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A Needed Converstation This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“So what’s it like?” I asked.
“I’m not allowed to tell you that,” Marcus responded.
“Ah come on, really? Why not?”
“’Cause I’m not, and I could get in more trouble than I can describe if I told you.”
“With who?”
“I’ve said too much already.”
“You’re avoiding the question.”
“Because I’m not allowed to answer it.”
Marcus turned around and faced me and started walking backwards down the hallway. It was a dark, rainy day, and most people had already left the school for the night, save for a few kids in the detention room, which we tried our hardest to avoid lest they think we’d somehow escaped.
“Look, man,” Marcus started, “I don’t know when I’m gonna get to see you again, if ever, so maybe you should ask me for explanation I can provide. Or, hell, let’s just do what we always do.”
“B**** about movies?” I asked, “Yeah, at the risk of spontaneously becoming a teacher, I somehow feel like there are more constructive things we could do with our time.”
“Fair enough.”
“How long you have anyway?”

Marcus paused a moment, and said, “Not much longer.” He stopped walking and leaned against a locker, looking down the tile floor and putting a hand on the back of his head. He looked like he was about to say something, but didn’t.

“You wish your parents were here, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yeah, yeah I do,” He sighed, and then said, “Look, don’t”-

“Don’t worry about it,” I cut him off, “There are definitely better companions for something like this then me, I get that.”

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s true. I mean I just happened to… happen upon you.”

“How poetic,” He smiled.

We kept walking. Not much longer till we reached the lobby.

“So have I missed anything big?” He asked hopefully.

“Not really.”

“Seriously? I’m gone a whole year and nothing changes? That is truly disappointing.”

“Do you want me to lie?” I asked sarcastically, “’Cause if you do I can tell you that Ms. Sharp got pregnant with a student’s kid, or that, uh, Rob Donnowitz got kicked out for trying to sell pot to a janitor…”
“Okay, smartass, I get the idea,” Marcus cut me off.

We both stopped walking again, directly in front of the glass container in the lobby.

“So this is it?” I asked.

“Yeah, yeah it is,” Marcus said somberly.

“Are you happy where you are? I mean, am I allowed to ask that?”

“Yeah, I’m happy,” he replied with a grin.

“Then why’d you come back?”

“I guess they realized I needed to stretch my legs, tie up some loose ends, you know. And no, I’m not allowed to tell you who they are.”

I laughed, and then said, “Good.”

“Alright, I gotta go. Just promise me one thing.”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t ever change.”

“No problem,” I said, smiling slightly.

Marcus looked into the glass case and then he faded away. I walked up to the case, looked inside, and read the gold placket I walked by every day:

Dedicated to those who lost their lives in the bus crash on April 23, 2012.

One year anniversary. I walked out the door and into the parking lot where my best friend’s blood was spilled one year ago.

‘He didn’t deserve it,’ I thought to myself, ‘But he says he’s happy, and he deserves that.'



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