Laura and I went to the freeway after school because we both didn’t like going home.
We sat on the cool sidewalk and swung our legs through the guard rails, sharing one iPod that blasted The Smashing Pumpkins on repeat.
Sometimes we’d make plans for an important event, like the egging of the house of Dwayne, this popular kid we both hated, or maybe secretly liked, because that was the only way we knew how to get his attention. Or we’d arch our backs, raise our straws, and shoot tapioca bullets into the cars below, into the blurs and the streaks, the things we couldn’t reach.
But mostly we just sat there and doodled things, trinkets and cartoon characters and the things we wanted, like a new skateboard or book or an apartment in the city.
“Someday we’ll move out of this town,” I said once, “and be extraordinary.”
Laura grinned, showing the hunger in her eyes that only I got to see.
Four years later, I would read about her on the news. I was a senior in college by then, buried in the back of the library, cramming for exams.
We hadn’t spoken in a while.
I reread the article to make sure it was her. When I was certain, my hands flew to my mouth.
Then I closed the article, turned up my iPod, and went back to work.
Millie’s Note: I was obsessed with The Smashing Pumpkins during high school and spent the money I earned writing for a local newspaper (my first ever job!) acquiring the entire discography. I went to random used CD shops to find the compilation albums and box sets I couldn’t find in stores, and once sat on a waiting list for ~7 weeks to buy a used version of Pisces Iscariot. I wrote this flash fiction story when I found Siamese Dream while moving my stuff. Good times!