Losing Me, Finding You

By: C.M. Stunich

to the lovely Triple M Bookclub in all its many eccentricities.

thanks for the names, the (perverted) suggestions, and the continuous enthusiasm that you show for every book you read.

the world could use a whole lot more just like you.

in no particular order, I dedicate this book to: Melissa, Mireya, and Megan (the fearless leaders of the group). Jodie, Kimberly, Mint, Brandi, Jen, Amy, Sali, and all the other wonderful members of Triple M who let me use their names.

to the book bloggers who wanted this so bad, they were willing to wait.

and of course, to my street team and my Kitty Crew: Jennifer M., Leanne J., and Marlena F.

couldn't do it without you.

I wake to a dull roar that quickly becomes deafening. The sound rattles the windows in my bedroom and sends my father into a raging fury about those darn criminals which I can only assume refers to the motorcycle gangs that have been rolling into town lately for the antique bike show. My father does this every year, says these things every year. I should really move out.

“Amy,” my mother says, opening my door the same way she has every day since I started kindergarten. “Time to get up. We're meeting your aunt over at the church to plan the potluck on Saturday.” I smile and nod, hold my tongue and refuse to tell her that a potluck plans itself. People bring dishes; other people eat them. There isn't much to figure out.

“Thanks, Mom,” I say and blow her a kiss as she backs away and resigns herself to listening to my father complain. What he conveniently forgets is that those 'criminals' make up a pretty hefty portion of our town's summer economy. Without them, I don't think many of the shops downtown would still be in business. I sigh and stand up as another wave of noise approaches from the direction of the highway. Moved by my curiosity, I stand by the window and part the drapes so I can catch a glimpse of the men and women who are so far outside my realm of being that they might as well be aliens. They wear leather and have piercings and tattoos. The open road is their home and mine, mine is this three bedroom, two bath prison which is perfectly nice but so stifling that sometimes, it makes me sick.

I watch the wave of bikers drive by and press my fingertips to the shaking glass.

“Take me with you,” I whisper as they fly by and disappear around the corner. I imagine what it would feel like to just run away with them, try something new, something different. I shake my head and turn away. It's not going to happen, not for me. Girls like me don't wrap their arms around men in leather, straddle massive hunks of metal that my mom refers to solely as death traps, drive to cities we've never been. Girls like me put on their yellow camisoles, their white sweaters and their below the knee skirts. We grab our purses, slather on some clear lip gloss and sit in the passenger seat while our mother talks about the nice boy who just moved to town with his parents. Poor guy, I think as I imagine his fate. He may as well have the words 'fresh meat' tattooed on his forehead like one of those biker boys. The girls from my church are going to be all over him. After all, in a town of five thousand people, it's not as if we have many choices. I should go to college, I think as my mom continues to talk in the background. Maybe somewhere far, far away. I sigh and smile at my mother who's patting my knee. Like I said, me, coward. Period.

“I'm so glad you're here!” my aunt says as she comes out the front doors of the church in an outfit disturbingly similar to mine. “We have a serious problem.” She sighs and makes the sign of the cross which bothers my mom because we're not Catholic. My aunt loves church functions, church rummage sales and church gossip, but I don't think she really likes church in and of itself. I bet she'd be hard pressed to even remember Jesus' role in the whole of things. I'm not judging her, but I just think she's shallow and as see-through as a piece of glass. I'm like that, too, I think, but I wish I wasn't. I wish I had some substance.

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