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Promise

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It had been a long time since she had been to the corner. A year, in fact. One long year. Boy, how time had passed.

She stood there, leaning against the rusted road sign. A thin cigarette dangled between her fingers. Her eyes never left the building in front of her. It looked as if it hadn’t changed since the day she first stepped through the doors. It still held the same hallways, the same books, the same people as a year ago. It still lived in the happy past.

“I thought you quit.”

She didn’t make any sudden movements acknowledging him. She merely let her eyes glance at him. His hands were jammed deep inside his jean pockets.
He pulled the hood down from his head, allowing his dark curls to blow in the brisk wind. He looked at her with the same look in her eyes from back then, serious and unnerving.

“I had made a deal with her,” she replied, looking back at the school. “If we were going to survive this hell without it, we’d do it together.” She brought the cigarette to her lips and took a long drag, before slowly puffing it out. “But she broke that promise.”

His face didn’t move, but she could tell he was frowning on the inside. “How do you know she’s not keeping the promise up there?” It was just like him, persistent and even a bit silly.

A laugh escaped her lips, bitter and humorless, mixing with the smoke from the cigarette. “Life’s probably so good up there, you don’t need to this crap.”

The silence that followed was anything but relaxing. It reminded him of the silences they spent when they were younger, and how natural they had felt. It reminded her how empty her life was becoming with everyone leaving her.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve been here,” she suddenly pointed out.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve hung out,” he immediately replied.

“A year,” she said. She knew what the year meant, and so did he. It was the only reason why they were both there. “I have to go,” she told him, mostly to avoid another inevitable silence. “I’ll be seeing you around.”

“I’ll be here,” came his reply.

He watched as she dropped the cigarette and flattened it with her shoe. Her eyes were locked on the crushed cigarette as she asked, “Promise?”

“Promise,” he said, and he wasn’t going to let her down.





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