Everything, Everything(16)

by Nicola Yoon

So. I don’t check my e-mail. One thing I’m certain of: Wanting just leads to more wanting. There’s no end to desire.

Life is Short™

Spoiler Reviews by Madeline

ALICE’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Spoiler alert: Beware the Queen of Hearts. She’ll have your head.

Makes You Stronger

There’s no e-mail from Olly. Not one. I even check my spam folder. This shouldn’t bother me and it doesn’t. It doesn’t bother me a lot. In the interest of thoroughness, I refresh my e-mail three more times in about two seconds. Maybe it’s just hiding somewhere, stuck behind another one.

Carla walks in as I’m about to refresh again.

“I didn’t think you’d be able to unearth that thing,” she says.

“Good morning to you, too,” I say, squinting down at the screen.

She smiles and begins her daily unpacking-of-the-medical-bag ritual. Why she doesn’t leave it here overnight is a mystery.

“Why are you frowning? Another dead cat video?” Her smile is toothy and wide, very Cheshire-catlike. Any minute now her body will disappear, leaving just a grinning floating head in its wake.

“Olly didn’t send me any e-mails.”

I believe nonplussed is the word for her expression.

“All weekend,” I say, by way of illumination.

“I see.” She puts the stethoscope in her ears and the thermometer under my tongue.

“Did you e-mail him?”

“Yesh.” I talk around the thermometer.

“Don’t talk, just nod.”

“Sawwy.”

She rolls her eyes and we wait for the beep.

“Ninety-nine point eight,” I say, handing the thermometer back to her. “I basically told him not to write. Am I being ridiculous?”

She motions for me to turn around so she can listen to my lungs but doesn’t respond.

“How ridiculous?” I prompt. “On a scale of one to ten, one being perfectly rational and reasonable and ten being absurd and certifiable.”

“About an eight,” she says without hesitation.

I’d been expecting her to say twelve, so eight seems like a victory. I tell her so and she laughs at me.

“So you told him not to write to you and then he didn’t write to you. This is what you’re telling me?”

“Well, I didn’t say DON’T WRITE in big, bold letters or anything. I just said I was busy.” I think she’s going to make fun of me, but she doesn’t.

“Why didn’t you write to him?”

“Because of what we talked about. I like him, Carla. A lot. Too much.”

The look on her face says is that all? “Do you really want to lose the only friend you’ve ever had over a little bit of heartache?”

I’ve read many, many books involving heartache. Not one has ever described it as little. Soul-shattering and world-destroying, yes. Little, no.

She leans back against the couch. “You don’t know this yet, but this will pass. It’s just the newness and hormones.”

Maybe she’s right. I want her to be right so I can talk to him again.

She leans forward again now and winks at me. “That, and he’s cute.”

“He is pretty cute, right?” I giggle.

“Honey, I didn’t think they made them like that anymore!”

I’m laughing, too, and imagining a factory with little Ollys coming off an assembly line. How would they ever keep them still enough to package and mail?

“Go!” She slaps my knee. “You have enough things to be afraid of. Love can’t kill you.”

No Yes Maybe

Monday, 8:09 P.M.

Madeline: Hi.

Olly: hey

Madeline: How are you? How was your weekend?

Olly: fine. good

Olly: yours?

Madeline: Good, but busy. I mostly did calculus homework.

Olly: ahh, calculus. the mathematics of change

Madeline: Wow. You really weren’t kidding about liking math?

Olly: no

Madeline: I’m sorry about my e-mail.

Olly: which part?

Madeline: All of it. Are you upset with me? No, yes, maybe?

Olly: no yes maybe

Madeline: I don’t think you’re supposed to use all the answers.

Olly: why’d you send it?

Madeline: I got scared.

Olly: of what?

Madeline: You.

Madeline: You didn’t write to me either.

Olly: you didn’t want me to

Madeline: …

Olly: does the ellipsis mean we’re having an awkward silence or that you’re thinking?