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Memories of a Schoolgirl

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I remember when we danced over deadlines and waded in philosophy in the river after school. One day, you said, you'd find the meaning of life, even if it meant nothing to your own. You were incredible at saying things that lit sparks in my eyes.

I remember when we cut school. We avoided the bus-stop and met on the bridge, and spent our days bringing new life to a long-dead town. We played pinball at the laundromat and bought neon nail polish from the dollar store, and that was the best fun we had.

I remember when grimy men whistled at you as we jaywalked over downtown side-streets. You liked to think they were whistling at me, but I have always been the other friend and you had a dainty face. You were really the prettiest girl in the school but you kept your eyes cold to ward off the hot-blooded. It worked.

I remember when we spent summer days on the corner of Oak Street and Corrigan Way. We waited for hours until the ice cream truck came whistling around the intersection, and as it stopped, we gathered change for two scoops of cookie dough, in two separate bowls. It was sweet and expected with dull notes of frost, and some days we let it melt in the sun because we were so thirsty.

I remember when you laughed through trauma and scoffed at my outstretched hand. I told myself you’d be okay, and at some point, decided you were, even though you started cutting school without me and spending afternoons and summers inside. I changed my definition of okay for you, but I knew it didn’t help.

I remember when you said river water was too dirty to stand in, and that life was meaningless. It was a Thursday at 4:19 pm. That moment will always be the one when you stopped being okay, and when I ran out of ink to rewrite its definition. I haven’t heard from you in years, and I haven’t stopped to listen. I just hope you’re happy, even though you’re not okay.

I remember when we—when you—were.



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