There was a car parked, a teenage boy and girl inside it with the windows fogged up and soft music playing. It was one thirty two in the morning, there were coyotes somewhere in the area, crickets singing in unison and clouds were shadowing the moon that was trying in vain to make its appearance. They were parked within the campgrounds of Gravesend Bay, not a soul around.
Teddy and Brenda were locked in an embrace, she bit his lip softly and he felt her push against him. Brenda had her shirt off and her shorts were by her knees; Teddy had his pants by his ankles and his shirt pulled over behind his head. They were sweating and they were 18 years old – no stopping them. As Brenda eased her grip, Teddy stepped outside the car to put himself together. He took around thirty steps, stood away from a rock and made his mark. He smiled thinking about the past hour and wondered if Karen had any clue he was with her sister. “Hell, thats what being 18 is about, isn’t it?”
He made his way back to the car and opened the door to find that Brenda was not there. Figuring she needed to pee or whatever, he turned the ignition on, dialed up the air conditioner, turned on the radio and lit up a cigarette.
When his cigarette had burned away all the tobacco he became alarmed. He opened the door and called out her name. Coyotes answered and what seemed like a pack of dogs – but no Brenda.
He texted her phone and heard it respond from somewhere near the car – he called it and he heard ringing. It was on the floor right outside the door – damp from the wet floor it was still ringing when he picked it up.
“Brenda?” He called out. No reply, no rustling of branches or sounds of feet stomping on the leaves on the floor. No sound of anything, not even the coyotes or the crickets. He didn’t know what to do. He threw her phone through the open window of his car, walked towards the woods and turned on his flashlight on his phone. Pointing it up and down he saw nothing but bushes, rocks and trees. He called out her name but, once again there was no answer. He spoke,
“Please stop this, come out and lets get out of here. I admit it, you got me, I am scared. Now come out and lets go.”
He was sweating now, he was shaking and the voices in his head were screaming. He ran towards his car but tripped on something, banged his head on a rock and…
He came to when he heard voices. It was coming from around his car but he was unable to identify them.
“Bren?” He called out.
He stood up, his head spinning and his legs off balance. Stood his ground and found his way to his car. He sat down, locked the doors and closed his eyes. The car was running, the air conditioner kept the car cold and when he looked at the clock he saw two forty two.
He tried once again, “Brenda? are you out there?”
Silence and then the sound of a car approaching in the distance. He got back in, closed the door and drove away towards the main street.
He drove up to his house and stumbled up the stairs to his room. He could hear his father snoring as he softly closed the door to his room.
The morning came and with it was a text message from Brenda, “Why did you leave me?” It was time stamped Four thirty three A.M.
He quickly responded, “Where are you?”
No reply. He went to the bathroom and came back.
No reply. Took a shower and checked again, nothing.
He dialed her and the call went straight to voicemail.
“It’s Teddy, call me.”
He decided to drive to Karen’s house and discreetly check on Brenda. When he pulled into their driveway, Karen was outside with her father in conversation. She smiled when she saw him and gave him a wave, then turned to her father and they continued speaking. She put up a “One minute” finger towards Teddy and he understood he should wait inside the car. He wanted to hear what they were speaking about. Was it about Brenda? Was it about him? She did smile at him and gave him the “one minute finger” and not the “Middle finger” so that was a good sign. right?
“I am not going to interrupt, i need to use the bathroom, ok?” He asked.
“Of course just go on in, I will be there in a minute.” Karen responded. Karen was sixteen but way more mature than Brenda. She was the smart one and the athletic one. With her curly brown hair, always aware brown eyes and her secret smile – she had the ability to win over a room full of people by just walking through the door. Brenda on the other hand had to work hard for attention and that why she was rebellious and liked to dress and act in ways to turn heads and eyes her way.
He went into the bathroom and closed the door. Looked at his reflection in the mirror and felt, for the first time since last night, the pain in his head from falling against the rock. He pushed down softly on the spot, it hurt and it caused him to get a bit dizzy. He washed his face and dried it with a damp towel hanging on the rack.
Opening the door he looked outside to see Karen still speaking with her father. He looked in the living room, no one there. Walked into the den, the TV was showing a Disney show with only Jerome, her little brother watching and eating cereal out of a box.
“Hey Jerome.” He was going to ask for Brenda but realized that would seem strange and suspicious should she not have returned home last night.
He walked into the kitchen and no one was there. Went up the stairs towards her room, the door was closed, he was about to knock when her mother came out of another room.
“Hey, are you looking for Karen?” She asked.
“Hi!” He screamed it out – he was startled and confused.
“Hi. Karen is outside and thats Brenda’s room.”
“I know – I wanted to ask her a question, but it can wait.” He turned to go but her mom stopped him.
“Hang on let me see if she came back, ” She opened the door and looked. “Nope she went out this morning for a walk with her friend, she should be back soon. Anything you want to me to tell her?” She asked and he could tell she was suspicious.
“No its all cool, I can speak to her at school tomorrow. See you later.”
He went down the stairs and out the front door where he walked right into Karen. She kissed his mouth and swirled her tongue and let go, all in one movement.
“Hey babe.” She said with an innocent voice.
“Hey – you know I forgot I need to help my mother with something. I’ll call you in an hour? OK?”
“Yeah, um, OK.” She answered. “Is everything alright?” She asked.
“Fine – all is great, fantastic, yeah, I just need to get out, I mean to go help my mom. Call you right after. Bye!”
He sat in his car, pulled on his seat belt and drove away. He called Brenda – voicemail. He decided to drive back to the spot from last night and to see if – well he wasn’t sure what he wanted to see he just felt he needed to go there. Her mother said Karen had gone for a walk so she must have been alright but something was definitely off here. How did she get home? Why did she leave?
He parked the car and walked to the spot where they had parked the night before. He walked around and found her cell phone on the floor next to a root of a tree. The screen said, “4 missed calls, 4 text messages unread.” He went to unlock it but the phone was locked with a security code. He didn’t know if he should take it, leave it or bring it back to her home. How would he explain it? Wait! he thought, she texted me from this phone this morning. He checked his phone and it said the SMS was from Brenda.
“Why did you leave me?” Time stamped, four thirty three A.M. He dropped the phone, went back to his car and went back to Karen.
When he drove up he saw Brenda playing basketball with Karen in the driveway he was relieved, but confused.
Karen ran over to him and kissed him – “You all done with your mom? That was fast.”
“Yeah it was nothing, she wasn’t even home when I got back. Hey Brenda, hows it going?”
“Good, kicking your girlfriends ass in this game, so come back Karen and let me finish the job!” She was wearing a low cut tank top and shorts – a sports bra beneath it and sneakers. Karen on the other hand was dressed more modestly in short leggings and a tee-shirt.
The front door opened and their mother came out.
“Oh there you are Bren, Teddy was looking for you before, he said he wanted to ask you a question. Isn’t that right Teddy?”
“Yes but its, I forgot what it was. Hmm let me think, nope I can’t remember.”
“You sure Teddy?” Her mother prodded. Did she know something?
“Yeah, I just, Oh yeah! I wanted to know if we had Chemistry, I mean, if we had a Chemistry test tomorrow.”
“How would I know, you’re the smart one.” She said laughing.
“Yeah…I thought I was…but I seem to be totally confused right now.” Saying more to himself than to anyone around him.
“Hey the party was fun last night – you should have came Karen.”
“I didn’t feel well and fell asleep at Eight o’clock. I didn’t wake up until Eight this morning. Did you guys have fun?”
Teddy was silent. He didn’t know what to say or even how to answer that question.
“Yeah it was great! I danced with Teddy but then I turned around and he wasn’t there anymore. Where did you go?” She asked.
“Well, I, was, confuse-tired and didn’t want to stay at the party without Karen, so I went home.”
“He is so cute!” Karen grabbed his head to kiss him and he expected pain from his bruise or bump or whatever it was. But there was none.
“It was good that you left, I ended up meeting this kid Dave. We are going out tonight.” She smiled.
Teddy felt dizzy -he didn’t really understand what was happening. He felt his head where the bump was and there was nothing there. He excused himself and went inside to the bathroom where he looked in the mirror. He threw some water on his face and dried it off with the towel, which was fresh and clean. He sat on the toilet and checked his phone. No message from Brenda. Just a “Good morning” text from Karen at Nine this morning.
He ran to his car and checked his tires but there was no dirt on them – nothing showing that he had parked in the damp campground for an hour.
“I will be right back I need to go check something.” He sat behind the wheel and was set to pull out when he had no recollection of where “They” had parked last night. He didn’t even remember if there was a campground in the area where they could have parked.
A knock on the window.
“Hey lets go for a ride, OK?” Karen with her smile.
“Yeah, OK.” He said.
“I am just going to get my phone and my purse, be right back.”
He put his head back and closed his eyes, was it all a dream? Since when did dreams extend past the moment you woke up? The memory of the night before began to disappear, just as the memories of dreams begin to disappear soon after waking. When Karen came back in the car and kissed him the whole night before was just a fading memory. As he pulled on his seat belt he looked out his window and saw Brenda with her low cut shirt looking at him as if she knew something he didn’t. Although it struck a chord within him, he could not remember what it was.
There was a car parked, a teenage boy and girl inside it with the windows fogged up and soft music playing. It was one thirty two in the afternoon. There were childrens voices crying out and the sounds of late Spring were in the air. The clouds were trying to force an early sunset but the sun shone through them – the night would have to wait a little longer to begin.