The Loose Ends List

By: Carrie Firestone

WHEN GRAM CALLS, I ignore it. Lizzie and I are at Starbucks waiting for Kyle and Ethan to get out of lacrosse practice. We’re working on our Loose Ends lists, and they’re just getting good. I scroll through mine while Lizzie sticks her straw into another iced tea lemonade. It’s uncomfortably hot for May.

One. Save enough lifeguarding money to pay for a road trip.

Last year I blew all my money on a stupid designer bag that now has ink all over the inside.

Two. Have an alone day with each of the E’s.

I love my three closest friends deeply, but those girls glom onto one another like puke under a toilet seat. The noise, the drama, and the differing opinions can be maddening.

Three. Learn how to cook an entire meal to perfection so I can survive on my own.

Mom bakes constantly, but she doesn’t cook. And Dad’s Thanksgivings are amazing, but most nights we get hummus and lentil chips. I want my uncle Wes to design a menu and teach me to cook from scratch.

Four. Discover a new constellation.

Dad and Jeb and I have been studying the sky since we were curled-up marsupials wrapped in Dad’s sweatshirt. Jeb enjoys stargazing because he’s a stoner. I like it because I appreciate vastness, and it’s the only thing I have in common with Dad.

As much as my friends make fun of it, my astronomy hobby helped me get Ethan last winter during a sledding party. I have a well-known weakness for team captains, and I had been eyeing Ethan since he landed that esteemed lacrosse title, beating out Lizzie’s precious Kyle. I jumped on the sled behind Ethan, and we flew into a snowdrift. I wrapped my legs around his, and broke the silence with, “Look, it’s the Big Dipper. Isn’t it cool?” He looked up, and I kissed his cheek.

I pointed out four constellations that night before he kissed me back on the lips. It tasted like beer and watermelon gum, but I had snagged Ethan, the hottest captain of them all.

Five. Rewatch all the eighties movies during a weekend marathon, preferably with Abby, since she’s the only other one willing to eat massive amounts of junk food without complaining about fatness.

Gram calls again.

“It’s just my grandmother,” I say. “She’s probably at Saks. She hates my graduation dress and won’t give up on trying to find me a better one.” I take a swig of iced chai. “Okay, I have a few more loose ends and then we can finish with something big.”

“Isn’t a road trip big enough?” Lizzie also missed out on the doomed road trip last summer, after her dad found out about a certain topless selfie. Gram says Lizzie leaves nothing to the imagination, which is pretty ironic coming from an elderly woman with a library full of VHS porn.

Six. Find a drive-in movie theater somewhere in Connecticut and watch from the car in my pajamas.

I plan to do this with my friends because Ethan will just try to bone me again.

Seven. Let Ethan try to bone me again.

The first time was a disaster. Ethan had an “accident” the second we got into his twin bed. I try not to dwell on the details, but it was gross, and his apologizing no fewer than five thousand times annoyed me so much I had to leave. Now he’s insecure and telling me it happened because I’m so pretty.

As irritating as he is sometimes, I’m staying with Ethan for now because he’s firmly in my social circle and it would take way too much energy to avoid him all summer.

Eight. Prepare for City Living.

My phone vibrates. Gram.

“God, my grandmother gets obsessive when she’s shopping.” I ignore again.

“She is so funny,” Lizzie says. “My grandma watches Wheel of Fortune and goes to Target when she needs an adventure.”

“Yeah. My grandmother gets mud wraps in remote jungles when she needs an adventure,” I say. “You should see her boyfriend, Denny. He’s my mom’s age and wears diamond rings on both pinkies.”

“I can’t stand jewelry on men,” Lizzie says.

“This guy is drippy diamond rich. Actually, Drippy is a good name for him.” I grab Lizzie’s phone. Her list is pretty conventional. Learn how to do a proper shot. Lose ten pounds.

“Lizzie, this is more like a to-do list. You’re so boring.”

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