Red ink bleeds into soapsuds, candy-pink bubbles spiral upwards to a milky sky. Best of lucks, scrawled in sketch pen, don't last till the exams. Hollow words from hollow hearts.

"Come on, write something."


Fuck you, bitch, glad you're out of my life now. Unsaid.

Best of luck to a very sweet girl. Written.

Seven years of mutual contempt. Muttered asides in the corridors, tinkling laughter when the name comes up and the shrug of, "Oh well, she's an interesting character, I suppose…" Culminating in a thumb-blurred photograph taken a shaking hand, the lines of a poem in elegantly looping letters over a diary. Best of luck. Bye. Hugs, smiles, tears.

I hope you're mowed down by a chainsaw.

I hope you're gang-raped and left to die in a ditch.

It looks good, the only thing neatly hung up in your closet and not flung in a blaze of bright fabric on the tiles. Little yellow daisies zigzagging in a heart-shape all over the sleeves. Benedictions, one-liners, advice, stick-men splattered in black, blue, green, red ink. It manages to convey the giddying thoughtless thoughtfulness of the last day of school, when the world was still your oyster and your sword was glittery and pink.

How odd. You sit on the floor, the remnants of a love that seemed to last a lifetime, spilling around you. You sit, typing dis is ovr with numb fingers to someone who mattered once. How odd it seems that you were fifteen once and in love.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet,

And so are you!

All around it are smudged, black XOXOXOs but those nursery lines still shine bright and clear – and almost obscenely purple. After all these years.

"I wonder if they'll ever put on those shirts again."

"That would be kind of cool… you know if they all came to the reunion fifty years later and…"

"They'd be too fat to put them on then."

Who wrote this and who wrote that? Where's that diary you kept everyone's numbers in? Do the numbers even work now? The shirt still fits (well if you use a lot of imagination) and you're the same height but… there's something different. Thin lines, barely discernable in some lights, that fan out even after nightly application of Pond's Aging Cream. A web of fat that settles around your midsection with a stolid sense of belonging. Just like the baby in the next room.

Words lace like multi-colored ribbons over the fabric, swirling out from little paint-blot birds and flowers.

You don't know the girl in the white shirt – paint-splattered, ink-marred – that looks so like the one that once hung in your closet. Neatly hung, crisply ironed. She awakens a chain of memories of another girl with hair as long, as smoothly, silkily black. A girl once, perhaps a bent, little old woman with hair as white as the New England snow that flakes softly downwards, even now. Maybe even ashes, scattered to the four winds. Floating in an infinity of nothingness.

You smile a little. Maybe, just maybe…