Wish for You

By: Marquita Valentine

“What do you suggest?”

“I suggest you figure out what’s more important, having Lacey in your life, as only your friend, or not having her in your life at all.”

“Not having Lacey in my life isn’t an option.”

Dr. Lewis smiles. “There’s your answer.”

“But neither is being just friends with her.” I shake my head, remembering the look in her pretty brown eyes when she told me. The way her lips trembled, and the heartbreakingly familiar way she wound her hair around two of her fingers. She’d looked miserable and upset, like when a crowd of unknown people suddenly showed, or when her parents had moved their entire family to a new house on a different side of town.

“Then you’re back at square one.”

I rub my jaw, thinking of a way to get out of this. My commanding officer had a saying: Where there’s a will, there’s a way around it. All I had to do was find a way around whatever Lacey had in her head, after I found out what was going on in her head. For the first time in either of our lives, we were keeping secrets from one another, and I hated it.

But not enough to share with her mine.

“Try being her friend again, if only for a little while. It might be easier than you think… if you put your mind to it.” Dr. Lewis crosses his legs at the ankles. “Consider engaging in friend activities.”

Give me a break. “Like what?”

“What did you do before?”

“I’d go to her roller derby matches, meet her at the skate park, we’d go to dinner, and the movies… stuff like that.” All the things I hadn’t been able to do at all while I was at boot camp and deployed to the Sandbox i.e. Afghanistan. All the things I’d practically thrown myself, headfirst and eyes shut, into because it was so damn normal. No whizzing bullets, no MREs, no locals, no nothing, except my friends, my girl, and my hometown. Everything I could ever want. Everything I dreamed about while serving in that shithole.

“Those are excellent activities.”

I wanted to roll my eyes over his excitement, but I have to imagine he thought I was having a breakthrough. To be honest, his giddiness amuses me, so I take things one step further. “Maybe next week, I’ll take her to get her nails done and then shopping. Hell, I’ll find her a date to the New Year’s Eve party I’m going to, and I’ll ask some girl, too. Then we can all go together.”

Dr. Lewis’s smile fell. “Wyatt.”

“What?” I give him my most innocent look. It was one I’d perfected over the years, and was one that my parents trusted. “I’m trying to think of things best friends would do.”

“You’re being sarcastic and bit vengeful.”

“By wanting to set Lacey up on a date?” I shrug. “Pretty sure girls do that for each other all the time.”


His flippant reply stops me cold. “Excuse me?”

Dr. Lewis rubs the bridge of his nose. If he had been wearing glasses, this would be the perfect time for him to polish the lenses. “If you really want to prove how sincere you are to Lacey, then I suggest you do all of those things for her and with her.”

Find Lacey a date? Find Lacey some jerk-off to take her to parties and watch her roller derby matches? Find some asshole to be the one to roar her name when she scored and wait for her by the locker room while she changed? Find some douche to listen to her while she goes on and on about the mating habits of worms?

Nuh-huh. Not happening.

“Time’s up,” I say, jumping to my feet, and not giving the Doc time to list even more things for me to do with Lacey. I haul ass out to his door. “See you next week. Same time, same place.”

“I’ll be closing for the holidays, starting this Friday, until after the first of the year. However, if you need me, you have my card. Call, text, or email me.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I say offhandedly. I’m still fuming at his suggestion, and I’m still fuming at Lacey. It’s been weeks since I’ve actually spoken to her. I didn’t even bother to go to her last game.

Guilt floods my body as I push the door to the front office open and head outside.

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