my girls
May 13, 1992 03:21 PM

My dress is illumined like some filmy stained glass creature. I'm standing in a pile of rubble, peering past the edge of the floor to ceiling window. Past my head, rooftops from at least three different decades. I don't remember whether the dead pigeon was that day or not.

They're not in the photo. To me, they're still standing behind the camera, giggling. It's my junior year of high school, we've just moved into the new building, and my girls and I are exploring. Tiptoe-ing through rusty nails, old paint, to where we found the outdoor staircase with the sign saying "colored" and thought about how we couldn't have been us then. In that sign's time. We couldn't have been.

Back then I was a photo taker. Some people are photo takers. They capture everything that way. I love all those photos, us girls with our arms thrown around each other. I loved those girls. And I'm not a photo taker anymore. I remember the photos instead.

I'm choosing to write it down, now. What I remember in my head. Is mostly images of us sitting close, posing for a photo with arms around each other. Being girls. Staying late at night to build a skirt. How I couldn't use a sewing machine, so I did buttons and trim. Details. I can't remember details now.

I remember riding the bus singing Simon & Garfunkel a capella. A blond boy I had a crush on. Hanging with the girls. Those stupid shoes I wore, the ballet slippers with the big leather bows on the toes. I'm not embarassed about anything from my past except those shoes. Not even the boy I kissed who remembered Miss N. from college. He doesn't matter, except that he brought news of her.

Every year at graduation, that same song. I still can't even read or remember it's cheesy lyrics without starting to cry. The year she left. The year we graduated. There's more to that year - but this isn't about him and our story. This is about. The two women. Who were my last real girl friends. Back when I was really still a girl.

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