I remember Audrey ripped that rusty old Polaroid camera away from me. She was annoyed with me incessant photo king, so she did it right back at me. I understood her at that moment. I don’t really like it when people take pictures of me either. I kinda like this one, though. I was happy that summer, blissfully unaware of all the shit that was gonna hit the fan that school year.
His name was Drew, and I was in love with him. I remember he used to tease me a lot in class and I’d tease him right back. We started going out shortly after. He was like two years older and an incredibly bad influence, but I don’t care what anyone said. He was my precious Drew. Sure, he cheated on me, repeatedly, and he stole cash from my wallet, from time to time, but I just couldn’t bring myself to end it with him. Something about being around him made me feel special, feel alive.
It was in Jenny’s basement when I lost it. Jenny yelled at me, “Ana wake up!” I remember her face hovering over mine in slow motion with a tunnelled effect in her voice. I couldn’t understand why everything felt so urgent. I wish I could have moved in that moment, but I couldn’t. It was as if my head wanted to spring up and run away, but my body wouldn’t let it. I woke up in the hospital three hours later. Drew was in jail.
I look so innocent here, though. I wish I had that again.
Story by Susana Obando
Three seats back and one to the left. When we had the class last period the sun would shine in and reflect off her curls, making them a richer gold.
Sometimes on the way home I’d see her out my rearview mirror, walking on the sidewalk and smoking a cigarette. I wanted to ask if she needed a ride, but I guess I just never did. Even in the winter, there she’d be, walking home and smoking a cigarette.
I can’t tell you why I was so intrigued by this girl. I can’t tell you why I never talked to her. I can tell you it wasn’t simply because I was male and she was female. There was something about her mannerisms. Something about the way her ears stuck out from behind those curls.
We had this creative writing project once where the teacher took all of our pictures. She mixed them all up and we had to pick out one and write about positive features of the person in the picture. It was a bit of a writing assignment and a bit of a confidence workshop. I had to write about a boy Carl and his lovely red hair. We had to keep the pictures of ourselves to remember our self worth.
A couple days later I saw something on the ground outside the school. I hardly believed it when I saw her squinty eyes looking back at me, and those ears sticking out from behind those curls. I took the picture home with me, deciding I’d return it to her the next day. Of course I couldn’t and I didn’t.
A month went by and I heard the news. It led to school assemblies and public speakers, informing us of the signs and statistics we already knew.
On my drive home I couldn’t get myself to glance back. When I got home I took the picture from my drawer and hung it in my rearview mirror. It was nice to see her face. I had only ever seen her from three seats back and one to the left.
Story by Jamie Groele