Her Secret Drawer

Fiction & Short Stories /

christopher troy

It was clear and blue outside, and the wine on the table was a light red and not very expensive. The summer had just begun; it was easy to drink and laugh for no reason at all and even with no one around. It all brought him back to when drinking wine was something new and still a secret, something that made him laugh hard and free before it would make him sick to his stomach.

He poured his first glass quickly. The glub, glub, glub returned him to Amelia and her father’s den – mounted animal heads protecting the precious books, old and original, wrapped in cracked leather, titles and authors displayed in fading gold letters, the strong smell of decay almost imperceptible. Amelia asked if he had ever kissed a girl and then started climbing the wooden ladder set against the tall bookcase. I shouldn’t look up, he thought. From the top of the ladder she looked down at him with a smile on her face he hadn’t seen before. What is she doing up there and why is she taking this long to come back down, he wondered. Amelia walked up to him and stood on her tiptoes: “I’m taller than you this year. Now choose which hand.” Both were clenched, palms upwards, her hot pink fingernails digging into her skin. I’ll choose the left hand, the one that has the bracelet I gave her last week for her birthday, he thought. Her smile slowly grew longer and brighter like a summer day. She broke the clasp already, he remarked. She must take it off every night before bed. But why?

Amelia started making her way to her father’s mahogany desk in ballerina leaps. Her dress opening and closing like a yellow umbrella. Once there, she took her thin finger and traced it all along its polished length, looking back at him over her bony shoulder and through her hair, as it squeaked its way towards the secret she wanted to share with him. “Can you keep a secret, Oliver?” The new smile on her face made that question feel different this time. He wasn’t sure how to answer her. “Of course, you can,” she answered for him. He finally saw what Amelia was hiding in her left hand.

She unlocked the bottom right-hand drawer of the mahogany desk. “You can’t tell anyone what I’m about to show you…we’ll both get in all kinds of trouble, if my father ever finds out. Ok?” Her new smile disappeared for a few seconds until she saw what she was looking for on his face, and then it returned bigger than before. “You didn’t answer me. Have you ever kissed a girl, Oliver…on the lips?” He felt her light hands on his shoulders and a warm breath traveling from his ear down his neck and back: “What were you thinking about?” He tilted his head far back and met her upside down face: “Do you remember what we used to do in your father’s den as kids, Amelia?” She had that smile again, but this time he recognized it right away, even upside down.

– Christopher Troy

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