Before I Forget

by Amelia Calo, age 17
Before I Forget Amelia Calo is a 17-year-old writer from Westchester County. She has been attending Writopia Lab since her sophomore year of high school and began interning this spring in workshops. Amelia has experimented with a plethora of writing styles, including flash fiction, poetry, and playwriting. She has also participated in many Writopia Lab events, such as the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Poetry Night, Brooklyn Bridge Poetry Night, and the Writopia Worldwide Playwright Festival. This fall, Amelia will begin pursuing concurrent degrees in education and educational studies at York University in Toronto.

“I’m beginning to wonder what exactly is true. How can the rumors I hear be about the same girl I used to know?”

I think of the rumors I hear about her. They get whispered around the school. I hear the mumbles of questions wondering what exactly happened to Liv. I’m beginning to wonder what exactly is true. How can the rumors I hear be about the same girl I used to know? 

Let me tell you what I remember. I first talked to Liv in the courtyard at school reading a book on some time period I can’t remember. I was drawn to go up to her. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was because she sat alone, with the remains of temporary tattoos up her left arm. 

“So you like history?” I said awkwardly. 

“A little.” Her eyes squinted, looking up at me and the sun.

“Here.” She moved her bag. “Come sit next to me.” 

That’s how it all began. We had gone to school together for years, but we were just classmates. She was the friendly girl I found intimidating.

I recall that day her nails being painted eggshell blue. Her third finger torn up with a ring that sat at its base. It was faux bronze, with flakes of paint chipped off of it.

Her stories always included farfetched realities, and she told them with exaggerated hand gestures, to help make her point. Each one left me wondering if what she told me was true. I learned about her and the secrets she held inside about the people who acted differently in a different light. 

“I trust you,” she told me.

If only I knew what that meant.

Liv was the type of girl every boy fell in love with. She was far from perfect, and not like other girls. I never tried to resent Liv for this. It wasn’t something she caused. However, the memories are replaying on why exactly boys were in love with Liv constantly. Liv had long blond hair, and her personality seemed unnerved by people’s comments, a polar opposite from mine. 

As I think back to the first day we met, the feeling of the black plastic table burning the bottom of my thighs is brought back, but it was easy to ignore the pain when talking to Liv. 

“Everyone wants to believe they’re a good person.” She played with the skin of her middle finger some more. “It’s too hard for them to hear there’s a chance they have hurt someone.” I continued to look at her as her hair hid part of her face.

For someone who I didn’t know for long, it became hard for me to think of days passing without her. We spent time together laughing with each other in the front seat of her car, ignoring all the pain that occurred in our lives. I enjoyed that our friendship wasn’t a typical one where we complained about who had it worst. Instead, we would joke around about our lives and laugh about how much we wanted to die, because it used to be true, but now it was just a silly remark we’d make. 

She told me about the boy she’d been seeing. Some days I lived through all the secrets and adventures she lived. 

Our phone calls would last for hours, but it usually ended with her telling me about how she planned to sneak out of her house to go somewhere. I would typically tell her I was getting tired and hang up the phone, but each morning there was a text telling me about the past night’s adventures.

I knew clearly that I didn’t know everything about her.

I would go to pick up her phone, but before I knew it she would snatch it away. She lived a life of secrets, thinking it would be more fun.

It was summer time when I went to my first party with Liv. We walked into a room of classmates and strangers. Dave was there. He was the boy Liv had been seeing, but she’d clearly stated it wasn’t love. 

Liv drank enough for four people her size. She danced and giggled, wearing high heels I knew she’d complain about in the morning. I stood in the corner with water in my cup as I watched her enchant the whole room. She talked to boys, being flirty, but this was nothing new. But perhaps when I saw one of the boys hands got down to the hem of her skirt it caused me to step in.

“We should head home!” I screamed over the music.

“Come on, lad, few more minutes. Do you like that? Lad, I sound like an Irish man.” Her head tilted back, laughing. 

“I’m going home,” I said.

“What a buzzkill. Fine, let’s go then.” She aimed for the door. However, her direction changed when Dave stepped in, I knew I would be leaving without her. 

I don’t believe Dave caused the problems that occurred. It was an inevitable sequence of circumstances that prevailed. 

Liv had created a world in her head. She didn’t let me be a part of it, but she made me feel as if I could be. 

Six months later from that day we first me outside in the courtyard, it was Memorial Day weekend when I got the phone call. I had been away with my family. Liv whispered through the phone things had gotten out of hand and she wasn’t exactly getting better. This was her goodbye to me. 

 I sat on the floor confused, wondering what had changed. Liv was the most outgoing girl yet too shy to say what was wrong, the one who hid away, the one who broke her own heart. The girl I knew for six short months. 

Perhaps people can change quickly, in the blink of an eye, become someone new you can meet again. Maybe I’m wrong.

All I know now is that I want to remember her before I forget. Ingrain the memory of the late Saturdays and Sunday early afternoons we spent together.

I don’t want to forget that she taught me to live, but, in the end, I couldn’t help her. 

I want to remember the Liv I knew.

I want to reminisce about it before I forget.


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