Darlene Knight

Sept. 7, 2020, 4:49 p.m.

The subject of strength

She was surviving. Kinda. Mostly.

Everything at RMI looked and felt different now. Each hallway, each room, each person was something new now. It wasn’t like last year. It wasn’t like the four years leading up until this one. She hadn’t had to walk alone in so long. Her hand was cold and empty, unoccupied by a literal and metaphorical warming presence.

Darlene had given a lot and changed a lot for Drew. Nothing had ever been easy about it dating him, except for actually dating him. It was all the outside factors that weighed their relationship down. Back when Kit hated her, or the different worlds they came from, or their friends not getting along, or, or… or all that stuff. But Drew was easy. Drew was simple. Drew was her everything.

So she could hardly be blamed for getting a tad bit desperate over the summer, especially given the timing of the break up. “Have a good summer, see you next year, I don’t love you anymore!” (Not that Drew had actually said that, of course, but in essence, that’s what it was.) And she missed things. She missed him and everything they had. Darlene was always so conscious - of appearances or herself or the world imposing down upon her - but with Drew, she didn’t have to be. She never had to worry anymore. She thought that things were simple. But they weren’t.

She hadn’t told Claudia personally about it because she was afraid of what she would say (although word got around pretty easily, so if she hadn’t found out yet, even being graduated, she surely would know soon), but Darlene had told Kit everything. Including the bit about the desperate letter she had sent Drew over the summer, the one with images attached. Darlene knew it wasn’t really right, proper, or smart, but what was she supposed to do? She couldn’t reach him any other way, and Darlene knew that was the method to which men responded. But Drew didn’t respond, which was only more embarrassing.

She didn’t look over at his House bonfire much, a little too upset to steal a glance. She also paid little attention to the Speech, offered no recognition of its ending, and did not reach for any food. Darlene simply sat, repeating mantras of strength in her head. She would be damned if this stupid American school got to see her cry.

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