Thursday 29 September 2022

The Closet by Imani Felder, Cinnamon Dolce


Iliana’s knees bounced against the fluffy carpet of Marcus’ living room. Surrounded by classmates and acquaintances she more often than not just avoided in the halls at school. Yet, here she was, shoulder to shoulder as the empty coke bottle that she spun, turning in the center of the circle. As it slowed, it landed on Kennie Doheny dance prodigy and the princess of the school. It was already a surprise she even showed up, normally she was preparing for a performance or being pranced around by her mother to potential schools.

The slow and hesitant smile on her powdery pink lips only prompted a few ‘oohs’ and ‘ahh’s’ from the group however, Iliana, was frowning. Her dark eyes followed as Kennie stood up and swayed her hips to the closet. As the group was whooping and cheering, Iliana brushed her thick, black hair behind her ear roughly before stomping her way to the closet.

Marcus, as the host of the party, came up to the door right behind them with a wide smile. “You’ve got seven minutes ladies, please enjoy yourselves.” Then the door was shut, and the click of the lock had Iliana sinking into the wall of coats with a harsh blow of air.

Even in the darkness of the room, the silhouettes could be seen of each other from the light streaming in under the door. “This is truly the last place I want to be,” Kennie said suddenly, her solemn voice cutting through the stale air.

Iliana rolled her eyes and sunk to the ground, “Then please leave, I might be able to enjoy myself if you weren’t here.” 

“Iliana, you know that’s not what I meant. Must you always be so difficult and defensive?” Kennie exclaimed, her sharp voice making Iliana cover her ears with a huff.

“Please, Kennie, spare me the lecture. You don’t even know me. We had one stupid group project and now you’re the professor on my personality?”

“It wasn’t just a stupid group project but if you want to be a bitch about the whole thing, then fine! It’s not my fault you are some self-absorbed freak.”

Iliana looked over at the girl hard. Her eyes pierced through the darkness at her figure as if it would make her image clearer. How could she say that? How could she -

“Oh, I’m the freak now?” Iliana said through gritted teeth. “You were the one afraid someone would see us and yet I still let you kiss me like a lab project. But I’m the freak, right?

Kennie crossed her arms across her chest and Iliana watched as the girl shifted her weight from foot to foot. When Kennie didn’t speak, Iliana chuckled under her breath, scratching her chin.

“If this is truly the last place you want to be, why are you still here? Why tell me it wasn’t a stupid group project but act like I don’t exist?” Question after question tumbled out of Iliana’s mouth before she could even think about it. But it could be also due to what had been bothering her since that day. She had never even kissed a girl before, or well anyone for that fact. But Kennie suggested it and she allowed it, and now tonight is the first time she even spoke to her again. The feelings in Iliana’s gut made her wrap her arms around her stomach.

“Iliana, I just – “But the door was opening, cutting Kennie off mid-sentence, and blinding the two girls with the now bright lights of the living room. Biting her lip, Iliana stood swiftly and pushed past Marcus, her boots stomping all the way to the kitchen.

She didn’t even know where she was going, she just knew anywhere but that suffocating closet and that suffocating girl with her flowery perfume and soft pink lips. Hands pressed against the counter, Iliana closed her eyes for a moment and let out a shaky breath.

But the clicking of heels made her snap her head up and just as she was turning, soft pink lips pressed against hers. Iliana’s eyes looked down at Kennie in shock who stared up at her with a look she couldn’t quite place.

“It was truly the last place I wanted to be because every time I’m too close to you now, I want to kiss you. Is that bad?”

Iliana swallowed hard, shaking her head, “I don’t know, but I also wouldn’t mind if you did it again.”

Kennie smiled, this time wide and with a scrunch of her nose before she was leaning up again and kissed her, this time holding her close as she did so.







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