup dripping down her face.
“I-it’s Keith,” she muttered between sobs, “he went to join the rebellion.”