The boy’s locker room was empty, but it still had the musty smell of unwashed gym shorts and pit stains, not even moderately camouflaged by the haze of deodorant that hung in the air. Robyn wrinkled her nose and followed the unsavory smells as they wafted through the room, the worst of them settling in front of Mike’s locker. She held her palm over his greasy, mottled combination lock and concentrated on its spiritual essence.
“What do you want?” the lock said lackadaisically.
“Might I please enter your domain?” Robyn said
“What’s that now?”
“Um, I need you to unlock.”
“Why didn’t you say so in the first place?” The lock slowly began to spin unaided. Right to nine, left to six, back up to zero and around to seven. The lock gave a high, pinging pop and sprung open.
Mark didn’t really mind when his mom shooed him and Katie out of the house. Katie, his girlfriend, had met his parents less than a week earlier, and he explained that one sure way to tell that his mom was becoming comfortable with someone was when she started bossing them around. Katie just laughed and nodded. “This explains so much about you.”
They decided to drive to a small park several miles from the house, and now they sat on a park bench, with their bodies pressed against each other, lips locked together. The park was quiet but for the dry leaves crackling in the wind, dancing over the concrete. Fall had arrived and, the youngsters that had crowded the faded, red jungle gym just days before were now sitting in desks, staring out the window. Mark and Katie too would soon resume classes, both in their 3rd year of college. Mark tried not to think about it, focusing on Katie’s lips against his, her dark hair swirling around his face.
The moment was so serenely silent, the stillness so palpable that he wasn’t quite sure what to do when Katie’s tongue darted back into her mouth like a frightened fish. She pushed him away and held him at arm’s length, her black eyes suddenly unable to meet his, flitting around the empty park.