see, no one really warns us about growing up.
they leave out things like heartbreak and gossip and broken people you could have saved but didn't.
it is this: the girl who holds her wrists and sits alone and tells me no child should ever grow up being afraid of someone who should love them. Her eyes are fierce, and something inside me is screaming but the clock ticks and the moment is past. i pretend i can't hear the pieces of her shatter as they hit the floor.
the next time we speak there are new shadows beneath her eyes and her shoulders hunch as if somehow she could fold into herself and disappear. maybe it would be better for us both if she did. but she doesn't. she can't and i can't and outside the sky is robins egg blue but inside a storm is brewing and the hallways smell of regret.
then, she is gone.
murmurs, rumors follow in her wake like dark ripples over stormy water.
she is gone, lost, taken, stolen, dead. in the halls, her name is whispered, softly, fervently, like a prayer for her safe return.
but days pass into weeks and the trees turn gold and red and explode in showers of kamikaze leaves, and still the girl with haunted eyes does not return.
time passes. people forget. soon, she is little more than the ghost of a memory, all but forgotten by those who once mourned her absence.
i pretend i forget her too.
but i can't. i don't. i won't.
because it is my fault the girl with fierce eyes and fragile hands is gone.