Girl Talk: Genuine

Dedicated to Maggie, who misses her too.

I miss Genuine. I miss the way her hair sparkles like sweat, like she’s hard work.

I miss feeling impulsive, folding up cranes and putting them into envelopes for her to read. I miss her telling me to put my shades on, just one more time, those university shades I swiped from the free merchandise booth. I miss her laugh, the kind that skyrocketed and shivered, was awed at its own power and still awkwardly grasping for air. I miss her palms, rough and raised in white little hillsides, villages of calluses. I miss I miss I miss her. She was a good one, Genuine. She held her feelings like leaves inside of her, tending to them, carefully growing them until she could fling them out around herself, careless once more. She cared about her carelessness; that was what made her special. Genuine wanted the world to know how she felt. She thought I was funny when I was not; rather, when I was trying to be. She knew when I needed her leaves, her shade. Put those shades on, one more time for me. Sometimes she’d hold up my cranes in front of me and pretend they were flying. Others she would hang from her bedroom ceiling with strings. Genuine had one funny thing about her, though: she always said that I was Genuine. But I’d always reply no, that she was mistaken, that her name was Genuine. She’d laugh at me, wipe her brow as she sweated like a plant. Dew slicked the back of her hand. You’re Genuine, she’d say. And then, suddenly, I’d understand.

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