Color Me In

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I still remember. I can't forget.

The final texts are burned into my brain.

You're a loser. Get over yourself!

What makes you think any of that's going to happen? I mean, seriously.

Leave me alone. You're trying to hold me back!

I remember more than that, though.

She used to laugh at my jokes. The look she always gave me when I was trying to make a pun. When we would watch the boys when we were in high school and we'd discuss whether we'd rather red hair or brown eyes. Nights she'd stay over and we'd pig out on pizza, candy, and soda while we watched old episodes of Kim Possible.

It wasn't all that long ago. The last time she stayed over was last month. I remember her telling me about where she wanted to move now that we were free from school.

"I want to go to Austin, Texas," she whispered.

"Why Austin?" I asked.

"Because, there, I'd be in Texas and I wouldn't have to go far to be able to see the stars at night." She looked at me. "What about you?"

I smiled into the semi-darkness my room usually stayed at night. "Boulder, Colorado. I'll be able to see the mountains."

She chuckled softly. "You and your John Denver obsession."

"I'm not obsessed! I genuinely love the mountains."


"And the cold. And the snow."

"Well, you'll have to if you ever move there."

That night, we fell asleep imagining where we wanted to be. It didn't bother me that we wanted to be in two different states. For us, distance was only in miles. We were best friends. We were always going to be close in the ways that mattered.

At least, that's what I thought.

I also thought I mattered to her.

It's your fault.

You need to let go.

Stop acting like a know-it-all!

"Order number 302!" I call out, setting a tray on the counter. A smiling dad comes up to the counter as I recite his order. His kids peer at me over the edge and I grin at them. As he walks away, I turn around and walk to the supply room, getting ready to restock my area. The whole time I work, I can't hear anything over the echo of her words. Not the pop song playing or my own humming.

At the end of my shift, I sigh as I leave. I have hot sauce on me after someone stepped on a packet, and I'm thoroughly exhausted. Taco Bell was my first job offer after leaving school, so I jumped at it, not taking into account the long hours I'd have to work all day. Or the manager scolding me for not making a certain item correctly even though I've been there for two months and have mostly mastered every part of the job. I also didn't think about how much I'd lose my taste for their food after working there.

My parents are waiting up for me when I get home, even though it's well past midnight, closing in on one in the morning. I hug them and soon after go to my room. It's the only place I feel my most comfortable. In here, there's no one on me about what I'm doing wrong, or telling me stuff I want to forget.

When Hailey and I had our last argument and I deleted her from my phone, she left. She went to Austin. When I asked her how she was going to take care of herself, she told me she'd work. Like that was all there was to it. I asked her where and she said, "Anywhere. It doesn't really matter, now does it?"

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