Forever 15
Alana Hope Levinson

Senior year of high school, we broke up for no good reason. At least none I can remember.

I do remember the Wednesday night I realized it was a “bad move.”

The bridge had just reopened after the earthquake, so I left my house at 11:30p p.m. and headed west. I blew through the deserted toll plaza, sliding the cassingle into the Volkswagen tape deck, which happily and hungrily devoured it:

I floated through the Avenues, in haphazardly calculated contracting circles.

The dangerous thing about cassingles and tape decks is they auto-flip and repeat, auto-flip and repeat.

The combination of Sinead sentimentality and self-imposed heartbreak finally brought my slow smolder to re-ignition, and I pulled into the 24-hour Safeway for a $7.99 Loving Thoughts Bouquet.

I crept up the walkway, the water that was dripping out of the crinkly cellophane wrapper leaving a Hanselesque trail back to the VW, still running. I must have closed the car door less loudly than I realized.

It wasn’t quite simultaneous, but the front door swung open as I tenderly laid my precious cargo onto the doormat.

My heart shivered with initially requited joy as my eyes crawled over the “Welcome.”
Across the threshold of the doorframe.
Past the gym socks.
Up the sweatpants.
Beyond the USF t-shirt.
Into the bearded face of her father.

Sleepy eyes vs. teary eyes. Starting-to-laugh eyes vs. quickly-dying-of-embarassment eyes.

I shot up from my crouch directly into a stumbling retreat back the walkway. “Hers. Those. Thanks. Sorry. Thanks.”

Back in the car and back the hell to Oakland, with the only other cassingle in the center console:

Like what you read? Give Gueldner a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.