Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Triangle

by Teresa Powell Coltrin
It is July. I am 18 and my boyfriend is still 17, for another month. We are sitting in his parents’ living room, my true love and I, and – his ex-girlfriend. It is an awkward place we find ourselves in.
I am working at a garment factory more precisely a coverall factory. I’ve worked there for month. I’ve moved out of my parents’ home (I move back the next month) and rent a nice Spanish style trailer decorated in red and black, next to a truck stop, five miles out of town.
On this day, I’m driving back to work after my lunch break, in my green 1965 Ford Mustang. On the way, I happen to glance across the fields to my true love’s home and see a car parked in the driveway. It takes me a nanosecond to recognize the car.  My heart jumps to my throat trying to suffocate me. I pull into the first driveway I see, turn around and race to his house.
Once there, I stumble out of my car then slow down to walk up the steps to the front door. The door is open. I step inside, say hi and look around to see that his parents are not home. We are alone in our  triangle. *Sally is sitting in a chair to my left. He is sitting in a chair to my right. He looks guilty. She has a plastic grin on her face.  I walk to the couch and sit down. My heart is pounding in my chest. I’m hoping I don’t die in front of them.
My true love has picked up a newspaper and pretends to read it. I’m doubtful that he is, but the newspaper helps hide his face.
No one is talking until I say, “What’s going on?"
I hear his voice from behind the paper, “Nothing. Sally just came over to see me. That’s all.”
I’m doubtful and turn to look at her. Her face is now red and she giggles. I look back at my hidden true love. “If you are my boyfriend, then it’s not right that she is here.” I say this like she’s not in the room and like I am the keeper of righteousness.
“I know, I told her that,” he says. The newsprint moves a little.
“I only came over to see him,” Sally finally speaks.
I’m so angry that I take a deep breathe to keep my voice from cracking when I speak, but it doesn’t help. “You need to choose between us right now or I'm out of here.”
He lets the paper fall to his lap and on the short cut-off jeans he’s wearing and looks at me. His face has turned pale which makes his brown eyes darker. “I’ve already chosen. I told her that before you came in.”
“Told her what?”
“I told her that you’re my girlfriend now.”
I stare at my pale true love, then say. “Okay.” I turn to look at the third part of the triangle and say, “You need to leave.”
She leaves. My true love stays mine.

* Name changed