It was spring, and Marion was riding in a pick-up truck. Her hair was black then, before she decided to bruise it with blue. Marion’s face was small and sunny, like a smooth orange. She broke off and smiled.

“I think I get why you have a crush on Heather,” Marion said to my best friend. He’d been pining after me, with little (but certain) luck. “Yeah, you could say I have a crush on her now, too.”

I guess you could say that.

Harajuku Girl

Marion made choices. As far as I could tell, Marion decided to be attracted to me. Marion told Alex because she was sure he would relay the information in due time. That was how things went, back when we were all young and just out of high-school.

I asked Alex, “Who is she, again?”

He told me about Marion. She had the lunchbox and the socks, remember? She wore glasses that were as little almonds on her cheeks.

I can recall every girl except Marion. The misery of our break-up blurred the details of how it all began, in the way smoke conceals the facts of an accident. All the pain is now long, long gone … but it took much of the truth away, too. I think I met her for lunch. Maybe I just met her for pancakes. Maybe that’s the same thing, and I should just write it that way.

Marion was always right, even if she was wrong. Marion smelled like thread and pencils. Marion still had a room made up for her at her parent’s house, filled with books and toys.

Marion was the first girl I slept with, and it was while Mars Attacks was on cable. Surrounded by pine paneling, and frightened, we fumbled around until we didn’t. This was while Anna was still writing letters — a summer of almost only mistakes. Marion and I were cruel to each other, quickly.

Marion is the reason I’m afraid of the number two.

(I’m not, really.)