genevieve's letter

Hey Chet,

Oklahoma is strange without you. Remember that old car lot between Fifth and Third? It's still there; but some kids from high school must have scrounged up some spray paint, because it's littered with the oddest graffiti I've ever seen. Some sort of pattern of numbers and square shapes. I think it's code. They're probably on a hunt for some buried Australian gold. Wouldn't that be nice? You should come back, and we'll join them.

I keep remembering when we were kids, and we'd go down to the creek next to your house because Mom wouldn't want me at home for a while. You'd try to catch those little silvery fish, and I'd stay on the bank to make mud pies. I've always been afraid of fish; you've always hated mud. We make a good team. I guess. I mean, I know we do, but I don't suppose that fish and mud are the key aspects of our fantastic teamwork. Relationship. You're my best friend, Chet. I mean, you knew that, of course. But you are. I thought I'd say so again.

Remember when we were twelve, and you concocted a ridiculous plan to steal ol' Mr. O'Malley's yellow airplane? We were going to paint three red stripes across it and take to the skies. You said you'd fly me to Paris, because my mom always used to tell me it was the most elegant city on our planet. Then, you said, we'd take to outer space to find the most elegant city outside our planet. I still have a drawing of the map we made. It's pinned to my ragged wallpapered walls.

Then there was that time in high school. Prom night. You took me because "there's no guy in school that'd ask you, Genevieve Crossing." Your compliments have always been top notch. I squeezed into a creamy silk, and you wore a lopsided bow tie that accidentally matched Cecilia Langdon's copper-colored dress instead of mine. I might have been more upset if we had stayed, but you threw up from the spiked punch, and Cecilia mocked me so cruelly that I cried. What an awful night. It was glorious. You wiped your mouth and wiped my tears, and we stalked away from that pulsing gym with our heads held high. We ran down the empty night streets, flung our hands up toward the sky, and tried to see if either of us could jump high enough to touch the stoplights. Then we screamed our frustration to the echoing brick buildings of our wretched town, and you told me my freckles looked like a galaxy sprinkled across my face.

It was the best night of high school.

Except for the summer of '09. Fireflies. You insisted you could catch one in your mouth. I said you couldn't. You darted around my backyard looking like a drunkard as you snapped your jaw at every poor blinking bug that dared light his wings. Then loud voices protruded from my house windows, and I cringed at the hatred the penetrated through the walls and leaked into my backyard. My safe haven. You cocked an eyebrow and took my hand, dragging me out the gate and into the street. We stole Dad's truck and drove for 87 miles until we reached the Kiamichi Mountains where we stargazed and fell asleep in the sharp grass. I awoke with a rash, and you awoke with three bruises on your back.

Dad was furious; I was appeased. You laughed after we were threatened to be thrown in jail, and you told me you'd do it again if it meant I'd smile more.

Graduation came. Summer heat. Sticky air. You left. I came home to a weeping mother and absent father.

How is college? Tell me you haven't joined a fraternity. Tell me you won't join a fraternity just to spite me.

I'm glad you're not here in this hellish Oklahoma town. One day, I think I will escape, too. Until then, I'll be staring at my ragged wallpapered walls as I plan my inevitable escape. Maybe I'll use the map we made when we were twelve and take ol' Mr. O'Malley's yellow airplane. It's a pity I haven't got any red paint to stripe the sides.

I miss you.


P.s. I love you.