By Claire Burianek

Though remembering her is death by a thousand cuts, I still remember it all too well. Her eyes were the night sky, and they shone in a way that put the stars to shame. Her hair was gold woven by Rumpelstiltskin, perfect for running my fingers through when she fell asleep before me.  

Back when I still had my Chevy truck, I liked to take her with me on back roads at night and go get stuck together. Eventually we drove back, and I dropped her off at home before her father noticed she was gone, but it was thrilling all the same. We spent all summer together.  

For me, it was the summer before going back to college, and for her it was the summer before her senior year of high school. Her favorite song was perfect for dancing, and even though we weren’t skilled dancers, we danced to it all night.  

Sometimes I lay awake at night, aching for a chance to hold her just one more time. It sent a thrill through my whole body when she would put her head on my chest. I never felt so protective of her as I did in those moments.  

And then she left town, with no more warning to me than a letter on my doorstep. I haven’t heard from her or seen her since. It’s a little like grieving- the pain lessens over time, but it never quite goes away.  

I used to hope I’d see her again, but I recognize that now as wishful thinking that will never come to fruition. The only thing that makes me feel better is when I turn on my radio and hear her favorite song and remember her.  

Although our time together was brief and the ending sent me through all seven levels of hell, I’m eternally grateful that I had the honor of knowing her.