Other Breakable Things by Kelley York, Kelley York and Rowan Altwood, Rowan Atwood
According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.
Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.
Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.
And now it is.
Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.
And she’s not giving up so easily.
A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.
Right down to the thousandth paper crane.
I spent the drive trying to play out what to say, how to stand, how to act, anticipating what to expect when I see her.
Thankfully, it isn’t her mom or grandma who answers the door. It’s Evelyn herself. For every inch of her that’s changed in some way, I would have instantly recognized her anywhere without a second glance. She’s…grown into herself, almost. Taller, sure. Curvy. But she looks less like the awkward, frizzy-haired outcast and more like—I don’t know. Soft and beautiful in her pajamas with a hole in her sock and I can’t look away because holy hell, it strikes me just how gorgeous she is and how much I’ve missed her.
Her brown eyes widen the instant they land on me, and I can only imagine what she’s thinking. I look different, too. Taller, skinnier. Unhealthily so. Without thinking, I nervously say, “Looks like you took all my weight.”
That…probably could’ve come out better.
Evelyn’s face twists into an expression that is all too familiar. Unimpressed and unamused, and yet…unsurprised. She purses her lips. “Mm-hmm. I’m going to close the door and let you try that again.”
She shuts the door. I exhale heavily through my nose and roll my gaze skyward. This was a terrible idea. But I’m here, so…I knock again. This time when Evelyn answers, I try a simple, “Hello.”
Now her expression is torn somewhere between pained and sad and hopeful. I kind of want to grab her cheeks and pull them into a smile. Suits her better. But we just stand there, staring at each other, at a loss for what to say, like three years has robbed us of all our words.
Evelyn finally steps outside, shuts the door behind her, and folds her arms, trying to look more relaxed than I suspect she really is as her gaze roams over me. “I did take all your weight.”
Not that I was ever well built or that Evelyn has turned into a whale, but… “You look good.”
“Good to see you, too,” she says. “What are you doing here?”
I mirror her posture of crossing my arms over my chest. It’s a defensive stance, but whatever. “You left me a bird. And I could ask you the same thing.” Probably could’ve sounded less accusing there.
“I live here.”
“You used to.”
“I used to, and I do now.” Her shoulders lift and fall, head dipping so she can stare at her feet. “Is that why you came over? To find out why I’m back?”
“Maybe,” I respond, because I don’t know what else to say. Admit I have no idea what I expected when I showed up here? I’d prefer to at least pretend to know what I’m doing.
She squints. More awkward silence. “I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“No, you haven’t.” Guilt edges into my voice. I could tell her why I didn’t write—awkwardness, health issues, uncertainty—but again, that’s not my style. It opens the floodgates for too many questions I don’t know how to answer.
Kelley York and Rowan Altwood are a wife and wife writing team living in central California with their daughter and way too many cats. Kelley is the author of Hushed, Made of Stars, and Modern Monsters, and Other Breakable Things is Rowan’s debut.