After Keith

The oversized yellow truck trundled to a halt. The fence looked the same, the flowers looked the same, and the street lights looked the same. Natalie supposed that even she looked the same. The comparison ended there. It was July. The moon hung full bodied in the sky and she, Natalie Anderson, was home.

Natalie stared at her ceiling for hours. This was an after characteristic. Natalie couldn't stop looking at the only photo, of her as a 6 year old princess. Natalie couldn't stand to look at it. In her head, she could hear was Keith would say. You're losing it partner. This is the wasting away scene.

Natalie played the scene as a puppet. Strings pulled her to breakfast, to the regularly scheduled discussions about the future, to the bathroom, to her bedroom. Every once in a while, the phone would ring, but all her best friend wanted to talk about was Notre Dame. Natalie wasn't going to Duke. Then it was August.

"Pretty strange."

"A girl in a big yellow truck? Where's your convertible?"

"Is this your brother's truck?"

Natalie got used to all the questions. She never bothered to answer. She never felt the need to explain her tattered green jacket. She never explained why she smiled inscrutably at crossroads. Natalie had her secrets. It was September, and she was loading boxes into the bed of the yellow truck. She was moving to a dorm room, at a state school with a last minute acceptance. Time for a moving on scene partner.

Natalie planted her feet on the crisp grass of the University of Illinois campus and imagined the scene. Okay partner, this is it. The welcome scene. She adjusted the jumbled boxes in her arms – clothes in one and shoes in another. There were many more boxes in the back of the truck, and already sweat trickled down her neck to the top of her green tank top.

Natalie trekked up to the unimpressive and uninspiring block of grey brick buildings and breathed in the cool air of the hallway. She paid no attention to the tall lanky form that help the door open for her other than to mutter a quick thanks.

Natalie went to haul her boxes up the stairs, but then she turned back. She dropped the boxes noisily to the scuffed linoleum and raised her hand to her forehead theatrically. "Oh my stars!"

Natalie started fanning herself as she worked in a thick Southern drawl. "How shall I ever get these priceless keepsakes to their rightful owner?"

The guy at the door had turned when she put the boxes down, and now he stared at her, somewhat quizzically, waiting to see what she would do next. Natalie wanted to see if he would join in the scene, so she staggered over to him, enjoying his confusion and insecurity. He stepped back and allowed the door to swing shut. Natalie pretended to swoon.

He backed away, disdain wafting over Natalie, who shrugged and felt the muscles of her face relax. Maybe she hadn't meant to drive him away, but she couldn't help it. It had been the damsel in distress scene.

The boxes back in hand once more, she dashed up the stairs and down the hallway to the left to room 204. The room was pleasantly predictable. A spare, sturdy bunk bed. Two desks crowding the opposite wall. A shelf, a closet. Natalie laid her boxes down on the top bunk before heading back to her yellow truck, playing out the scene.

A/N: Just something fun swimming in my head after I watched the movie for the 87 kajillionth time. The short story isn't bad either, but I liked the movie more. Anyway, I'd love reviews of all kinds – flames, concrit, praise, concrit, did I mention concrit?