My whole body shook with the tremendous effort of trying to breathe. I flattened my palms to the concrete in front of me in an attempt to brace myself, heaving in one rain-saturated breath after the other.
“Oh my God.” Harriet’s voice punched out the words as if they were burning her mouth, like she had to spit them out before they could singe her taste-buds.
I didn’t look at her, or notice her tear-streaked face. I didn’t pay attention to the trembling in her voice, or the way she locked her fingers together, twisting them around trying to figure out what to say next.
“Oh my God,” she coughed again, followed by a sharp intake of air, like she didn’t really mean to say anything at all.
“Oh my God.”
I slapped my hands hard on the concrete, splashing the puddle that was forming around them.
“Stop saying ‘Oh my God’,” Harriet jumped at the sound of my voice. “Say something… Say anything that isn’t ‘Oh my God’!”
The small brunette stumbled as she stepped backwards onto the grass. She wiped her face furiously, brushing away the soaked hair that had matted to her forehead.
“I can’t, Luke,” her voice was thick with the tears she was holding at bay. “I just… Oh my God.”
She turned on her toes and vaulted over the no-longer-white picket fence of her house. Launching into a sprint Harriet disappeared into the stormy night.
“Harriet!” I called after her, leaping to my feet.