Jane and Helen walked everywhere. The bus was expensive and slow, and the bus didn’t go most places. They walked home from school, a different way every day, just roaming the streets, just enjoying each other’s company. They skipped school to go to the library, some days.
Then they sat between the shelves, looking at books about UFOs. Books about female serial killers. Books about movie stars. They used the library computers to start a website where people could report UFO sightings in their city. They never got one email.
And then they were outside again, walking. They had all the time in the world.
They went to coffee shops, but couldn’t afford to buy coffees. Sometimes they bought a single donut each, and asked for glasses of water. At the table, Jane would pour sugar into her water, stirring it in, then adding more and more, stirring it until it wouldn’t dissolve any more, until the water was almost crunchy sweet.
At night, walking home along the highway in the dark, Helen told Jane about her father, about how he was gone, and it was good that he was gone. She talked about how angry she got, when he tried to call her, tried to act like he was just a regular dad, like he hadn’t hurt Helen’s mother.
Jane could hear that Helen was crying, but she knew the difference. These weren’t weakness tears, they were anger tears.
“Fuck him. He sounds like an asshole,” Jane said. Because what else can you say? The highway passed along the water, and Jane pointed down to the shore. “Come on,” she said. And they climbed down to the water, and together they lifted the biggest rock they could, and threw it into the dark. The splash was so satisfying. The weight in their arms was satisfying. Helen picked up another big rock by herself and threw it in. They lifted rocks even after their muscles were burning from strain and exhaustion.
“This feels good,” Helen said. “Why does this feel so good?”
“Who cares?” Jane said. She picked up another rock. A light turned on across the highway, and a woman came out on her porch and shouted at them.
“What the fuck are you doing? Do you know what time it is?”
And they ran. They laughed and they ran.