“The Bus Part IV”

By Anna Harberger

By 3pm, Frances met Cleo underneath the white arch of Sacred Heart High School. Fearing the possibility of a cross examination by her father, Frances suggested they spend the night at Cleo’s house.

Toward the end of the walk home, Cleo received the plans of the evening with a suppressed excitement.

“Really?” “Yes, really. I’ll show you her message,” Frances said, vaguely annoyed. “Yeah, so this is happening I guess.” “I guess it is.” “We need to find something to wear.” “I think I have tights. Maybe some tennis skirts? We can always raid my sister’s closet–” “That’s probably better. What about makeup?” “I have concealer and stuff, not much more. My mom might have red lipstick we can use,” Cleo eagerly suggested. “Okay, we’ll have to figure something out,” ended Frances.

Cleo’s bedroom was half clean. Her twin bed, though misshapen by the throw pillows beneath the comforter, was mostly presentable. Postcards of Impressionist paintings and stacks of her father’s Grateful Dead records lined the room’s perimeter, as you might see in catalogue of a housewife in Topanga. Cleo had only listened to the records once. Though she decidedly disliked the music, the records remained.

Still in the home, the night went forward. During such hours, Frances’ concern for the evening to come were purely aesthetic. Powder flying, lipstick smearing, blue eyeshadow everywhere but their eyes, the two girls became their own clownish impressions of what they believed they were to look like. After hours upon hours of effort, though, this fact was pathetically unclear to them both.