The Strange Shape of Anne's Grief Part 12

by Shane Migliavacca



The Strange Shape Of Anne's Grief chapter 12 Sam (III)



Sam lounged on the couch at her parents’ house. Watching the large floor model television. How many hours had she spent watching cartoons, stretched out on the navy blue shag carpet that covered the living room floor? Almost every Saturday morning. When she didn’t sleep till noon. Sam let her bare feet sweep over the carpet. It felt relaxing. She was glad her mom had invited her to dinner tonight. Otherwise she’d be spending another night sitting around the apartment having cold pizza and watching the tail end of the afternoon movie on channel six. Instead she was watching The People's Court at her parents’. Not a bad trade up.

The couch was nice. It was new. They’d finally replaced that dumpy old gray one. She was tempted to take a nap.

The front door opened. Arthur Lang looking tired from another day of work walked in, looking harried from another day at work, at Bray Bank on main street. Mr. Lang worked there in his 9 to 5 job. He was in charge of the vault and safe deposit boxes. Only helping out at the family magic shop once in a while.

Sam peeked over the back of the couch. “Dad!”

“Sammy! Long time no see.” He kicked off his shoes. “Thought that was your bike out front.”

“Yup. The one and only.”

“What brings you by the homestead?”

“Mom invited me to dinner.”

“Good call on her part.”

Arthur Lang’s black hair was showing spots of white creeping in. As did his beard, flecked with white hairs. The man never looked comfortable in the suits he wore for work. Itching to rip them off at a moment’s notice. He was more comfortable in jeans and a T-shirt. Much like his daughter. He walked over to the couch. Pulling off his tie.

“Good to see you.” He bent down and kissed the back off his daughter’s head. “What’s on?”

“Judge Wapner.”

He laughed. “Any good cases?”

“Not really.”

He took of his jacket. Draping it over the recliner. Along with his tie. Something his wife hated.

“Mind if I take a load off?” He asked.

“No.” Sam slid over on the couch.

He sat next to his daughter. They watched the TV for a few minutes. Arthur looked over at his daughter.

“Something bugging you Sammy?”

Arthur Lang was like that. He was always able to tell when something was bothering his daughter. Sam wondered if her dad had any psychic gifts of his own. It had to be a chore dealing with three weird chicks. He took all the psychic seeings, tarot readings and spirit world stuff in stride. If only Anne had.

“It’s nothing really. Just… I think Anne is mad at me.”

“And why’s that?” He adjusted a pillow behind him.

“I took her to the store, for a reading. Don’t think she particularly liked what Noni had to tell her. She took off. I haven’t talked to her since then. And she hasn’t called me. It’s been over a week. Rare for us to go that long without talking.”

Sam felt good spilling her guts to her dad. It was relief to get her fears out in the open. Even if he didn’t know how to help her, at least he knew what she was going through.

“You have phone in your apartment, right?”

Sam looked at him, a bit confused. “Sure. Why?”

He smiled. “Because whatever happened between you two, you can’t let it fester. One of you has to make a move. Might as well be you. If you let it go, before you know it, a year will have gone by. And you’ll wonder where your friend went.”



Sam went home after dinner. On the ride home, she thought about what to do. Her father felt she should call Anne as soon as possible. The longer she put it off the easier it would become not to call her. Sam was worried that her friend might not want her to call. Anne was always so tightly in control of her feelings. It had been unnerving seeing her get angry like that. That look on Anne’s face as she drove past. There was so much rage there. It left Sam feeling disoriented afterwards.

She’d felt better after talking with her father anyway.  

Going home again had been nice. Spending time with her folks, being back in the house she’d grown up in. It was just as nice going back to the apartment though. It was hers. Well hers and her roommate’s anyway. Lucy was watching TV when she got in. Michael Knight was talking to his car again. Lucy was curled up on the couch, eating popcorn with the lights out. Sam had forgot tonight was her roommate’s David Hasselhoff night.

“Hey.” Lucy said. Her eyes never leaving the screen. “Want to watch Knight Rider?”

“Naw. I’m gonna crash. You and Dave have fun.”

She crunched on some popcorn. “It’s still early?”

“Rough day.” Kicking her boots off onto a small rug by the door.

Barefoot she walked down the hall. Lucy had all the lights off in the apartment. The TV provided enough light to see by as she made it to her room. Flipping on the light on the nightstand.

Sam sat on her bed. Staring at the phone on the nightstand. It wasn’t too late. Anne was probably still up. Her mother was like a hawk. Every time Sam ever called, the woman answered the phone before Anne could. Putting her hand on the receiver, stroking its hard, plastic surface. Sam contemplated what to do. Was Anne really mad at her? If she answered, would she hang up on her? Should she let it go?

Taking her hand away from the phone she stood. Pulling off her clothes and wading them up, she threw them on the arm chair in the corner. Goosebumps rose up on her nude skin. Her bedroom got super cold in the fall and winter. During the summer it was just the opposite. With the room feeling like an oven. She hurried into her pajamas. An over-sized Iron Maiden shirt and silk shorts. Sam looked at herself in the mirror. Her hair was its natural black again. Black like her dad’s. The streaks of color were gone now. She’d let them grow out. Setting the fan on low, Sam crawled under her heavy blankets. Pulling them tight against her, she turned off the light.

Over the hum of the fan, she could hear the faint sound of the television. In the dim light proved by the streetlight outside Sam could see it there. Taunting her. The damn phone.

Fuck it!

Siting up. Sam took a deep breath and picked up the receiver. The hum of the dial tone almost comforting to her. Her friend was there. All she had to do was call her. Remembering her dad’s words earlier, Sam dialed Anne’s number.


They met the next day at the train overpass. Back, before Frostwood’s industry fell into decline. Trains had run through town on a fairly regular basis. When the girls were teenagers the overpass was already in disuse. They’d spent time walking along the tracks. Both enjoying the rush of walking over the rails. It was a pretty basic overpass. There were no guardrails or a fence even. It would be pretty easy to trip and go over the side. Before her father’s death, Anne had almost been as much an adrenalin junkie as Sam.

She parked her bike in the train yard, which was more a graveyard for old train cars still sitting on the tracks, faded by the sun and rusting out. Sam wondered if any homeless lived here. The overpass wasn’t far from here. Just a short walk down the tracks.

When she reached the overpass, Anne hadn’t shown up yet. There was a chance she might not show up. Sam knew it was a possibility. She could have agreed to see her here just to get Sam to leave her alone. Ever since her father’s death Anne had been slowly drifting further and further away. It scared Sam more then she’d admit to herself. She wasn’t sure how to reach her friend. What to say to her, if anything at all.

Dangling her feet over the side to the tracks, Sam watched the waters of Tramer Creek flow below the overpass. Brown muddy liquid polluted years ago by the leather factories. A trash bag sat on one side of the creek. Torn open. Spilling its contents onto the bank of the creek. A shopping cart sat in the middle of the creek. Poking out of the dirty water. There was a time the two girls had braved that dingy water on a dare. The days when their only worry was school the next day. Sam had hated school. Now she’d wished she’d never left it.

The sound of boots clomping on the metal rails pulled Sam out of her memory. Anne walked towards her. Her hands in her jacket.

“Hey. Saw you bike back there. You beat me here. That’s a first.”

Sam stood. “Want to go for a swim?”

Anne looks over the side. “Nope. Think I’ll pass.”

“I was thinking about the time my cousin Timmy from Florida was visiting.”

Anne smiled. “Oh god. And he dared us to follow him down the creek.”

Sam nodded. “We ended up at that old burned down tannery. It was so cool looking. We walked across that large pipe that went across the creek.”

“Yeah and I fell off. Right into the water. Took like five showers when I got home. My poor sneakers stunk so bad. Mom had to by me a new pair. She was so pissed.”

The girl’s share a laugh.

Anne bit her lip. “Sorry about… You know. Leaving like that. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. I just don’t believe in any of that stuff… Sorry.”

“I don’t really believe in that crap myself. It’s in the past.” Sam said. Ya’ know.”

“And the past is done and gone.”


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