• Skating was my passion. No, not that wienie 'sport’ on ice. I’m talking about skateboarding. I spent all of my free time skating, and I was the only female skater in the entire city. Every girl looked up to me, even the ones who didn’t like me much. I loved the rush when I was in the air, about to plummet to the concrete below. It felt great. And not only was I a skater, I obtained and maintained the highest marks in the twelfth grade.
    Today, like no other, I wore a baggy Misfits band tee, skin tight grey skinny jeans and purple skate shoes. My short black hair was tousled and messy, a light gel holding it in place. I fit in well here, because my gender preferences matched that of everyone I was close friends with. That’s right, I was a lesbian.
    Well, today was just an average day. It was cooling down now, normal for late September. When school finally ended, I grabbed my pack and my board and left for the skate park with my friends.
    “So, I’m thinking of throwing a party this weekend. You guys up for it?” Heath asked. Everyone said that they would, even me. “And I’ll make sure to find some chicks who swing your way,” he added with a nudge to my shoulder.
    I punched his arm in response. “Come on Heath, you know I won’t fling with someone. They have to be right, you know?” I said, looking up to the blue sky.
    “You really believe in that s**t?” Matt asked, and I nodded, still staring off. I felt someone prod my left breast with their finger.
    “These real?” Justin asked. He was such a pig.
    “I’ve told you many times that they are,” I sighed. Boys are pigs and people wondered why I had no sexual interest in them.
    Finally we arrived at the park, and like always we ditched our things under a tree. I nudged Heath again before taking off across the concrete, stepping onto my board mid-run.
    “Hey, Shelley!” someone yelled to me from the benches. I looked over and waved, but I had no idea who they were. This was very normal, I was surprisingly popular. Heath was soon racing me on ramps, over railings and trying to match my air. Like always he was trying to show off, trying to be better.
    I had a sudden urge to show off, as though it might actually matter for once. So I did. I built up as much momentum as I could on ramps, then the next think I knew I was flying up off the largest half pipe. Mid-turn at the highest point in the air I heard a camera shutter click, and when I was finally on the ground again, I paused to find the location. And that was when I saw her; a petite girl, over a head shorter than I. Her hair was long and a fiery red colour, bangs pulled straight over her forehead (and into her eyes slightly), growing longer in length around her face. The rest of her hair was in locks, tied messily back. She wore an oversized white sweater and black booty shorts, a professional camera clutched tightly in her hands. From behind her purple glasses, she watched me intently, so I approached her.
    “Did you just take a picture?” I asked, clutching my board.
    “Yes, I’m sorry. You are so graceful, and the lighting was perfect. Here, look,” she replied in her melodic voice. My heart jumped. She pressed a button on the camera and held it out to show me the photo. It was beautiful. I was silhouetted against the sun behind me in the photo.
    “Wow, that is impressive,” I said, resting my hand over hers to hold the camera still. My stomach fluttered and I thought I could feel a rapid pulse in her hand.
    “Would you mind if I took more? A photo-shoot like this is exactly why I came here today,” she asked quietly. “I have heard much about your skill.”
    I paused to ponder. If I said 'yes’, I could ask her out for coffee later. Something with her seemed different than the others I had met. But how could I found out if she was like me?
    “Sure, why not. Should I just skate? Or . . .” I inquired. She nodded and smiled from ear to ear, revealing a set of braces. I twirled my lip ring, then headed back to the ramps.
    “What was that about?” Heath asked curiously.
    “I’ve got a photo-shoot, clear out, please,” I muttered. He nodded and easily cleared the area.
    So, the way clear, I started to show off again. The girl trotted along behind me, sometimes crouching, camera shutter clicking frequently.
    After nearly an hour, she called to me that her film roll was full, so I came to a stop in front of her. She was still beaming, but I was breathless and sweaty.
    Before the crowd could close in, I asked: “Would you like to go for a coffee or something?” and I was overjoyed when she agreed. She ran over and grabbed her white shoulder bag, I grabbed my pack and we started to walk off to a small coffee shop just down the road. I felt my phone vibrate, so I pulled it out to check the message.
    Heath: Where are you going?
    I replied: Coffee shop with a pretty girl. Ttyl.
    I apologized to her for the interruption and stuffed my phone back into my pocket. We had walked mostly in silence, but she seemed to open up a little at the shop. I held the door for her and I saw her eyes gleam beneath her hair. I smiled. At the counter we scanned the overhead menu.
    “Go ahead and get whatever you want, I’ll pay,” I insisted, and held up a hand to silence her protest. She then nodded and ordered a raspberry smoothie, and I decided on an iced cappuccino. As I moved my hand towards the counter with the money, my hand brushed against hers and I saw her calm expression falter. I smiled and carried our drinks to my favourite table in the corner. Sitting down across from her I handed her her smoothie, smiling slightly.
    “So, what did you want to go for coffee for?” she asked, sipping the drink.
    I shrugged. “I don’t know, I wanted coffee and I thought you might make nice company,” I replied, head cocked to the side in a flirty manner. She blushed.
    “So, y-your name is Shelley?” she asked to change the subject. I nodded and took a bigger sip of my drink. “Oh . . . I’m Skye.”
    “Pleasure,” I said with a big smile, offering my hand across the table. She shook it meekly, eyes down. “You don’t need to be so timid, I’m not scary.”
    She pulled a small notebook and purple pen out of her bag and placed them on the table. She opened to the back of the book and wrote:
    'So, if you don’t mind my asking, why was that boy at the skate park?’
    I took the pen and wrote: 'My best friend, Heath. He’s liked me since we met but . . . I’m just not into him, so to speak.’
    She put a question mark on the page. “I like women best .Men don’t interest me at all. They’re good friends, horrid lovers,” I whispered to her. She had her face down so her hair covered her eyes, her face glowing.
    “Ah, I’m sorry, I have to get home, it was a pleasure to meet you,” she said quickly, dropping a card near my hand. I looked down at it, realized it had her phone number on it, but when I looked up again she was gone. I sighed and looked at the card again.
    A cell number? I thought. So, I tried texting it. Five minutes later, I got the reply: “Hi, Shelley.” and I smiled, starting to walk home.

    Later that evening, around eight o’clock, I was in my room studying for a French test when my phone rang. It was Heath.
    “Hey, Shelley. Why’d you leave early today?” he asked.
    I sighed. “I wanted to talk to Skye,” I said, running my fingers through my damp hair.
    “The girl with the camera,” I looked around my room, at the orange glow bouncing off the walls from candles.
    A new voice came on the phone. “You should bring her to the party!” Matt said loudly.
    “Matt? Why are you at Heaths?”
    “Mom brought home some guy again, so I came here,” he explained. A voice in the background demanded for the phone back.
    “Look, Heath, I have to go. French homework is calling my name,” I said before hanging up.
    With a loud sigh I flopped back onto my bed, hands over my face. I realized that Matt had a point; I could easily get to know the girl behind the shell if she went to the party with me. I decided I would ask, so I grabbed my phone to send her a text.
    ‘Hey, Skye. My friend is throwing a party this weekend, would you like to come?’
    Within a couple of minutes I got a reply. ‘I’d like to but I have a seminar on photography to prepare for for Monday.’ she had sent me. I felt my heart sink.
    ‘Are you sure? I’m sure you can get it done before then.’ I pressed, hoping to sway her. I waited almost ten minutes for a reply this time, the whole time staring at the canopy of my bed. Then my phone vibrated.
    ‘. . . If I go with you, can you have me home for 12am? I need to develop these photos.’
    I smiled widely. ‘Of course I can. I can help, if you want.’
    I received one final text from her that evening, it read: ‘Pick me up at the skate park then.’
    Feeling wonderful, I decided to head to the mall down the street. It was open late, so I figured I would buy myself a new outfit for the party. This was the best time to go, the only people there were going to the movies.
    In the back of the mall there was a head shop that I loved. Marley had every obscure band tee one could think of, and always had jeans in my size. As I walked in, I waved to him, and headed to the wall at the back to scan for the perfect shirt. Misfits I already had. Iron Maiden is good, but everybody has shirts of theirs. I continued to scan, until my eyes fell upon a black shirt that read “Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistols” with a wonderful picture of Sid on the front. I smiled, it was perfect. Carefully I took it off of the wall, checked that it’s a medium, then headed over to the rack of jeans in the very back of the store. It didn’t take very long before I found a pair I liked: black and white striped skinny jeans, size three, longer legs. They were perfect as well. So, I took both the shirt and the jeans up to the counter.
    “Hey, Marley,” I said as I put them down.
    “Hey there, Shelley. Find everything OK?” he asked, checking the price tags.
    “Always,” I said with a smile as he rang them through.
    “Good. ‘Nyway, that’ll be twenty dollars. Discount for you because you’re regular here,” he told me with a grin. That was why I loved going to that store, he was nice and rather fond of me. I took the bag from him, then headed off to grab a muffin for the walk home.

    It was Saturday afternoon, and I was excited for the party. In a very short time I would be going to pick up Skye. I pulled on my new jeans, added some black chains, slipped on my Sex Pistols tee and a pair of plain, black and white skate shoes. I took some styling wax and rubbed it into my hair, spiking it up and out in all directions. To accentuate my brown eyes I lined them all the way round with black eye liner, then some mascara. I didn’t normally wear makeup, but tonight was special.
    All made up I grabbed my keys and left my house, waving good bye to my dad in the process (I lived with him. Mother took my brother in the divorce). It was too early to pick up Skye, so I figured I would go to Heaths early to help set up. Driving there took approximately twenty minutes, and he lived the closest to me out of all my friends. He also lived in the biggest house, it could even be called a mansion. With his parents out much of the time for business, he was often alone. There were so many extra rooms in that house that Heath convinced his parents to give one to me, making Heaths house my home away from home, and I spent a lot of time there.
    When I arrived, the house was silent. Usually by now the music would be blaring, but it wasn’t. I saw that there were lights on, though, so I walked down the path in the garden up to the front door, opened it quietly and stopped to listen.
    “Just relax,” a male voice said, and it sounded like Matt.
    “I-I am relaxed,” Heath said, I would know his voice anywhere.
    “OK, then,” Matt said in a softer voice, and I was straining to listen. There was a long silence, then a very faint, wet smacking sound of a broken kiss. “What do you think?”
    “N-not bad,” Heath said softly. There was more silence, then the occasional smacking sound again. Grinning from ear to ear, I walked back outside and shut the door as quietly as I could, walking back to my car. I knew Matt was bisexual, but I never would have guessed that Heath was too.
    Though I had only killed a half hour, I decided to go to the skate park anyway to wait for Skye. I enjoyed being there in the evening, there was a river just off the park that shimmered at this time of day. I climbed up one of the half pipes and seated myself on the edge, leaning against the low metal railing as I gazed across the water.
    The sun was low on the horizon now, and I was starting to nod off as I waited. Just as my eyes fell heavily closed the sound of running footsteps met my ears.
    “Oh my goodness, I’m sorry I’m late,” Skye called, breathing heavily. She doubled over, hands on her knees as though she had run a long distance.
    “Are you all right?” I asked her as I slid down the ramp.
    She held up her finger. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. I realized I was late and ran here,” she said after a pause. “Shall we go?”
    I smiled and nodded, then rested my hand on the small of her back to guide her to my car. Today she wore a dark brown tam beret which covered her ears and hid all over her locks; a chestnut coloured, long-sleeved turtleneck that showed off her navel (sporting a piercing), and a pair of black skinny jeans. She looked beautiful, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to focus on the road.
    We got in my car and prepared to leave. Skye had finally caught her breath and her eyes were twinkling behind her glasses, a cute smile on her face.
    “I love your shirt,” she said as we pulled into Heaths driveway. I thanked her and got out, then walked around to her side to let her out. When she was out, I took her hand and we walked into the house, smiling at her embarrassment. There were already a lot of people there.
    One could swear the party became louder when we walked in. Many people greeted us as we weaved our way through the crowds. Skye squeezed my hand tighter until we found a clearer area near the stairs (which had a wall up the side of it, creating a large closet, and a lovely wall to lean on). A girl walked up to us.
    “Hey, Shelley. I’ll get you two some beer!” she yelled over the music. I smiled and nodded at her, and felt Skye tugging at my sleeve.
    “Uhm, Shelley, I don’t drink,” she said quietly, eyes down.
    I leaned down close to her face. “Please, love, just this once?” I asked her, smiling kindly. She paused and then nodded. “I don’t drink much, I don’t like being drunk.”
    When the girl returned she handed us the bottles and returned to the crowds, and I still had no idea who she was. Skye took the bottle, looking very uncertain. I gave her an encouraging smile before taking a swig from my own, grimacing at the taste. Skye eyed the bottle for a second, then brought it to her lips and did the same, her expression similar to my own. I laughed and rested my hand on her hip, watching her expression falter.
    It was around an hour and a half into the party, and I was starting to get a buzz. I decided that was enough for me. Skye was drinking slower than I, and was a couple of bottles behind me, but she was buzzed too, I could tell. She had started to open up, telling me everything from personal things to school to family. We were leaning against the wall, quite close, my right hand on her hip as she talked.
    “Honestly, it’s like I don’t even exist there. None of my photos are good enough for my classmates. That’s why I wanted to find you, I was hoping you would be able to help me,” she explained, putting her last bottle on the table behind her.
    “But you’re amazing,” I replied.
    She scoffed. “Not at U of T. . .”
    “Well then they are all idiots,” I said smugly. “By the way, you never did answer me before. Why did you ask me about Heath?”
    She blushed deeply, and I smiled. “I-I’m a little interested, is all . . . in you, not him . . .” she said, face radiating. “Don’t look at me, I’m embarrassed.” She covered her face and I smiled wider, looking away and into the crowd. My eyes fell upon Heath, who had his eyes somewhere else. I followed his gaze and realized he was watching Matt, who was dancing with one of the cheerleaders. Heath looked like he was fuming, I knew I would be hearing about this later.
    I turned back to Skye, crouching down with my hands on my knees to look at her. “Will you please look at me?” I asked softly, though my heart was racing. She peered at me between her fingers. “Little more.”
    Skye hesitated before uncovering her glowing face. I smiled at her, moving one hand up to her cheek. She was completely red in the face now, a soft smile meeting her lips for a second. I stood upright and close to her, moving one hand to her waist. I thought Justin might have seen us, as the song was changed to a slower one. Smiling, I offered my hand to Skye, hoping she would take it. After a long pause, she did, and so I pulled her close gently until our bodies were touching. Her face was near my chest in height, and I felt my heart racing at the touch of her hand on my neck.
    I took control and started to rock back and forth, Skye kept her eyes down. I saw that she was quite red to match her hair. Our dance started as casual, one hand on body, other in hand. Soon, though, Skye pushed herself closer, until her face was rested on my collar bone, her arms now wrapped around my lower back. I was happy, this felt nice. I wrapped my arms around her shoulder and back protectively, my chin on the top of her head.
    The two of us rocked back and forth for the duration of the song, and when it ended, we remained in the embrace. Skye kept her eyes closed when she said: “Can we go somewhere quiet?”
    I nodded and took her hand, walking slowly around people to the stairs. Up on the hall overlooking the living room was my bedroom, I had some clothes, a bed and even a small television. People were watching as we went upstairs, but it didn’t matter. Nothing else mattered right now.
    After I closed the door to my room, Skye pressed me against the door, locking it with one hand, the other on my hip. Shocked at her forwardness, I took hold of her hips and kissed her. Her lips were warm and smooth, slightly sticky and pineapple-flavoured from worn off lip gloss. Using her lower lip she pulled mine in between hers, trapping it and tugging lightly. I arched my back, our bodies pressed together, lips locked. I could feel her breasts pressed to my ribs, just below my own. Skye stood on her toes to lean into the kiss.
    Quickly I grabbed Skye and spun around a few times until we were in front of my bed, where I gently shoved her back. She hit the bed and bounced a bit. Propped up on her elbows, legs bent and spread slightly, she stared at me. Her beret had fallen off and her hair had fallen down, and I saw her bite her lip. Smiling, I crawled up between her legs, forcing her to lie back on the bed. I stopped when our faces were close together, the mood changed. What I felt now was desire, and the look on her face said the same.
    Very gently I pressed my lips to Skye’s, looking deep into her eyes. She gazed back with a flush on her cheeks, looking very dazed. Her legs were wrapped around my hips and her hands on my back as my right hand traveled up her side.
    We had the whole night ahead of us.

    I awoke before Skye the next morning, the thoughts of the night prior running through my head. We had done everything one could imagine and more, and it still made my heart race. Beside me, Skye was sleeping calmly with a relaxed expression on her face. I smiled and rested my hand on her cheek, but she was too tired to wake. I heard her breathe in deeply before rolling over. Gently, I tucked her hair behind her ear, where I saw a long scar from her ear to the back of her neck. I paused. Did her hair just . . .
    A knock sounded at the door, interrupting my thoughts. “Hold on,” I called softly as I pulled the sheets up over Skye’s shoulders to cover her from view of the door. I stepped into my panties, put on my bra and pulled on my tee shirt from the night before, thankful for the length, before slipping out the door into the hallway. Heath looked slightly shocked by my appearance.
    “Wha- Oh, come on, Heath. This isn’t the first time you have seen me like this,” I said with one hand on my hip. “What is it?”
    “I was going to ask if you wanted breakfast,” he asked softly.
    “Oh, sure,” I replied as we walked down the hall to the stairs. “That was an impressive party last night. You already cleaned up?”
    “Yeah, it wasn’t bad,” he finally said as we sat down at the island on stools in the kitchen. In front of me was a cheese omelet with green onions and peppers.
    “Looks great,” I told him, cutting off the corner. I knew why he made me breakfast; he had a question to ask me, and it was probably about Matt. I remained silent so as to let him collect his thoughts.
    Five minutes passed before he put down his fork. “I need your advice,” he said, turning to look at me. His shaggy hair was in his eyes.
    “I knew it. What’s wrong?” I asked.
    He hesitated. “Well you see, before the party, Matt was here. He . . . uhm, introduced me to some new things, and . . . I think I liked it,” he explained with a slight stutter.
    “And the problem?”
    “Well, I don’t know what to do. Do I tell him how I feel, or do I let him continue fooling around with girls? I mean, like, I really enjoyed it. We were in the kitchen for almost an hour just kissing. During the party he danced with some girl, I just don’t know what to do . . .
    “I figured I would ask you because things seem to be going well for you and Skye, plus you would understand,” explained Heath, looking down again.
    I paused to think. “If you care about him enough to be committed, then tell him the truth. It would be good for both of you,” I said with a smile. As I patted his shoulder I heard shuffling footsteps.
    “Shelley?” Skye called softly. I turned to look through the kitchen doorway to see Skye leaning against the railing by my room (which overlooked the living room), rubbing her eye. Her hair was still perfect, tied back, and she was wearing my bunny slippers and a white tee shirt of mine that was far too big for her.
    “Morning, Sleeping Beauty,” I called back, watching her descend the stairs. She took the seat to my left and I noticed she had coated the scar in makeup to hide it. I took her hand as she yawned again.
    “Uhm, we haven’t really met yet. I’m Heath,” he said, leaning forward to see her better.
    “Hi, I’m Skye. You probably know that already,” she replied with heavy eyes.
    “Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to take you home last night,” I apologized. She shrugged.
    “It’s all right. If you can get me home soon I should have time to finish the seminar, develop the photos and possibly even teat a meal in,” she said, yawning again.
    The three of us talked for about an hour, and I was glad that Heath was accepting her. I checked my phone for the time and we decided it was time to leave. After dressing and collecting our things, we said our good byes and headed for her dorm.
    The school was surprisingly far away, which made me wonder just how long she had run for the day before. I should have gone to pick her up. The drive from Heath’s house took us around forty five minutes, and I admired the campus as I parked. She was going to get out and leave, but I stopped her.
    “May I walk you back? I feel bad for keeping you out all night,” I asked, my hand on the door handles. She smiled and nodded, waiting for me to get out. I walked around her side and opened the door for her, taking her hand with a smile. Together we walked across the campus to her dorm, hand in hand. People stared, but that’s what always happens. I was happy to be doing this, but it made me uncomfortable to be around older people.
    Skye’s dorm wasn’t far from where I parked, and I found out that she roomed with another girl. I didn’t get to meet her, as she was working, but Skye assured me that they were hardly even friends. I trusted her, and I was not worried.
    Standing on the step at the door, Skye turned to face me. “I’m going to be away for about two weeks, starting Friday,” she told me. “My sister has a few doctors’ appointments and she wants me there.”
    I nodded and took both her hands in mine. She was at eye level with me now, and she leaned forward to rest her forehead to mine. I met her halfway in a kiss, held for a while. When we broke apart, our lips lingered slightly.
    “Well, text me when you can, I suppose. I won’t be busy, and I’ll always be around,” I whispered to her, enjoying the tickling feeling of my lips brushing against hers when I talked. She nodded, looking very solemn. She released my hands and turned to the door. I saw her hand rest on the handle, then grip, and the next thing I knew she had turned and had me in an embrace. I hugged her back, and she squeezed me tightly. After a long period of time she released me and turned quickly to go inside. I thought I saw a drop fall from her face.
    “Good bye, Shelley . . .” she whispered.
    I brushed my hand against her hip. “I’ll see you soon, Skye,” I replied. I saw her chin scrunch slightly at that, and she slipped into the building quickly. I stared at the door in confusion for a few moments before heading home.

    After a week and a half Skye stopped replying to my messages. She had been behaving strangely lately, and it seemed like every five minutes that she would tell me she loves me. I wasn’t complaining, though.
    Now, though, it was early October. I was worried about Skye, but I had no time to see her with my new job. At long last, though, I got a day off and decided to try her at her dorm. I had spent the night at Heath’s house again, so the drive was shorter. When I arrived, though, the campus was quite quiet and everyone I saw seemed rather crestfallen. I was confused, but it probably wouldn’t have to do with me.
    Standing at the door to her place, I hesitated. Maybe I should have called first? Before I could rethink my decision I knocked on the door a few times, took a step back and waited. After a couple of minutes the door was opened, and I was looking into the ashen face of a girl I did not know. Her skin was dark and her hair was caramel-coloured, dead straight.
    “I was wondering how long it would take you to come here,” she said softly. “I’ll be back in a second, I have something for you.”
    I was very confused, but I waited without protest. She returned quickly with an envelope, which she handed to me. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, closing the door gently. Even more confused, I walked back to my car. I opened the envelope and removed the letter from inside, leaning back against my car. I unfolded it and started to read.

    My Dearest, Shelley.
    I am so sorry, I really am. If you are reading this, then the chemotherapy failed, and I am dead. I wish I had more time to be with you, you made me the happiest I have ever been and I am so glad that I had a chance to meet you. You are an amazing girl, and you are beautiful. I feel bad for what I am putting you through, though . . .
    I suppose you ought to know why I am gone. I have brain cancer, and my doctors thought I was getting better, but I relapsed and was told I would be lucky to make it past the start of October. The appointments I mentioned were for me, I had more chemo to go through. My hair is not my own, it is a wig. It is, though, how I used to have my hair.
    I really wish I had not lied to you, you deserved to know this. But I want you to know, because of you, I have died happy. Please, remember me forever, but move on. I want you to be happy, please find someone, if only because I asked.

    Always and forever, I will love you

    By the end of the letter I was in shock. I couldn’t comprehend what I was reading. I read it three more times before the realization hit me, and it hit me hard. I started to sob, my tears hitting the paper in my hands. I just could not handle the pain that washed over me, and out of anger I slammed my fist into the door of my car. I felt multiple bones crack and fracture, but nothing mattered anymore. My fingers bloody, I folded and stuffed the letter into my pocket and then broke into a run. I ran for a great distance and my lungs were searing in pain, but I didn’t care.
    As I collected my thoughts, I changed my path and headed for Heath’s, certain he would understand. When I was on his doorstep, I rang the bell and doubled over in pain. My tears had stopped, for now.
    Heath opened the door. “Oh my God, Shelley! Are you all right?” he asked frantically, his hands on my shoulders. I practically threw myself into his arms, hugging him tightly, and he did the same.
    “Help me,” I breathed, sobbing without tears. I had none left to cry. Heath walked me inside and we sat on the couch, him on the opposite side, facing me. I took the letter out of my pocket and handed it to him, clutching a pillow to my chest, still shaking. He read it and looked up at me.
    “Oh my God,” he whispered this time. I nodded but did not move. Heath’s phone rang, so he left to answer it in the kitchen.
    “Hello? . . . Yes, she’s here . . . Mhmm . . . All right, I’ll tell her,” he said, hung up, then returned. “Shelley, her funeral is in three days, her parents want you to go,” he said to me. I nodded again, examining my hand now. The pain was throbbing up my entire arm now, and blood was dripping onto my jeans.
    “Holy crap, what happened?” Heath asked, sitting down closer to look at my hand as well. “Come on, we need to get you to a doctor.”
    I did not protest as Heath took my arm and walked me out to his car. He opened the door for me, closed it after me, then got in on his own side.
    “I punched my car,” I said softly after buckling up.
    “Why would you do that?” he asked as he backed out of the garage.
    I paused feeling very sad. “Because I was angry that I couldn’t help her,” I whispered this time.
    He nodded and drove me to the hospital, which was actually not far off at all. When he tried to take me into the emergency ward, I stopped him.
    “It’s not that big of an emergency, it’s not like I’m going to heal that fast. Besides, it has already been broken for at least an hour,” I said with my arm close to my chest. Heath shook his head and started to go on and on about the time he broke his arm and didn’t go in to get it looked at while pulling me along to the ward.
    The doctor had me sit on the bed while he found my medical records. He dropped my folder onto a table and then turned to me. “Well, that’s a nasty looking wound,” he said.
    “It’s at the very least broken,” I said, looking at the bruises that were forming.
    “Well, I’ll take an x-ray of it to see what’s going on. What happened?” he asked.
    “I-I punched my car out of anger . . . my girlfriend just died of brain cancer,” I explained, suddenly very interested in my fingers, which I could not move.
    “Oh, I’m sorry. Uhm. Well, if you could come with me, we’ll go to the x-ray room. Sir, if you wouldn’t mind waiting here,” the doctor stated, looking nervous as he lead me out of the room to another a few doors down. He put a heavy vest over my body, left the room for a bit, then returned with a clip board. “Well, it seems you’ve fractured two places in your ‘pinky’ finger, broken your index finger, and shattered a part of your middle knuckle.”
    I nodded and stopped listening to him.

    I spent most of my time sleeping while at Heath’s. On the day of the funeral, though, I was wide awake. My hand was throbbing and I had a really bad itch under the cast, and there were only a few signatures on it, but I didn’t care. Depression was heavy on my heart, and it was affecting Heath as well, he seemed rather upset.
    The two of us dressed our best and headed for the funeral. We missed the service, but we were there when the casket was being closed.
    Skye looked so peaceful lying there, it was saddening to see. When nobody was looking I brushed my fingers against her cheek, and I felt tears welling up again. After I rested a bouquet of red tulips, Heath rested his hand on my shoulder and guided me back to the small group. The red tulip, the sign of eternal love.
    My depression worsened as they lowered her into the ground. Heath squeezed my shoulder as tears began to stream down my face. People started to leave at that point, giving their condolences to her parents. When they were all gone, I walked up to them as well, Heath walking just behind me.
    “Hello, Shelley,” her mother said, looking just as sad as I.
    “Hello, ma’am,” I replied, hands clasped in front of me.
    “She was quite fond of you. She talked about you whenever she could,” her father told me and I forced a smile.
    “She told us, before her last chemo, that she wanted you to have this,” her mother said quietly as she reached into her bag. From within she took Skye’s camera and an orange envelope. She handed them to me, then smiled sadly as she walked away with her husband.
    We stood there for a moment in silence. “What is it?” Heath asked.
    “I think they’re photos,” I replied, handing him the camera to open the envelope. From within I removed a stack of photos that Skye had taken and developed herself.
    The first half were ones she had taken in the skate park, and her talent showed in all of them. The rest of them were from the Thursday before she left. I had visited her again, and she took many photos of us. Some of just me, paying attention or not; some of herself, but most were of us hugging. The one that really stood out, though, was a photo of just our faces, lips just barely touching.
    I felt the absolute worst I ever could. The pictures spiked a pain in my chest, and I wasn’t sure I could look at the camera. I knew I should, though, and traded Heath for the camera. I pressed the tiny button and a slideshow started to play from the beginning. It began with nature photos: flowers, animals, landscapes. Next came objects, mainly candles, but it passed by quickly. The final set of photos, which shocked me again, were of myself and Skye in the first one, then various photos of herself. Judging by the time stamp, they had been taken just days after I last saw her. She had posed variously, from gazing into the sky, to lying on her side on her bed. I couldn’t comprehend it, she looked so full of life in all of these photos.
    The very last thing saved in the camera was a video, taken very recently. I hit the play button and watched. Skye walked around the camera and seated herself, looking straight forward.
    She sighed. “Shelley, I’m so sorry. You know that I love you and I really hope you’re not suffering over me. I’m angry that I couldn’t hold on for you, you made me feel like I had more time. I had practically given up before we met. I honestly was just trying to do better in school. But something about you . . . I fell, immediately. I-I’m sorry, I have to go now. I have an appointment to get to. I wish I could say more . . . I love you,” she said on the video, and then it ended. I bit my lip and turned to Heath.
    “Heath, I think I’m going to go away for a while,” I said in a shaky voice. I smiled at him, though my eyes were swimming. The camera was clutched tightly in my hands.
    “Yeah, I understand,” he replied as we walked past the grave. I looked down at it as we passed and blew a kiss. I’ll be with you soon, I thought solemnly.
    The two of us sat in a comfortable silence on the drive back. Heath let me off at my house, then waved and left me to pack up my things. Father was not home when I walked in, which made me feel better. Up in my room, I seated myself at the desk with a pen and three sheets of paper. Three letters to write. The first to my father.

    I’m sorry that I didn’t get to say good bye. I would like to say I’ll regret what
    I’ve done, but I know that I won’t. I realize that I have only known her a short time,
    but you have told me yourself that true love can be instant. I cannot live without this
    girl, I am so, so sorry.


    I carefully folded the letter and set it aside to start the next one, to Heath.

    My friend
    I’m so sorry that I have been so difficult all these years. You mean a lot to me
    and I know I couldn’t have made it through this without you. Well, I suppose I
    haven’t made it through anything now, what with what I’m doing now. Please, do not
    hate me, and I beg you, live a full and happy life for both of us. Keep Matt safe, I’m
    sure you’ll need each other more than ever now. I hope I’ll see you in my next life,
    I’ll miss you.


    I folded that one up as well, set it aside and wrote out the last letter. When I finished, I picked up the stack and headed to the kitchen. The letter to my father I left on the table, and the third letter I put in a clear plastic bag with Skye’s, then returned them to my pocket. With that, I walked out of the house, glancing once more over my shoulder at the place I once called home, and left it forever.
    My next stop was Heath, so as to say one final good bye. I knew he would be that hardest to leave behind, and I knew that if he read the letter too soon that he would attempt to stop me.
    The walk took a long time, but it did not matter. Time was irrelevant now. Heath opened the door before I was even up the steps, and he ran out to hug me. Matt followed him out.
    “Hey, you all right?” Matt asked me. I nodded, pulling the letter out. I handed it to Heath, then hugged them both. Smiling sadly, I waved good bye, not daring to say a single word. I couldn’t stay there, I couldn’t change my mind now.
    I walked for nearly an hour before I found what I was looking for; an apartment building, twelve floors in all. I stood out front of the door, pretending to look distressed. For about ten minutes I waited, before a man in his thirties walked up to go inside.
    “Uhm, excuse me. Oh dear . . . I can’t find my key to save my life. I looked in all my pockets but it’s just not there. Could you let me in, please?” I asked, trying to look helpless.
    “Oh, of course,” he replied, unlocking the door and holding it open for me.
    “Thank you very much,” I said, parting ways with him at the stairs.
    I slowly ascended the stairs, one floor at a time. Soon, I would be at the top. Eleven . . . twelve . . . After climbing for a long time, I was at the top. My hands were shaking as I reached out to open the door, and the rush of wind nearly knocked me over. With much effort I made my way to the edge of the building, removed my shoes and socks, and then stepped onto the rim. My toes curled for temporary support, I took Skye’s camera out of its bag and turned it on, her pictures showing up on screen. My eyes fell upon the picture of us, arms around each other. We looked so happy, how could things have gone so awry . . .
    Gently I rested the camera beside my shoes, the picture of our smiling faces still on the screen. My emotion was gone, I felt so blank, so free up here.
    “I will be with you soon,” I breathed, but there was no sound as the wind whisked it away. I spread my arms and turned my face to the sky, eyes half open. It had clouded over now, and for some reason, snow was falling. “Just wait a little longer.”
    I closed my eyes, double checking that the notes were in my pocket. Sadness washed over my body and soul as I leaned forward. I felt my hair blow away from my face and my tears freeze to my cheeks, and then I was falling.

    My name is Shelley Wilson. I am seventeen years old, in the twelfth grade. I jumped on this day of my own will, out of my own depression. I will never regret what I have done, as I will be with my love once again. I have many wonderful friends and I will miss them all. I died on this day. The day that it snowed in October.