Chasing Crazy - Kelly Siskind


After much deliberation, I’ve determined there are three official have-to-pee stages.

Stage one: Acknowledgment in the brain that liquid has been consumed and hours have passed since the bladder was relieved, but the matter isn’t urgent.

Stage one happens at the terminal when I break my cardinal flying rule: Always pee before boarding. Otherwise, I’ll have to use that tiny bathroom, banging into the walls when turbulence hits while trying not to sit on the toilet seat barely protected by the paper cover. Then there’s the awful sucking sound.

I always pee before boarding.

Unless, of course, I’m distracted by the ridiculously hot guy sitting opposite me at the boarding gate, his long legs stretched in front of him owning those dark jeans. He lounges on his faux-leather chair as he thumbs his iPhone, oblivious to the surrounding chaos. Two seats to my left some kid whines incessantly, distracting me from Hot Guy’s excessive hotness.

The young boy slams his back into his seat. “But, mu-uum, you said I could use the DS after Lisa. She’s had it for, like, ten minutes. This is so not fair.”

His mom’s exasperated voice drifts over, and I can’t help but smile. I’ve been on enough trips with my five younger siblings to know that tone all too well. Exasperated Mom is almost as dangerous as I-had-a-bad-sleep Mom, but not quite as rough as I-burned-dinner-again Mom.

Mom. Tinged with sudden guilt, I pull my phone from my purse. Still no messages. When she sees the note I left, things could go one of two ways: effusive gushing over my independence and bold decision, or they could go south fast. I worry my lip and grip my phone, expecting the thing to come to life, filling the terminal with high-pitched crying and screaming. Maybe I should have written something longer, more poignant. Something Mom and Dad could really get behind. Instead, I wrote:

I dropped out of U of T. I’m going backpacking. When I get wherever I decide to go, I’ll message you. Sorry. Don’t forget to pick Mercedes up from ballet. There are a couple of casseroles in the freezer.

Love you both.


My thumbs hover above my phone. Should I tell Mom I’m going to the other side of the world? To New Zealand? If she freaks out, I’ll likely trudge home and go back to university—the promising fresh start that pulled a Titanic first thing this morning. It took all of one minute for people to realize who I was and what I did in high school. The culprit? None other than Becca, formerly known as my best (and only) friend, who thought the share would push her up the social ladder. Like the mother of airborne viruses, my Public Speaking Incident replayed in triplicate on every cell across campus.

That’s when I snapped.

Home. Pack. Note. Leave.

When I arrived at the airport an hour ago, still high from my decision to take off, the shiny green letters spelling out New Zealand on the departure board called to me. They shone like a beacon. A lifeline. A place as far as possible from Toronto and my past. Silently thanking Gran for the generous gift she left me in her will, I bought a ticket.

Mom can wait until I land.

I stuff my phone back into my purse and rearrange the bags on either side of me, fortifying my barrier against any potential friendly people thinking they should take a seat. My gaze returns to Hot Guy.

He’s busy texting while I’m busy drooling (and, unfortunately, not peeing), as I soak in the brown curls that brush his forehead and skim his ears and a jaw Channing Tatum would covet. His thin white T-shirt settles on what appears to be a well-defined chest. Well de-fined. Hot Guy probably works out. I bet he goes to the gym and lifts weights and works out in his tank top or—oh…maybe topless, sweat dripping down the length of his neck and over his muscles.

I pluck the water from my bag and take a generous gulp.

Hot Guy laughs at his phone and looks up to catch me gawking. He smiles suggestively, curling his lip like he knows exactly what I’m picturing. My cheeks flame. With my pale skin, they’re likely the same shade of scarlet as the overused carpet I’m now studying with the intensity of a hawk. I chug more water.

Several heartbeats later, I chance a second glance. Deep brown eyes are trained on me. I contemplate diving under my seat and praying Hot Guy goes away, but that