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Some things can only be remembered linearly, while others always seem to be recalled spatially, as though they are happening all at once, all over again.
Like the smattering of freckles of June’s face, he thinks.
The spaces between her eyes are too wide, as wide as the galaxy, sprinkled violently with stars the color of paprika. Crap, he thinks—he’s becoming a poet.
He digs his worn feet into the sidewalk with trepidation and deliberation. These old lime green Converse are from years ago, when that stupid summer camp forced all the counselors to buy these shoes. The hell? What was it with conformity anyway? And lime green? Such a worn out, adolescent choice.
As he passes by the familiar walls he absently runs his fingers along the concrete so that the roughness rubs his skin just enough to hurt a little. It terrifies him that the sky has become a derivative shade of the wall, which draws its color from the sidewalk. This box of gray is all that he has left.

“There’s so much more to life!” he had screamed in the rain. It ran down on either side of his nose, down his shirt, through his legs, and he thought he was being so filmic, so photogenic, so original and so alive—
She stared at him with those buggy blue eyes with the white flecks that looked like butterfly eggs, not saying anything—
“God, all my potential, don’t you understand? Eff it all, don’t you understand? It’s like…like…June did you guys read that story yet? Mrs. Johnson always teaches it”—
His chest was heaving up and down and her eyes were wide—
He didn’t know what he was talking about—
“And the man, the bald one, you know, he talks about how his society is containing his soul and he wants to use it all, it’s such a beautiful statement…June, don’t you know about it? God, June, you’re so stupid”—
“And what happened to him?”—
“Well, he committed suicide I think”—
In the breach of silence that followed she dropped those fateful words like clear pebbles on the ground, so distinct, so broken, so discordantly beautiful—
“I think we should go home now.”
Oh, those seven words, seven deadly sins!—Go home? Go home? He could have slapped her right then if her lower lip hadn’t trembled, if her blue eyes hadn’t bugged out just a little bit more—
He tilted his face up to the rain and let it soak into his being just a little bit more—
He wanted the water to frame his edges, give his existence a touch of definition—
He had once acted out a deer in charades, but he hadn’t expected those two swift and glaring orbs to reach out of the grayness all at once and all together—
It felt, he remembers now, a bit like implosion.

The procession is on Tuesday and Mom picks out a good garb for Ennis. She gets it especially tailored for those broad shoulders; so manly, so stiff and stubborn, like masts in the storm.
“Be strong, darling,” she tells him in his room, but they both know that any words between them are always more for her than for him.
In the back rows of the pews he laces up his green Converses and tucks the black Oxfords into a Bible slot. He looks straight ahead and feels the crucifixion of his heart inside. The guilt rises like a living mop of swamp water and embraces him in horribly caustic arms.
They didn’t even love her that much. They had pushed all of their broken glass aspirations onto his broad shoulders. She was just an accident, a butterfly born out of gray confusion, too beautiful and sweet for her own good; a strawberry sundae in a family of one-scoop vanilla cups.
Serves her right, he’s sure they’re thinking. What was she doing, loving them? Who the hell gave her the right to love them back? He grips the pew in front of him with great intensity.
A grizzly man with the breath of a sewage pipe finds him afterwards, says “Ennis, my boy, you tried your best God blessyouGodlovesyouverymuch”—
Aunt Verona with her fire truck red lipstick eats him with her words because he’s “been such a good brotherwhatabeautifulbrotheryou’vebeen”—
And Mom and Dad just hold each others hands, they don’t cry, Dad smoothes Ennis’ hair and says nothing, just chews on the concrete sky with his gray, distant eyes.




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