Delaney plucks a purple T-shirt off the top of the messy pile and begins refolding it.
“Don’t do that,” Macy barks from across the room.
Startled, Delaney turns toward her older sister. “Didn’t you tell me to pack these?”
“Yeah, but don’t waste time refolding. Just take ’em out of the drawer and put ’em in the box, the way I told you.”
Grumbling under her breath, Delaney scoops up the shirts and drops them into the box at the foot of Macy’s bed. “Better hope your roommate isn’t a neat freak.”
“You mean a Miss Perfect like you?” Macy dumps an armload of sweatshirts into another box.
Delaney tries to remember why she volunteered to help in the first place. Macy never appreciates anything she does. As far as Macy’s concerned, Delaney’s nothing but a nuisance. Why does she even bother? She heads for the door.
“Hey, where ya goin’? I thought you wanted to know what high school’s like.”
Delaney stops. Is Macy really going to impart insider information? Or is she trying to trick her into more packing? Delaney turns around.
Macy holds out a box, nodding toward a stack of books by the desk. “Those go in here. But don’t put ’em in alphabetical order or anything.”
Rolling her eyes, Delaney takes the box. She kneels down and starts sorting by size. “So tell me.”
“You’ll love it.”
“Just because you did doesn’t mean I will.” Why does Macy always assume everyone’s opinions are the same as hers?
“Freshman year will be a blast.”
“How do you expect to have any fun with that attitude?” Macy folds the flaps of a box together. “Hand me the tape, will ya?”
Delaney tosses the neon-yellow duct tape in her sister’s general direction. “You loved ninth grade because you made cheerleading.”
Macy twists around, her blue eyes brightening. “Are you going to try out?”
Doesn’t her sister know anything about her? “Yeah, right. I’m not exactly the rah-rah type, in case you haven’t noticed.”
“Don’t get all huffy.” Macy winds several belts together.
“Not everyone’s an extrovert like you. I’ll bet you’re not even worried that you won’t know a single person at college.”
“So I’ll meet new people. It’ll be fun.”
“Wow, you must sleep great. I, on the other hand, lie awake wondering whether I’ll have anyone to eat lunch with.”
Macy scrunches up her nose. “Why not take things as they come?”
“Easy for you to say. Everything always goes the way you want it to.”
“Seriously, Laney, it’s only school.”
“No, it’s high school!”
“Come on, you’ll be fine. You’ll make lots of friends.”
“What if I don’t? And I have to eat lunch alone every day like a loser?”
“Why are you so obsessed with lunch?”
“It’s not just lunch; it’s everything.” Delaney stomps over to the dresser, grabs two fistfuls of Macy’s socks, and flings them into a box.
Macy shakes her head but says nothing.
The two pack in silence until Delaney says, “I can still text you when you’re at school, right?”
“I mean, you won’t be too busy with your new college friends to text back? Not that I’ll be texting you every hour or anything. Just, you know, when it’s important.”
“Text me whenever.”
Delaney opens another drawer. “Isn’t there anything that worries you about college?”
Macy shrugs. “I’m not a worrier.”
“So nothing concerns you? Nothing? Not one single thing?”
“Well…. Maybe there’s one thing.” Macy tosses some hangers into a box. “Yesterday, I told Logan we should date other people.”
Delaney’s mouth drops open. Macy’s been dating Logan since Homecoming. He’s on the honor roll, he plays shortstop on the Varsity baseball team, and he’s always nice to Delaney whenever he comes over. Why would Macy want to dump such a great guy? “Don’t you like him anymore?”
“Of course I do. But after tomorrow I’ll be in Delaware and he’ll be in Pennsylvania.”
“Haven’t you ever heard of long-distance relationships?”
Macy adds more hangers to the box. “Everyone says they don’t work.”
“So you’re breaking up now so you don’t have to break up later? That’s ridiculous.” Macy doesn’t get great grades, but she’s got to be smarter than that.
The rest of the hangers land in the box with a clatter. Macy shoves the box out of the way and sits down on the floor. “You know how when someone says you can’t have something, suddenly that’s what you want the most? Like when you’re on a diet and all you can think about is mint-chocolate-chip ice cream?”
Delaney sits down next to her sister. “Uh-huh.”
“I figure that if Logan and I have permission to date other people–”
“You won’t want to.”
“Right. If it isn’t off-limits, it won’t be so tempting.”
“I guess that kinda makes sense,” Delaney says.
“But what if he meets someone prettier? Or smarter? Someone he likes better than me?”
“You know what Mom says: There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”
“Not like Logan.”
“You ought to know. You’ve dated a boatload of fish.” Delaney elbows Macy. They both laugh.
Macy’s laughter doesn’t last long. “But seriously, Laney, what if he dumps me for someone he meets at school?”
“You’ve got to take it as it comes, right? Isn’t that what you told me five minutes ago?”
“That’s awful advice.”
Delaney nods. “I thought so too.”
“I hate feeling insecure.”
“Welcome to my world.”
Macy hugs her knees. “What do you think I should do?”
“You’re asking me for advice?” A first.
“Yeah, I guess I am.”
“Tell Logan you changed your mind and you don’t want to date other people after all. I’ll bet he says he never wanted to in the first place.”
“You really think so?”
Delaney gives her big sister a confident smile. “Definitely.”
Lori Cramer’s short prose has appeared in Ellipsis Zine, The Fiction Pool, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Mojave Heart Review, and Splonk, among others. Her story “Scars” (Fictive Dream, February 2018) was nominated for Best Microfiction 2019. Links to her writing can be found at https://loricramerfiction.wordpress.com. She can be found on Twitter @LCramer29.