I’m not entirely sure how much I like it. Oh well :/ It was just for fun anyway.
Btw word limits kill me.
The sweater felt hostile against my skin. I hadn’t wanted to wear it. Mom forced me to, but I could feel beads of sweat forming at the base of my back. I pushed up my sleeves for momentary relief and sat cross-legged in the grass of my backyard. I yanked several weeds from the grass and tied them clumsily, trying to fashion a wreath. But it fell apart in my hands.
Frustrated, I tossed it aside and stood. My jeans had become a little tight. Brushing plant bits off my backside, I looked around. The backyard was empty save for myself, but I could hear the shouts that carried over the splintered fence. It was my neighbor, Samantha, and her sisters. Samantha was nine, a year younger than me.
They were playing house in the maze of vegetation in her backyard. She stopped long enough to invite me over. As I was crossing between our front yards, I saw Jordan, an older girl who lived across the street. She was talking on the phone on her porch. Her aura of self-assured maturity was something that I could never fake in spite of hours spent reading magazines, absorbing beauty and boy advice until I thought my head would burst. We didn’t acknowledge each other; I turned back toward Sam and her sisters, who were now turning cartwheels in the grass.
I’d never been much of a cartwheeler, so I suggested that we play hide-and-seek. I’d spent countless summer evenings lying in contorted positions to fit my surroundings. I would do anything to squeeze into a perfect hiding place. Oftentimes my friends would give up and move on to a new game without finding me.
Sam covered her eyes as she began to count:
“ONE one-thousand, TWO one-thousand, THREE one-thousand…”
My heartbeat accelerated with adrenaline as the four of us scattered screaming across the lawn. I knew my destination already but I had to run a decoy pattern to trick Sam’s ears. Then I sprinted for the potted shrubs in front of Sam’s house. I rearranged the plants so that their pots and leaves shielded a tiny space, then climbed in gingerly.
I could hear a faint buzzing noise growing louder until it was in my ear, unavoidably invasive. I couldn’t escape it in my confined space but I couldn’t ignore it. I tried to discreetly swat at the unseen flying predator but it persisted. It was going to fly into my ear to lay its eggs in my brain.
“…FIFTY-FOUR thousand, FIFTY-FIVE thousand…”
The air was growing stale. I was definitely sweating now, and the fly would not leave. I tried to convince myself that I had only to stay hidden for a little longer.
“…NINETY-NINE one-thousand, ONE HUNDRED! READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!”
My skin was damp and itchy and my breath heaved in and out of my chest, threatening to betray my location. I followed the patter of her feet blindly with my ears. It was dangerously close.
“Alex, is that you? What are you doing down there?”
It was Jordan. Oh, God. Think of something, quick.
“Hey,” I sputter. “I’m just…hiding. ”
“My mom was just making lemonade, if you want some.”
I considered. The buzzing faded quickly. I looked down at the sweater and decided that I had no need for it at all. I unbuttoned and discarded it before climbing out of my alcove.
The sweater stayed beneath the plants in the heat of that August day.