A High School Memory

She was one of the cool girls, a cheerleader, a chipper one who appeared to have no problems bigger than whether to wear her hair up or down. I don’t remember her name or even what she looked like, at least not from the front. I remember only the moment when I was walking down the main corridor in our high school and suddenly, from behind, something like a rocket shot past me. I heard only little whimpering sounds, and the pounding of feet, saw only her receding back going so, so fast. I hadn’t put the picture together yet when all at once she leaped high up, the way only a cheerleader could, and landed into the arms of someone I hadn’t noticed, way at the end of that corridor. A young man, in uniform. It was her brother, who’d just arrived from Vietnam and had come straight to the high school to find her. Where he found her was up on his chest, limp and sobbing, the way the cool girls never were, trembling with the tangibility of it, that she could feel him, that they were together, here, and now, and not when the dust of them mingled in the sky.

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