“I still like you. I don’t want you gone.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“I don’t want to see you hurt. I want to see you feeling great…”
“Life just constantly feels like shit.”


8. 12/18/16

There is a large cart in the music hallway.

So large that it will not fit through any of the doors in the school.

The sizable wheels are what disable its movement.

One side is folded upright, two wheels protruding into the walkway.

Noah spins a wheel as we wait for the band to take the stage.

“So Grace, you said you needed to talk to me about something?”

I nod my head, unable to form words.


Noah’s nails scrape and slow the wheel.

He spins it again.

“Can you at least give me a general topic?”


I love you Noah.

He runs his fingers back through his long hair, I can see the worry in his eyebrows.
“Can you please tell me, I feel like someone’s reputation is at risk.”

I shift my weight from my right leg to my left.

“I know I said I couldn’t say it over snapchat but I can’t bring myself to say it in real life either.”

The soles of my feet ache in my only nice black shoes, cheap moccasins from eighth grade.

“Grace, are you saying you want a relationship with me or...?”

“I guess, yeah.”

He looks at the ground as I grow dizzy.

“I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry, Grace. This is my fault. I shouldn’t have made a move on you so soon after Nygaard. And your birthday party, I’m sorry about that too.”

My eyes well with tears, the florescent lights blurring together.

“It’s not your fault, really, it’s mine. I went into this knowing you didn’t want a relationship.”


His crumpled blue jeans are pressed against my concert attire black pants.

I melt into his arms.

Into the smell of his deodorant.

Into the thrift store must of his shirt.

Into the freckles on his neck.


Bb C D Eb F G A Bb A G F Eb D C Bb

We pull apart.

“Is that the band?”

Noah looks at me with worried eyes.

We run down the hallway to the gym.

Surely enough, we’re late.

Another girl looks at me.

“Are you late for band too? At least I’m not the only one.”

Noah goes to the side hallway, walking through the boys locker room into the gym, behind the band’s temporary stage.

Rheannan and I rush to our places.

I blend in much more easily, standing on the floor next to my marimba.


Noah weaves in and out of my eyesight during tear down.

I’m rolling pianos around as he’s moving chairs back to storage.

Seven o’clock and the school is clean again.

Or at least as clean as it was before we started.

Noah eats ice cream from a styrofoam cup with a plastic fork.

Mr. B and the low brass section sit with us.

“When I was in college I took this weird US history class…”

Noah is looking at Mr. B, his wide lipped smile around a forkful of mint chocolate chip.

I don’t know how I got so lucky to have this boy as my best friend.

He looks over at me as I’m looking at him. He raises his eyebrows.

“Can you give me a ride home?”

“Of course, Grace.”


I’m hopelessly lost but I don't care.

It’s impossible not to sing this song.

Not even Noah, afraid to sing in church, can resist Queen.

He turns the volume back down.

You’re listening to 104.1, Jack FM. Playing what we want.

“Do you still wanna do stuff tonight?”

I blush and smile sheepishly.



I’d had sex before.

Twice actually.

But in reality, he’s the one I gave myself to.

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