Sadie was sitting in the front seat again, only this time they were headed home. Her mother called Dizzie’s phone and yelled Sadie’s ear off. Dizzie vouched for her. “I’m sorry we kidnapped your daughter, Mrs. Nozek. It was my fault.”
“Your mom’s pissed,” Dizzie laughed as soon as she hung up the phone.
And that’s how their day at the beach was cut a little short. The girls rode home with the sun in their eyes, Dizzie driving and Kira in the back, pretending to sleep.
Kira and Sadie had talked on the beach while Dizzie went swimming.
“You fancy her,” Kira had said. It wasn’t a question.
“I, um… I what?”
“Don’t play dumb, Sadie. You’re the smartest damn girl I know. Give yourself some credit.”
“I… I don’t know how I feel about Dizzie.”
Kira sucked in some air through her teeth. “Well, whatever you’re feeling, it’s not going to end well. Unless you can get her drunk…”
“It’s not like that!” Sadie clutched her knees to her chest. “Kira,” she started, “have you ever been in love?”
“Can’t say I have. Figure I’d know if it happened.” She drew a finger through the sand.
“I don’t know, either,” Sadie said, watching Sadie dive through the swells. She was swimming too far out. The swell crested and crashed on the beach. “Don’t tell Dizzie about it.”
“She won’t know from my mouth, and she’s so wrapped up in her own world anyway, she probably will never notice if you don’t want her to.”
“Good,” Sadie said. “So, what’s it like being a graduate?”
Kira laughed. “And she counters with a left hook. You know, it’s pretty much the same as high school, except now my parents have practically disowned me.”
“About Penn State, right?”
“Yeah,” she ran a hand through her hair and sighed. Sadie couldn’t help but stare at one of her more audacious tattoos: the head of the goddess Kali on her inner thigh, her tongue curled out and her necklace of skulls draped around her neck with their jaws hanging open.
“I have to go to Berklee, Sade. My guitar is my life. There’s nothing else for me, even if I did get a volleyball scholarship to Penn State.”
Sadie hugged her knees. She wished she could be brave like Kira and make a hard choice like that. She wasn’t sure she could do the same in her place.
As the next wave crashed, Kira and Sadie had heard a song bloom from the shoreline, at first faint but growing more powerful with each breath.
“At twenty one you’re on top of the scrapheap. At sixteen you were top of the class. All they taught you at school was how to be a good worker. The system has failed you, don’t fail yourself,” Dizzie stepped up to the two girls laying out on their towels with a shit-eating grin. Kira smirked back and joined along.
“Just because you’re better than me, doesn’t mean I’m-a lazy. Just because you’re going forwards, doesn’t mean I’m going backwards.”
Kira nudged Sadie in the ribs and they sang the chorus again. Sadie joined in halfway through. They sang it again, maybe ten times, then fell back on their towels, laughing and spitting sand. It was then that Sadie’s mother had called them.
Now, in the car, Sadie felt even more awkward knowing that Kira was giving them “alone time.”
“Did you have fun, Sadie lady?”
“Yeah,” she said. “I’m sorry about my mom.”
“Don’t sweat it. You said you had fun, right?”
“Then that’s what’s important.”
Sadie just wanted to lean over and hang on to one of Dizzie’s freckled arms. “Did you have fun, Dizzie?”
“Sure did! Not so often that I get to go out with my two favorite gals!”
“You and Kira have been friends for a long time, right?”
“Since we were five! Why?”
Sadie bit down on her thumb. “I feel like I’m intruding.”
Sadie was surprised to hear Dizzie explode with laughter, even to the point that she lost control of the car for a moment. “Oh, God, Sadie! Intruding! Didn’t you just hear what I said? Since we were five! I don’t even know how I stand the bitch!” A middle finger levitated in the back seat. “Seriously, Sadie,” she said, suddenly sobering up. “You are every bit a part of the Bayside Sex Deviants. You’re just as much a part of the gang as Dakota, or Chev, or even ‘Miss Indian reincarnation of Jimi in the back seat.’ That’s about as sappy as I get, though. She turned her ipod to Billy Bragg and let the music speak the words she herself can never articulate.
There is power in a union.