“Come on, Gabe!” Petra grabs my hand and drags me into the falling rain. Her hair sticks to her face and arms in long strands like abstract tattoos. Our feet in soaked sneakers slurp against the pavement as we run through the park. So loud. Did we get away with it?
Don’t look back.
From here it’s hard to remember things spoken and imagined in far off times. We sat together in classrooms and fast food joints. We shared notes and french fries. What did we promise? What did we swear never to do? The words fade. What remains is the shape of her body running in the rain — shoulders hunched, messanger bag slapping against her side.
I strapped my own bag on securely — inside I can hear the faint chink of silver spoons, plates, and jewelry, wrapped in cloth that’s coming loose. We turn a bend and Petra ducks into a bandstand, catching her breath. She collapses to the mostly dry floor in the center, and laughs — a bright, barking noise.
My own fear lifts, rising from my feet through my chest and evaporating. I’m so light I feel like I could take off and zoom through the sky.
“We did it!” I say. The past doesn’t matter. I can’t go back — I’ve committed robbery and it feels great.
“How much did we get?” She pulls my bag around and peers inside. “It’s all sterling?”
“Sure. I think.”
“Don’t think.” She stares at me, her eyes suddenly hard and commanding. “Know.”
“Yes, all silver and gold.” How much will it get us? I wonder. Thousands, hundreds of thousands? Petra has a cousin who will buy it, no questions asked.
We didn’t do it for the money, I remind myself. It was revenge.
“When will they notice, do you think?” Petra throws my bag back to me, shakes out her hair and rubs her nose on her sleeve.
I smile, imagining principal Jonah, her husband, and her son Micah sitting down to dinner at that long, polished dining room table, waiting for the maid to bring out silver platters, then discovering, to their dismay, that there were no silver platters. Not anymore.
I almost wish we’d done more — slashed through their paintings, or torn up the flower beds. But Petra didn’t want to. She didn’t want to destroy, just take from them as they took from her.
She won the scholarship money fair and square. Not the Jonah’s spoiled son. We studied together for months, and she told me after the test that she had known every single answer. Her score came in the mail, and it was perfect. Just one single mistake. That’s all. One out of five hundred questions.
But Micah scored 100%. And I saw the look in principal Jonah’s eyes, the smirk when she announced the winner.
But how could we prove it? We couldn’t. Petra couldn’t afford college on her own.
The robbery was her idea. They owed her, she’d make them pay up.
I’m a willing accessory. The boyfriend side-kick with some mad fence-climbing and alarm deactivating skills.
Whooo, it feels great to be home-free! I reach out to wrap Petra in a hug and kiss her on the lips — where did she go?
I hear the sirens, see blue and red lights smearing through the rain.
I’m standing here alone, stolen silver and gold at my feet. And she’s gone.Photo by Tomascastelazo (Own work) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0">CC-BY-SA-3.0</a>], <a href=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AFalling_rain_in_mexico.jpg”>via Wikimedia Commons</a>