middle
by alejandra medina

for us, on olympic & vermont

 

I think of us often. The epitome of youth in the foreground of a gas station, clustered right at the bus stop: this was our place. We would cling to childhoods spent playing make-believe, this here our last game, this here the last place we played pretend. We thought we were women even though we hadn’t reached adulthood quite yet. We huddled close, a single body of individuals all clumsy-limbed, baby-faced, clad in uniforms; disheveled. We were wild, moving our bodies to the rhythm of the kaleidoscope shadows dancing in the palms of our hands, golden hour approaching. Sunlight filtered through the tree leaves above us. Clouds decorated our heads. We were loud enough to drown out the city, lights and sounds a blur around us like ocean waves around rocks rooted amidst the tumble, trying to chisel us to sand.


 

We’d pull petals off of wildflowers as a means to ease hearts aching after the boys avoided us in the halls, ignored the blushing, tenderhearted joy of our I like you’s shouted across streets, first sparks of love burnt out cold, nothing but smoke—boys always kill the prettiest things. Even the sun wished to leave, changing the color of the clouds like a countdown, traffic light blinking us closer to the sidewalk’s end. Still, we scattered ampersands like dice on the dirt floor and braided semicolons into our sentences because we refused to part ways. The bus would come, we’d always wait for the next. Maybe we knew, deep in our blooming consciousness, that we were like dandelions—once we came undone, we’d never come together again. Beautiful girls, I think of us often, every time I walk past our place. 


 

It’s quiet here now;

nothing but tree leaves learning

to scatter in wind.