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Us and Them

By @ZoeAmber


Friday / September 20th / 12:37 PM

I try my best to keep myself from looking over at Lillie Mason taking her books out of her locker, even though her sweet, floral perfume makes me want to inhale it enough to make me pass out.

Her reaction at lunch was priceless and I’ll be replaying it in my head all day. She tries too hard to act tough, so to throw her a curve ball and catch her off guard is a rare opportunity.

Because of our family’s contention, I am eternally doomed to constantly sneak glances at her whenever I can and nothing more. I glance over again to watch her tuck a piece of light blonde hair behind her ear and her long brown eyelashes flutter as she confirms her textbooks.

Her eyes are a crazy pale blue, almost grey. Lillie gets her eyes from her mother, Celeste. She’s the only Mason sibling without her father’s deep brown eyes, making her stand out. When we were in grade school, kids used to make fun of her pale features, like Mother Nature forgot to finish the saturation process. But I’ve always loved her eyes and how they almost act like a mirror, framing everything as if to show me how she sees the world.

As soon as Lillie walks toward chemistry class, Jonah walks up, body slams me against the lockers and slips a lettermen-jacketed arm around my neck.

“Bro, Addie’s throwin’ a huge party tonight, you’re in right?” He gives me a noogie but stops when we hear the warning bell.

“I better see you there, people are saying she hired a DJ!” He shoots me lame finger guns as I grab my chemistry book and slam my locker closed.

• • • • •

I’m sure, by now you’re at least a little curious at what possibly could have happened to pit two families against each other. And though I’m sure it can’t be the whole story, I can at least tell you what I know.

Long, long ago, my great-grandfather, William Cassidy, went into business with his most trusted companion, Henry Mason. Together, they farmed wheat and eventually grew to become very rich merchants. Henry handled the financial side of the venture and my great-grandfather, the simple, wholesome man he was, handled the production.

As the years went by, supposedly it was greed that overtook Mason, and he began making unlawful deals with bad people, nearly bankrupting the company several times. Later on down the road, Henry Mason couldn’t make the payments and was threatened to be shot if he couldn’t pay it by morning. So what did he do?

‘That ******* fled in the night like a bat outta hell’, My father would say, always interrupting at this part of the story whenever our relatives would share it with us. It was always that same line that would be soaked in spite and malice and emerge from his lips, all “t’s” sharp and jagged.

When the money launderers came looking for him, my great-grandfather put up a fight, and well, it’s safe to say it didn’t end well.

The Cassidy family immortalizes William Cassidy as a noble hero, who gave his life to try to save their business. Henry Mason, on the other hand, was labeled a traitor, was never heard from again and likely suffered a coward’s death alone.

That story has been handed down two generations and still, throughout all these years nothing has come from it but the same hate and anger. So I can see no point in doing anything but admire from afar.

Nothing more, nothing less. That’s all folks.

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  1. Kathleen Fazio

    Feb 2, 2022

    omg I love it so much! you are an amazing writer.

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    0 Replies Feb 2, 2022
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