Short Story: If you see something, say something


“Mrs. Aldwin; what’s wrong?” Meredith asked, rushing over to the older woman.

“It is Perdita-” she paused looking down at the teen. “Please, call me Anna, darling. Now, as I was saying. It’s Perdita, she hasn’t been herself lately. She claims it’s because of her medication or whatever, but I really don’t think that’s it.” Anna sighed, rubbing her hands over her face.

“I know, Mrs. Al-” Meredith paused, “Lilith. She’s skipped a few classes too, and she’s been pushing us all away.” Meredith agreed, putting her jacket and bag on one of the hooks.

“She’s skipping school?!” the mother screeched, “Why haven’t I gotten a call from the school?” she asked, starting to pace around the room.

“She’s probably going ta the counselor’s office,” Meredith assumed, putting on her apron, “You can sign in there so you don’t get a detention for missing class,” the sixteen-year-old explained, grabbing her nametag.

“It doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s skipping class!” the thirty-six-year-old exclaimed, walking towards the computer, “I’m going to give her a good talking to tonight!” she declared, turning on the computer, “come clock in, Mery,” she said, waving the teen over to her.


* * * * *


Two days later, Meredith was driving to the Aldwin household, after receiving a text from Perdita about needing to talk. As she went to knock on the door it swung open; revealing a disheveled Perdita, who was currently staring down at Meredith’s 5’1” frame.

“Meredith, what took you so long?” Perdita asked, pulling the girl inside, and slamming the door shut.

“I live across town, DiDi,” she paused, taking in the older girl’s appearance, “What happened ta ya?” Meredith asked, going to put a hand on Perdita’s arm.

“You told my mom that I was skipping classes!” she snapped, “I’m grounded for a whole month because of you! The only reason I have my phone is because I’m home alone!” she exclaimed, pushing Meredith’s arm away from her.

“I’m sorry, but ya mom is the only other person who realized there is something wrong with ya! I needed ta talk ta someone about how off ya’ve been!” Meredith apologized to the taller girl.

“There is nothing wrong with me, Meredith!” The girl shouted, stomping off into the kitchen.

Meredith followed the teen, going to stand across from the girl as she sat at the kitchen island; “Ya’ve been pushing everyone away, skipping classes, and missing shifts at work!” Meredith explained, counting down on her fingers, “Ya love working at ya Ma’s café!” Meredith tried to coax an answer from the girl, pressing her hands onto the counter, “So, Perdita, please tell me what’s wrong.” Meredith begged the girl standing across from her, staring intently and patiently at the girl.

“Nothing is wrong. I just haven’t felt the best as of late!” Perdita explained, laying her head on the table.

Meredith slowly nodded her head, dropping the topic, “Other than wanting ta yell at me, why’d ya want me ta come over?” Meredith asked, looking through the kitchen for food.

“Can I not hang out with my best friend without being bombarded with questions?” Perdita asked exasperatedly, sitting up in her chair.

“We haven’t hung out in what feels like months, Perdita,” Meredith teased, grabbing a bag of pretzels and walking back toward the kitchen island.

After Meredith’s comment, there was a long, awkward, and pregnant pause in the conversation. The only sound heard in the room was that of Mereith digging into the bag of pretzels and chewing, followed by the sound of the leaves shaking from the late summer breeze through the window above the kitchen sink. As the silence and staring between the two became longer, Perdita started to become anxious and tense, with no answer on the tip of her tongue.

“Perdita,” Meredith paused as if thinking about what to say as she paused her movements, “We haven’t hung out or held a full conversation in like, a month or two. Then you suddenly text me that you need me to come over ASAP,” as Meredith continued to speak, the displeasure in her voice continued to rise, “Then you go and yell at me, which we both know you could’ve done over text. Now, you’re acting as if you didn’t even go off on me at all,” Meredith finished, indignation clear in her tone, as she closed the pretzel bag frustratedly.

“I- well- you see-” Perdita struggled to find words, anxiously fidgeting in her seat. With a sigh, Perdita caved in, “I just haven’t felt like myself as of late; and whenever I think of going out and socializing it’s like my whole body is just frozen in place. Or my heart starts racing, my hands become shaky, and it feels like I can’t speak at all. I don’t know what’s going on with me, Merry,” Perdita exclaimed, her voice trembling as she spoke.

“Oh, Perdita,” Meredith mumbled, walking around the counter to sit next to her friend, “you need to talk to your Mom about this. I’m sure she’ll take you to a doctor or something to find out what’s wrong. Or you could talk to one of the counselors at school,” Meredith coaxed Perdita, putting her hand on the redhead’s.

“I-” Perdita sighed, “What if my mom reacts like those videos we’ve seen? Ya know, the one where the mom just dismisses it as an excuse or something like that?” Perdita denied, shaking her head.

“Perdita, you really should talk to an adult about this. Plus, you’re Ma is soo understanding, I’m sure she’ll help you in every way she can,” Meredith reasoned with the concerned girl, reaching into her pocket.

“I mean, I- I guess you’re right,” the girl hesitantly agreed, looking at the girl to her right. “What are you doing?” she asked, fully turning her attention to the girl.

“Why don’t you call your mom? She’s worried about you,” Meredith said, giving Perdita her phone, Pedita’s mom’s contact already pulled up.

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