Once upon a time, a boy and a girl were sitting in a dimly lit basement dorm room. The boy was at his desk, drawing something, and the girl was working on a Calculus assignment on the floor. When she got stuck on a problem, the boy would try to help explain it to her (though, and she didn’t know this at the time, he was only pretending to understand it). It was very late, because the girl’s assignment was due the next morning. In fact, it was so late that, when she finished the homework, it was almost three in the morning and not worth going to sleep anymore. The boy told the girl ghost stories from the boarding school he went to, because she liked to listen to that sort of thing and he liked to tell that sort of thing. They sat cross-legged on the floor across from each other, and he told her all about the abandoned building on the hill and how he and so many happy, funny female friends had snuck into it. The girl, in turn, told him about the empty mill back home and how much she missed the view from it.

With that, the boy asked the girl if she’d like to go on a walk to see one such building close by. She said yes, and got her shoes, because she liked this sort of adventure and it made her think of her best friend back home (and she very much missed that girl). The boy found a cardboard box and the girl carried it along, and they walked through the forest for what seemed like a very long time. The girl was a little afraid – not of ghosts or monsters, but of accidentally stepping on something sharp, because she only had sandals to wear. So the boy gave her a piggyback ride through the places where it was very muddy or hard to see the ground.

They climbed over a fence (the girl was very good at that part, because, where she was from, there were lots of fences, mostly bigger ones made of barbed wire to keep the deer and coyotes out), and then crossed a very damp lawn and came up to a big white building. There was a big, steep concrete ramp along the back of it which they scrambled up, the girl going first and sliding back a little, scraping her palms on the way. After she was up, the boy threw the box up to her and then he scrambled, too.

The next part was harder, because the concrete stopped about six feet below the roof. They put the box underneath so they could step up onto it, but it had gotten wet and broke when they tried. The boy could jump and pull himself up because he was really very big and tall, but the girl had to hold onto the gutter longer (which cut her hand again) and then crawl onto the ledge. The boy boosted her up and apologized politely when he accidentally touched her backside while doing so.

Up on the roof it was beautiful but cold, especially since the girl was wearing pajamas which had soaked up water from all the branches and leaves in the forest. The boy gave her his sweatshirt and a hug, and they talked on the roof for a little while. Not long after, the sun started to come up, and the boy and the girl climbed down from the roof and back over the fence and through the woods, all the way to campus. The girl didn’t want to go back to her room because she would wake up her roommate, but the boy wanted to take a nap before class. So they lay down, each on a separate mattress. No part of them touched each other, and they did not say a word. They just slept in their clothes, at opposite ends of a big wide blanket.

 

It was a nice story.

 

Maybe if I hadn’t ever talked to him again after that, I could still remember it that way.

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