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Sidewalk Chalk

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For at least two hours, we sat on my driveway with a box of sidewalk chalk.
We sat there and scribbled, in reds and yellows and whites and greens and blues and oranges - in pastel shades of every color imaginable. We covered the entire stretch to my house with words and only the finest of them, until the sun began to slowly dip behind the horizon. Now, we're standing at the edge where concrete meets blacktop, with your elbow on my shoulder and your hand on your hip, and we're admiring our work.

They're quotes - all of them, quotes, from mostly our beloved late literary stars.

"I think it's grand," you say simply, tilting your head to the side. "Sassy."

"Oh, I agree. I think people all over town should make special trips just to drive by and gawk at it."

"I don't think there'd be much gawking."

"I'd be gawking."

And we're quiet for a second as the wind caries on the conversation, lifting all the words we've ever spoken, all the words we'll ever speak, up past the clouds and far far away, and I wonder if that's why they say the wind whispers. I wonder if all that so-called whispering, all the voices heard by the nature gurus and the especially intuitive are really just carried on conversations from somewhere far away, if we're all just unknowing eavesdroppers.

"Of course you would be." And then you skip a few steps forward, twirling and twirling towards my driveway, and this is how I want to remember you forever, hopping over Kafka and landing in Fitzgerald, skipping through Vonnegut and spiraling between Huxley and Neruda, over Dickinson and around Nabokov. I go dancing after you then, and a part of me hopes that these things are eternal. A part of me hopes that by spinning barefoot through the beautiful wisdom of the geniuses before us, their words somehow become absorbed through the soles of our feet. That they're somehow now a piece of us, and that through this we'll always be connected, through this we'll always have some sort of guidance, even after the rain has come and washed the pavement clean and the world is bleak and grey again.

"I hope someone stops to read it," you say, spinning slowly around and around with your face tilted back and your palms outstretched to the sky. "All of it. I think they'll be astonished at our wisdom. They'll think we're so deep. They'll drive past your house, and they'll say 'wow, look at all those quotes. Look at all that Nabokov. He's so deep. Some deep people must really live there!' and they'll just be amazed. They'll be so, so amazed."

"And they'll totally know who Nabokov is, too, won't they?" I smirk at you, and you stop spinning and stare at me, hazel eyes mock-serious.

"Nabokov is forever, Sydney," you say flatly. "Humbert Humbert is forever. Child molesters are forever." And then the facade breaks and you're smiling and spinning again.

This is how I want to remember you forever, dancing around my driveway, hopping over Kafka and landing in Fitzgerald. I grin to myself, because this is how we were meant to be, skipping through Vonnegut and spiraling past Huxley. "Wanted, wanted, Dolores Haze?"

The response is instantaneous. You almost scream it. "Hair brown, lips scarlet!"

"Age: five thousand, three hundred days!"

"Profession: none, or starlet!"

And now we're both laughing, twirling through Dickinson and grazing Neruda.

"I hope someone stops to read it," you say simply, after a while.

"Me too," I say, and you rest your elbow on my shoulder again, staring down at the smudged lines of poetry and the bleeding pastel prose, as the sun sinks past the horizon and your bike rests against my garage door. "Me too."

That is how I will remember us forever, for that is the way youth was meant to be.





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