Tuesday, May 28, 2024 May 28, 2024
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Summer Fiction

Dallas Summer Reading Series: Wait For It

Some things are worth waiting for, even as the world changes around you.
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The rainbow crosswalks were sun-faded. Cameron was vaguely surprised, remembering the headline on Instagram, the vibrant photos of fresh paint. How long ago was that? What is time? The signal at Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs finally clicked to Walk, and Cameron took a long exhale, approaching the Legacy of Love Monument that towered into the glow of the evening sky. It was hotter than she expected for November, and a single bead of sweat slicked down her sternum. 

She tried to remember the last time she was here: Stevie’s bachelorette party at Sue’s. Stevie’s asshole friends thought it would be funny to make her wear one of those sparkly straight-girl sashes. Cameron remembered pulling Stevie onto the patio, handing her a cigarette, and tying the stupid sash into a double Windsor. Cameron’s last clear memory of the night was straightening the collar of Stevie’s preppy sky-blue polo and kissing her cheek, asking, “Is that better, handsome?” before Stevie slipped back into the pulsing lights of the dance floor. 

That seemed like a lifetime ago, another world. Cameron couldn’t imagine stepping on a dance floor now. She remembered the thrill of being packed shoulder to shoulder with so many other queer folks, but now the thought made her throat tight. The pandemic had spawned nightmares of crowded indoor places with no escape. She had told herself it would feel good to be back in the neighborhood, and, besides, where else would she want to meet up with Devin after all this time? 

Cameron looked up at the rocket-shaped monument, the bizarre silver sphere at its apex glaring in the sun’s final light. A thick, water-damaged paperback at the base of the tower fluttered in the breeze, and Cameron reached out to pick it up. She stopped short when she realized it was a Bible, ominously open to a “warning to the rich.” Of course, she thought, imagining Devin would share her utter lack of surprise any moment now. She scanned the streets all directions, wondering if she would feel the 10 years of distance hanging between them, or if Devin’s magnanimous charm would be disarming as ever.

She’d certainly been disarmed to receive Devin’s DM about 18 months into the pandemic. It was something that happened to a lot of folks, apparently—suddenly hearing from ghosts of the past. Cameron and Devin hadn’t fallen out. Their teen relationship had been fiery but brief, interrupted when Devin had moved to South Carolina for college. They had occasionally liked each other’s Instagram posts over the years. Cameron remembered dragging on her cigarette at Stevie’s bachelorette party, wondering if Devin would marry the bright-eyed woman in all her photos. Those photos had disappeared months before the DM arrived announcing Devin’s plan to move back to Dallas. Cameron peered down Cedar Springs as the last blue drained from the sky. Some of the lights on the strip were different than she remembered. She felt another drop of sweat down her chest as the silhouette of Devin’s shaved head came into view, that swagger unmistakable even at such a distance. Cameron pressed the crosswalk button and waited.