Third Wheel

My attempt for day 26 of the 2011 April PAD Challenge.

Driving to the mall, alone
in the front seat, his best friend
with the boy in back. They laugh
at inside jokes he can’t understand
as he waits for the green light,
for an opportunity to join
his best friend again, but minutes pass–
he’s already in the lot.

Close behind he follows her
as she listens to the boy’s
comedy routine. He laughs along,
stammers when they pass the Apple Store,
the one place he’d hoped to go.
Neither slow. Instead, the boy
cracks a joke about his speech. She
laughs again. He follows closely behind.

Three hours later, his opportunity–
her alone with him. She reaches
into her back pocket and pulls
out her phone and texts a friend of hers.
Minutes pass–he blurts out the
only words he knows. The two
she’s already heard too often. She
smiles, runs as the restroom door
opens, hugs the other boy. His
nemesis. Her friend. Best friend.


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