The terrible memory flashes again, but I don’t disappear this time. It just rattles me, hard. Maybe it wasn’t Porter shaking me before. Maybe I’m just shaking.
I think things have been working out for me so far partly because I have people believing in me. Gabby and the Hudsons and Ethan are so encouraging that it makes me feel I can do all the things I set out to do. In other cities, I never had a true support system. I had plenty of friends and, at times, caring boyfriends. But I don’t know that I ever had someone truly believing in me even when I didn’t. Now I do. And I think maybe I need someone in my corner in order to thrive. I think I am one of those people who need people. Because my family left and I was OK with it, I always thought that I was more of a lone wolf. I guess I thought I didn’t need anyone.Well, I admire it, Ethan says.
The waiter sets the guacamole down in front of us. I grab a chip and dip in. But before I can even bring it to my lips, it smells awful. I put the chip down.Oh, God, I say. Is it rancid or something?Uh, Ethan says, genuinely confused. The guacamole?
Smell it, I say. It smells funky.It does? He dips a chip in, brings it to his nose, and eats it. It’s fine. It tastes great.
I smell it again and can’t stand it. I hold my stomach.
Are you OK? Ethan asks.Yell what? I asked.
Anything. He took a deep breath, then let out a loud Harooooo!Harooooo! I echoed. My voice sailed out over the water, overlapping with Rowan’s. The sound made me feel alive. And brave. I wanted to feel this way all the time.
What are you guys doing? Ian dropped his notebook and stepped next to me, the wind whipping his hair into a frenzy.Yelling, I said.