Knitting Under the Influence

Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik

Book: Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claire LaZebnik
earn a living.”
    “I still say he's kind of a loser. I mean, compared to what he was like in high school.”
    “Still good-looking, though. Even better-looking, actually.”
    “So why not go for it?” Lucy asked. “I mean, he's good-looking and available and you think he's interested. And he's definitely a huge step up from Jeff.”
    “He's an asshole, Lucy. Remember?”
    “I didn't say you should marry the guy.”
    “Did we decide to stop having standards in our love lives?”
    Sari asked, hugging her knees to her chest. “Because I didn't get that memo.”
    “It's not about standards,” Lucy said. “It's about having fun. The guy's good-looking, right?”
    “What he and his friends did to Charlie—almost on a daily basis—” She couldn't even finish the sentence.
    “All right then,” Lucy said after a moment. “So let's remember that. That he was an asshole and worse to Charlie. So here's my super-brilliant idea: you sleep with him and break his heart afterward.”
    “Oh, please—” Sari said, but Lucy didn't let her finish.
    “I’m serious. You make him fall in love with you and when he's good and overwhelmed and madly in love with you— because I think any guy would be if you gave him half a chance—you tell him you remember everything, and you tear his heart right out of his body and you leave him open and bleeding on the floor.”
    “That's a beautiful thought.”
    “It is, isn't it?” Lucy said without a trace of sarcasm. She put down her knitting and took a big gulp of her Manhattan, then gestured with the glass. A few drops flew out and onto her quilt. “You get it all then, Sari. You get to sleep with the best-looking guy who ever went to our high school and you get revenge for everything you and Charlie ever suffered. Tell me you wouldn't have dreamed about that ten years ago. Tell me that isn't everything you ever wanted.”
    Sari lay in bed that night, thinking about what Lucy had said, wondering if she could really do that—sleep with Jason Smith and then break his heart.
    All her life she had tried to make up in some way for everything Charlie had suffered. The struggles he'd had just to communicate. The loneliness he must have felt when kids wouldn't sit next to him on the bus. The times he tried to smile at someone or worked hard just to say hello and only got a “What's your problem, retard?” in response.
    Every choice she had made as an adult was about Charlie. And, in a weird way, about Jason Smith and all the Jason Smiths who had ever shoved Charlie or laughed at him or made Sari hate her own brother for letting himself be made fun of.
    She once got so angry at him for always letting them humiliate him that she went after him herself—hit him as hard as she could, clawed at him with her fingernails, screamed at him that he had ruined her life by being autistic. She could remember him backing away from her, terrified, even though he was twice her size. All that night, she couldn't sleep, sick with shame and self-loathing. In the end, she had crawled into bed with him, hugging him and crying, hugging him and crying.
    Her anger and her guilt—all the fault of Jason Smith and his friends.
    She lay in bed now and wondered: would there truly be any comfort in revenge?
    And immediately knew the answer. Of course there would.
Of course there would.

I
    S ign me up,” Kathleen said. “It's perfect.” She hoisted herself, ass first, onto the edge of Lucy's kitchen table and sat there, long bare legs dangling—she was wearing shorts, a tank top, and flip-flops, even though it was a fairly cool October morning. “Tomorrow at work, I’ll ask Kevin to sponsor me for Sari's autism walk, and then I’ll try to get him to ask to come with me, and he probably will, but even if he doesn't, it'll still make me look all noble and caring.”
    “How gullible
is
this guy?” Lucy asked. “And get off my table. You'll break it.”
    Kathleen jumped down. “I need to jump-start this

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