ESCAPE FROM PARADISE

"Hide them somewhere in your room," she said to me, smiling at the grin I gave her. "You can come over and change so your parents don't find out, before and after school. I'll do everything I can to make sure they don't find out."

"Thank you," I finally breathed, after a few seconds of silence. Tears welled up in my eyes. I would've hugged her then, but my hands were full from the box of clothes she gave me. "Thank you, so much."

It felt weird not giving her a hug then. Maybe Mary felt the same way too in that moment, because she gently wrapped her arms around me and buried her head in the crook of my neck. Her skin was warm and soft. I leaned into her touch the best I could and smiled more.

She let go, suddenly, and the feeling of her arms unwrapping felt alien. Empty, almost. But, we both had to go, and we couldn't hug forever. I wish we could, though.

We parted our ways, and she waved goodbye as she always did. I waved back with the box, and turned away as fast as I could so she didn't see my blush. She was the girl who caught my eye, and I hoped I caught her eye too.

I walked through the empty streets of Paradise, the autumn night wind biting at my bare skin. I was wearing a sleeveless white dress, but I could care less at that moment. I had finally gotten my first ever masculine clothes. I could finally say goodbye to lifeless, ugly, frilly dresses, and say hello to flannel shirts, jeans and belts.

I snuck back into my room excitedly that night.