Jacob Up the Steps

He really hadn’t wanted the evening
to go this way.
Jacob’s a people-pleaser
and he is never himself pleased
when people get upset with him
ever since he got blamed
for Sister’s sprained ankle
when they played tag
out in the street
seven years’ back.

It might go even further
back than that
but he always recalls that day
as the core incident
in his story

Jacob wishes
he could talk to April alone
without all the people crowding about
this top floor bathroom
hearing the fight.
The disagreement.
Her meltdown.
He wishes there were no witnesses.

Even Zoe is in sight,
looking, listening,
laughing on the inside.
Zoe and he have a history
under the bleachers
in the backs of borrowed cars
over stained sheets
in pre-curfew woods.
He’d hoped
he’d have a chance
to express his people-pleasing skills
with her
before leaving the party
but April saw something
and somehow got the wrong idea.

And now?
Nothing but wrong ideas.
He’d hoped for a double header
but nothing is to come of this evening
with April locked away
requiring such attention
and Zoe looking on,
seeing him
chuckling on the inside
seeking to ease April to out.

Outside the bathroom
Jacob sighs.
Inside his head,
he knows this evening has gone to shit
as he begs before a closed door.
He is not at all pleased.

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