Summit’s eyes were closing. The soothing jazz, combined with review of her paper on the Baroque Movement that was due in the morning, barely kept her awake. She didn’t even notice the blinking light on the corner of her screen – an invitation to Face Chat.
The cell phone vibrated underneath a mound of books and papers. Summit dug for it and read the text. ‘Hellooo. Turn face chat on.” It was then she saw the light and clicked on it. The screen opened up to her best friend Sydney’s face.
“Are you sleeping? It’s only midnight.”
“Homework is so boring,” Summit replied. “But I have to get an A because Harvard reviews this semester’s grades. If I mess it up, they could renege.”
“As if. You are the smartest kid in school. Besides, your mom and dad went there, right? And didn’t they give a ton of money to the school too?” Summit rolled her eyes in acknowledgement. “I wouldn’t worry about it.”
Sydney flipped her thick chestnut mane to the side. She always did that when she was about to reveal something secret.
“So, I know something.” Summit was too tired for games.
“Look Syd, I’m beat. What’s up?”
“You don’t want to guess?” Sydney looked disappointed. Summit could tell that her friend had taken her brother’s Concerta. Her eyes were practically popping through the computer and she couldn’t sit still.
“Did you take your brother’s ADD pills again? Geez, Syd. You’re going to be up all night.” Sydney gave her friend a false look of remorse.
“I have two papers to write tonight. I had to.”
“Then what are you doing talking to me?”
“I told you, I wanted to tell you something. You’ll want to know this.”
Summit figured she’d play along. The sooner she got through the guessing game, the sooner she could pass out.
“Um, nimrod asked you to prom?”
“No, and he’s not a nimrod.”
“Uh, yeah he is. Anybody who smokes on campus and gets caught is a nimrod.”
“At least he didn’t get suspended.” Sydney was defending her boyfriend. She was crazy about him.
“Well, OK, I’ll give you that. He’s a smart nimrod. Got his parents to give a big donation and voila, reinstated.”
“I wish I had that kind of money.” Sydney was feeling sorry for herself.
“Trust me Syd, money is not all its cracked up to be. It can really mess families up.”
Summit saw a shadow under the door jam and lowered her voice. “Hey, I gotta go, the witch is outside my room. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Wait!” Sydney insisted. I really need to tell you.” She looked serious and concerned. Summit wanted to listen, but she really had to go.
“Tell me tomorrow.” Summit shut her laptop, turned over and pretended to be asleep just as her bedroom door creaked open.
“Summit? Are you awake?” Summit’s mother stood in the doorway, slightly unsteady from several glasses of wine. She called out again in a loud whisper. “Honey? I need to talk to you. Are you awake?” Summit pulled a pillow over her head. Please go away, she chanted over and over again inside her head.
Julia swayed back and forth as she made her way over, plopping down on the base of the bed. She reached out to touch her daughter’s leg, a rare gesture of affection. Summit recoiled as though a rattlesnake had bit her.
“Oh, sorry. Did I hurt you?” Her mother’s words sounded heavy and thick. “Can you please turn over and look at me? I have something to tell you.”
Summit reluctantly flipped over enough so that she could see her mother in the shadow of the hallway light, but didn’t bother sitting up.
“What?” she replied in a tone void of emotion. Summit had no feelings of love for her mother. How could she love someone who never wanted her?
Julia sensed the tension and opted to just be out with it. This fake motherly love stuff was such a challenge.
“Your father and I are getting a divorce.”