THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 201


Behind the door, I heard them talking.
One voice stood out—
the voice of my ex-crush.
It felt like dreaming
to hear him outside
of my dreams.
Gary opened the door.
Lindsey was there.
My ex-crush.
Two guys I did not know.
I focused on the television
behind everyone.
A video game was frozen
on the screen:
Mario about to jump
inside a pipe
to save the princess.
I wish I could jump
inside a pipe…
but who would save me?
Gary’s hand pressed my back.
“It’s OK,” he whispered.
Lindsey waved
like we were best friends.
She sat
on my ex-crush’s lap.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 200


“Everyone’s already here,” Gary said
as he led me through the house.
I was too busy looking at everything
to wonder who was included in
Every door in Gary’s house
was open, so I caught quick flashes
of things inside the rooms.
An old-fashioned sewing machine.
Three fat cats curled together
on a ragged rug.
The bathroom shower curtain
has a sea turtle design.
An unmade bed, the floor
strewn with papers upon papers.
It was like I was just ushered past
my own room.
Gary finally led me to a door
at the end of the hall—
the basement.

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THE ARCHIVES: Chapter 199


I took his arm
like we were a couple
from an old-time movie,
and we headed into the house.
His parents were there.
I breathed a sigh of relief
that this wasn’t going to be
one of those high school parties
where the parents go away
and everyone gets drunk.
Gary’s mom is tiny
and so young she could be
my older sister.
A nimbus of messy red hair
floated around her head.
Gary’s stepdad looks like a wasp.
His features are sharp, stabbing,
his gaze piercing as it struck me.
He even wore black and yellow.
They shook my hand.

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