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Authors: Jessica Brody

A Week of Mondays

BOOK: A Week of Mondays
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For Jim McCarthy,

who asked to read more

 

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.

Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

—
R
UMI

Monday, Monday. Can't trust that day.

—
T
HE
M
AMAS
&
THE
P
APAS

 

THE FIRST MONDAY

 

Mountain High, Valley Low

7:04 a.m.

Bloop-dee-dee-bloop-bloop-bing!

When my phone chimes with a text message on Monday morning, I'm still in that dreamy state between sleep and awake where you can pretty much convince yourself of anything. Like that a teen Mick Jagger is waiting in your driveway to take you to school. Or that your favorite book series ended with an actual satisfying conclusion, instead of what the author tried to pass off as a satisfying conclusion.

Or that last night, you and your boyfriend
didn't
have the worst fight of your relationship—correction: the
only
fight of your relationship.

Or that it wasn't completely your fault.

Bloop-dee-dee-bloop-bloop-bing!

But it
was
my fault.

I blink out of my trance and scramble for the phone, knocking over the cup of water on my nightstand. It splashes onto the stack of textbooks and papers next to my bed, soaking the extra-credit AP English paper on
King Lear
that I spent the entire weekend working on. This was my only hope of turning my borderline A to a solid A before first quarter grades are finalized.

I hastily swipe at the lock screen of my phone.

Please be from him. PLEASE be from him.

We didn't talk at all after I stormed off from his house last night. Some hopeful part of me thought he might call, not wanting to leave things the way we did. While some slightly delusional part of me thought he might have taken some unknown back roads and alleyways, driven twice the speed limit to beat me to my house, and would be standing in the front yard with his guitar, ready to play me an apologetic “I'm a jerk, please forgive me” love ballad that he just happened to write on the way over.

(Okay, a
really
delusional part of me.)

Regardless, neither had happened.

My fingers fumble to open the text message app and I nearly collapse in relief when I see Tristan's name.
Twice
.

He sent me
two
text messages.

The firdst says:

Tristan: I can't stop thinking about last night.

Oh, thank God.
He's a mess, too.

This makes me so happy I want to cry.

Wait, that didn't come out right. It's not like Tristan's misery makes me happy. But you know what I mean.

I want to grab Hippo (the stuffed hippopotamus on my bed that I've had since I was six) and waltz around the room with him while “At Last” by Etta James plays soulfully on my life soundtrack. (The sixties really were the best decade for music.)

But then I see the second text message and Etta screeches to a halt in my head.

Tristan: Let's talk today.

Okay, deep breaths.

Don't jump to conclusions. This could be a good thing. This could be like “Let's talk today so I can apologize profusely for everything I said last night and confess my undying love for you while I run my fingers through your hair and a four-piece band serenades us. Or maybe a six-piece band. You know how much I love the sound of the trombone.”

Ugh. That sounded crazy even to
me
.

Honestly, since when does “let's talk” ever foreshadow good things? It's like the universal sign for impending doom.

This is it. He's going to break up with me. I said all the wrong things last night. I overreacted. I've turned into the very thing that Tristan hates.

A drama queen.

And really what happened last night wasn't that big of a deal. I don't know what got into me. I just, kinda … flipped. I chalk it up to stress. Severe stress. And hunger. It was a moment of stressful hangry weakness. And now the whole relationship is probably over. The best thing to ever happen to me (okay, pretty much the
only
thing to ever happen to me) and I screwed it all up.

I suppose it was only a matter of time, really. I mean, Tristan is Tristan. Gorgeous. Funny. Charming. And I'm … me.

No. Stop. Self pity party
over
.

I can still turn this around. He hasn't broken up with me yet. I can still save this. I
have
to save this. Tristan is everything to me. I love him. I've loved him since our second date, when he took me to his band's show and I saw him singing up on that stage. He just oozed sexytime and poetry.

Can one ooze poetry?

Or sexytime, for that matter?

Whatever. One fight does not a breakup make.

We will persevere. Our hearts will go on!

I send Tristan a quick text back. I infuse it with nonchalance and free-spiritedness. I am Ellison Sparks, Drama Free since 2003!

(Okay, so technically I was born before that, but the first few years of anyone's life are, by nature, dramatic.)

Me: Morning! Can't wait to see you today!

I press Send with a flourish. Then I find “Ain't No Mountain High Enough” in my “Psych Me Up Buttercup” playlist and set the volume to Blast!

It's almost impossible to feel down when Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell are cheering you on from the sidelines. It's like this song was written specifically for impeding a breakup. It's the Relationship Saver's Anthem.

I prance into the bathroom, place the phone down on the counter, and sing along at the top of my lungs while I shower.

“Ain't no mountain high enough … To keep me from getting to you, babe.”

On second thought, this song might also be the Stalker's Anthem.

But it doesn't matter. It works. As I step out of the shower and grab a towel, I actually have the nerve to think:

Today is going to be a good day. I can feel it.

 

Talking 'bout My Generation

7:35 a.m.

Why do we have to pick out clothes every day? Why can't we just live in one of those cheesy futuristic sci-fi movies where everyone wears the same neon space suit and no one really seems to care that they all look like clones?

Argh.

I stare hopelessly into my closet. It's school picture day and I also have to give a speech to the entire student body for class elections. Rhiannon, my running mate, texted me last night, reminding me to “Look vice presidential!”

Now I have to find an outfit that not only reminds Tristan that he's madly in love with me, but
also
makes every member of the junior class—or at least a deciding majority—want to vote for me,
and
it has to be something that won't totally embarrass me in front of my grandchildren in fifty years when I show them my junior class picture.

So basically, no pressure.

I pull my pair of lucky skinny jeans from a hanger in the denim section of my closet and move over to the pinks. My wardrobe is coordinated by fabric, color, and season. It's supposed to make clothing selection more efficient, according to an article I read in
Getting Organized
magazine two years ago. (I've been a subscriber since I was ten.) But today, I don't think even a personal stylist could help me pick out the right thing to wear.

I settle on a conservative-but-not-totally-puritan baby pink button-down shirt with a navy cardigan from the autumn section. Then I brave the mirror.

Huh. Not bad.

Maybe I don't need the neon space suit after all.

I blow-dry and flat-iron my hair until it's (relatively) tamed, reprint my extra-credit English paper, and pack up my schoolbag.

7:45 a.m.

Downstairs, the Sparks Family Circus is in full swing. My father is trying to eat oatmeal while playing Words With Friends on his iPad, which usually just ends up with him
wearing
most of the oatmeal.

My mother, the hotshot real estate agent, is her own sideshow this morning. She bangs cabinets and drawers closed as she searches for God knows what.

And in the center ring is my thirteen-year-old sister, Hadley, noisily shoveling spoonfuls of cereal into her mouth between page turns of whatever contemporary young adult novel is at the top of the bestseller list. She has this obsession with reading about people in high school. I've tried to tell her that four years of high school is bad enough. Why on earth would she want to submerge herself early?

She eagerly looks up from her book when I walk into the kitchen and asks, “Did he call?”

I roll my eyes. Why oh why did I tell her about the fight? It was a momentary lapse of judgment. I was a weepy sack of emotions and she was … well, she was there. Popping her head out of her bedroom as I climbed the stairs. She asked me what was wrong and I told her the whole story. Even the part where I threw a garden gnome at Tristan's head.

In my defense, it was the only thing within reach.

Then she proceeded to summarize the entire plot of
10 Things I Hate About You
in an effort to make me feel better, which, incidentally, only made me feel like she was comparing me to a shrew.

“No,” I say dismissively, reaching into the fridge for the bread. “He texted this morning.”

My dad looks up from his iPad and I cringe, waiting for him to ask me what happened. I really don't want to hash out my domestic issues with my parents. But instead he says, “I need a word that starts with T and has an X, an A, and preferably an N in it.”

No one responds. No one ever does.

My mom bangs another cabinet closed. This time, miraculously, my dad takes notice. “What are you looking for?” he asks.

BOOK: A Week of Mondays
3.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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