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      By Amy Anderson

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Scott sits at the empty table watching his sister, Maggie, network her way through each one of their party guests.  He can tell when she is meeting one of her fiancé’s relatives as she forces an even wider smile on her face, her eyes squinting with the slight chubbiness of her cheeks.  He watches it fade as the people walk away. She sighs and leans into her fiancé, Derek. His sister smiles and kisses Derek’s cheek.

Maggie catches Scott’s eyes and glares over at him then back to smiling at her fiancé.  Scott looks down at his hands in his lap instead, starts picking at a thread peeking out of the inseam of his black trousers.  

“Disgusting, isn’t it?” Justin says sitting down next to him, looking over at Scott’s sister.  

Justin’s grin looks almost sinister in the dim lighting of the dinner hall.  Scott knows that grin in all lighting, the one that says Justin’s planning something that might get both of them in trouble.  It’s what usually got them stuck in detention all throughout high school, even now, halfway through October of their senior year.

“I say,” Justin starts off, scanning the room then leaning in toward Scott. “I say, we steal a bottle of booze and blow this popsicle stand.  Whaddya say, Scottie?” Justin shakes Scott’s shoulder. “And don’t say no, because I already stole the booze.”


“It’s fucking freezing out here,” Justin says, pulling his legs up onto the bench.  

“You picked the spot, dumbass.” Scott rolls his eyes and hands the bottle of Puerto Rican rum back to Justin.  

They can still hear the orchestral music playing from inside the building from where they sit in the garden.  Scott could imagine his sister getting married here when the weather is warmer and everything’s in bloom. He’d probably be sitting in the front row, wearing a stuffy suit with a ridiculously colored tie that matched the décor around them.  He’d lie to himself, smiling through the whole ceremony only to end up where he is now, drinking rum with Justin.

“You okay?” Justin asks.

Justin’s blue eyes are calm under his dark furrowed brows.  “I just don’t want to be here for it,” Scott says taking the bottle back from Justin.

“Be here for what? The wedding?” Justin relaxes in his seat, his feet sliding off the edge of the bench.  “Honestly, I don’t blame you. Your sister’s a bitch.” Justin looks over at Scott and tries to give reassuring smile.  “Look, we’ve only got a few months left, then after that we’re outta here. You’ll get into Haverford, with their Strawberry telescope—”

“Strawbridge Observatory,” Scott interjects.

“That’s what I said.  Anyway, you’ll be best friends with all your professors, because that’s who you are and maybe even find yourself a boyfriend.  Who will, of course, need to make it through my rigorous approval process before he even takes you on your first real date.”

When Scott doesn’t say anything, Justin continues.  “Seriously, though. All of this,” he says waving his hands around.  “All of this is temporary. I mean, yeah, your bitch of a sister will get married and your crazy perfectionist of a family will expect you to do something with your life, but once you leave, you don’t have to come back.  After everything that you’ve been through, with the accident over the summer and the doctors not letting you come back for soccer season.”

“S’pose you’re right,” Scott says looking up at the dark sky.  He wishes that there were fewer lights around them so he could see the stars better.  

“I’m always right,” Justin says.

“Not always…” Scott says still looking up at the sky.  “It wouldn’t be my first real date,” Scott says looking over at Justin with a curt smile on his face.  

“So, I was right,” Justin exclaims with a laugh.  “You were totally seeing some dude over the summer! And before you ask the obvious question of how the hell I knew, let me just remind you that I am your best friend and I’m not as dumb as most think.”

Scott laughs, rolling his eyes.  “I don’t think you’re dumb…”

“And that, is why you’re my best friend.”  Justin’s cheeks are pink and Scott doesn’t know if it’s from the cold or from the booze.  Either way, he’s happy for a moment.

They sit there listening to the music play, muted by the grey, rock walls.  Scott thinks about leaving all of this, he wonders if that means leaving Justin too.  He doesn’t deserve him. A lot of people think that Justin is just another dumb jock planning on getting through his life with good looks and deathless sarcasm.  

“So, why didn’t I ever get to meet him?”  Justin asks, pulling Scott back to Earth. “The guy you were seeing?”

“Plausible deniability,” Scott says.  “In case my family ever put you on the spot…but after the accident, it didn’t even matter.”  

“You never told me what happened,” Justin says quietly.  “I remember your dad calling my house asking if I knew where you were...then later your sister called and said that you were on your way to the hospital.  You were still unconscious when they finally let me in to see you. I walked in and your entire family just turned and glared at me.” Justin wipes his nose on his sleeve.  “Whatever happened…it was pretty clear they didn’t want me asking any questions and then when you were a bit better, you didn’t even mention it.”

“There’s good reason for that,” Scott says. “The guy I was seeing, Aaron, he was there when it happened, I think, but when I woke up, he’d just disappeared like he was never even there to begin with.” Scott bites his bottom lip staring at the ground.  “I want to show you something; maybe you can help me figure it out.” Scott stands up from the bench. “But I’m driving; you’ve had a bit too much.”

Justin looks up at Scott with pink cheeks and a smirk on his face as he sets the bottle down before he gets up to follow Scott out to the parking lot.


“Had I known we were going on a hike,” Justin says climbing over a fallen tree.  “I would’ve worn boots and my shitty work pants to your sister’s engagement party…bet she woulda loved that.”

Scott keeps going, and even though it’s been over a month since he’s been there, he still knows the way through the woods from the playground where he parked the car.

“You know, you still haven’t told me where we’re going.” Justin says breathlessly, following behind Scott through the woods.  

“How’s soccer practice been going?” Scott says changing the subject.  His shoulders hunch forward, his head hanging low, watching the ground with every step. “Sorry I stopped going to the games, just sucked watching all you guys play when I couldn’t. You guys have been winning though, which is good.”

“Practice is a bit boring without you,” Justin replies.  “No one to make fun of coach with me when he goes off on his tangents.”

The cold air stabs at their throats as they breathe in.  Scott’s fingers feel numb and he curls them into the palms of his hands.   The tree line stops abruptly and there is gravel at their feet as the ground inclines up to the railroad tracks and drops off the other side into the ravine.

“What is this place?” Justin breathes out.  

“This is where it happened,” Scott says looking up toward the tracks.  He walks up the incline, the gravel shifting under his feet until he’s standing in the middle of the railroad tracks.  “Aaron and I met online. Talked about everything, sports, video games, music, things that were going on at home. We met face to face at a diner two towns over.  He said that he was taking a year off before going back to college. Called me out for lying about my age.” The wind picks up and Justin buries his mouth in the scarf tucked into his coat. “He was okay with waiting, said he really wanted to get to know me.” The ground drops down about twenty feet to a small stream that runs parallel to the tracks.  The water is half-frozen now.

The remnant of a building scatters whole and broken red bricks across the ground.  Only two walls remain. Brick steps leading up to an empty space on one side. Even in the middle of the tracks, bits of the red bricks mix in with the gravel at their feet.

“I don’t get it,” Justin mumbles into his scarf.  “What happened here, Scott?”

“That’s the thing,” Scott says looking back at Justin.  “I don’t remember.” He knows he sounds crazy. “I remember being here with him and the next thing I know, I woke up in the hospital.  But something happened here, Justin. Something happened and he left me here to die.  If the cops hadn’t found my car at the playground—” Scott cuts himself off.

“Scott, I think we should go back to the party or just go home,” Justin says, burying his hands in his pockets.

“I want to find him, Justin.  I’ve spent the last month and a half trying to act normal, like my head doesn’t feel like it’s about to explode.” Scott can feel the icy tears fall down his cheeks.  “I didn’t tell you because my family…my mom, she didn’t want anyone to know how stupid I was for letting it happen in the first place, let alone that I was with a guy.”

“But this,” Scott says pointing to the ground.  “I want to find out what happened. I want to remember.  I’m tired of feeling ashamed for this and—” Scott’s head hangs.  “I’m just tired of everything. I feel like I’m going to lose my mind if I keep ignoring it.  I have nothing but good memories of him…of Aaron, but something changed that night. And I feel guilty for loving him, because I think I’m supposed to hate him.”


“I need you to help me with this, J. You told me that I can leave and that I don’t have to come back, but there is still a piece of me that’s stuck here.” The wind settles as Scott stares at Justin in the middle of the train tracks.  “I know I dropped a lot on you,” Scott says calmly, “but watching my sister tonight, seeing the way that my mom and dad look at me every day, they don’t want me to be happy because of who I am.

“They tried to keep it all a secret so people wouldn’t look at them differently.  I feel like they know something that I don’t…something that I can’t remember, and I want to know what it is.  This is important to me, J.” His best friend is standing in front of him with worry in his eyes. “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?” Scott’s voice cracks.

Justin breathes out slowly and swallows.  “I—I don’t know. I mean, you haven’t talked about this at all for a month and a half and now you want me to help you track down your ex-boyfriend and you think your family is lying to you about it.  It’s all just a bit much, I guess.”

“I hardly saw you all summer. I was with Aaron and he became everything to me.  When you were working or at the gym, I was with him. Hell, I know you were at the gym when it happened, because I know more about what you did that night than what happened to myself.”

Justin shifts on his feet. “You think that I haven’t been keeping an eye on you since the day you got out of the hospital? I know how much this changed you, but…but I think there’s a better way to go about doing this.  I want to help you, Scott, but if looking for this guy means that it hurts you even more then—”

“You know what? This is why I didn’t tell you in the first place.  I didn’t want you to look at me the same way they do.” Scott looks down shaking his head.  “I should’ve never brought you here.” The wind picks up again bouncing Scott’s hair across his eyes.

“You want to find something that you lost, and I get that,” Justin says. “But I think we just need to take some time to figure this out.  You’ve been thinking about it for over a month, I’ve only known for a few minutes.”

The two boys stare at each other.  Justin’s blue eyes are soft and worried, making Scott feel like Justin is talking him away from the ledge.  

“I think it’s time to go home,” Justin says quietly.


The drive to the diner seems longer than it did the last time.  Scott remembers coming Shay’s Diner the first time to meet Aaron; the way his palms were slick on the steering wheel for most of the car ride, he wiped them on his jeans over and over until he finally made it inside.  He has the slightest tremor this time around, as he pulls into a parking space on the side of the building.

It feels different being back there again.  This was his and Aaron’s spot before they found the area by the train tracks.  Scott hears the familiar bell sound as he walks in the front door and he sees a waitress behind the counter that looks familiar but he can’t remember her name. He feels like he used to know it.  

He steps up to the counter and out of the corner of his eye, he sees a couple sitting in the booth that was his and Aarons only a couple months ago.  

“Scott?” the waitress behind the counter says and Scott brain snaps back into the moment.  “Haven’t seen you here in a while, how’s everything going, how’s Aaron?” She smiles at him.

“Oh uh…Hi,” Scott reads the nametag clipped above the pocket of her shirt.  “Hi, Anne, I uh… was actually wondering if you’d seen him at all…if…if Aaron had come in here at all lately?”

Anne thinks for a moment.  “I don’t think I’ve seen him since the last time the two of you were here.” Anne looks at Scott. “Is everything okay? He isn’t missing or anything, is he?”

Scott looks down at the black and white linoleum floor.  “Yeah, sort of,” Scott says. He rubs the back of his neck as Anne watches him.  “I don’t… I don’t really know. But uh… do you have a pen I could borrow?” He looks up at her.

“Oh, sure,” Anne reaches into her apron and hands a pen to Scott, who fishes through his coat pockets for a scrap of paper.  He nervously writes his name and phone number down and slides it across the counter.

“If you see him, could you let me know?” Scott can feel his hands shaking when he backs away from the counter and Anne nods, forcing a smile over Scott’s odd behavior.

Scott turns and goes out the door, the bell ringing overhead as the cold wind hits his face from outside.  Maybe he’d have more luck at the police station.


Scott walks into homeroom a week later on Monday morning, dropping his bag and sitting next to Justin. “Apparently, I was an unreliable witness,” he says.


“Well, I couldn’t remember what happened when I woke up in the hospital and when the cops questioned me no one knew that I even had a boyfriend so when I blurted out that my boyfriend was there with me, no one had any clue what I was talking about.”

“Are you okay?” Justin asks in a serious tone.  “Like aside from all this crap, are you feeling okay? You look like you’re somewhere between passing out from exhaustion and vibrating off the chair from how much caffeine must be running through your veins.”

“Fine is as fine does,” Scott says nonchalantly.  

“But you’re not fine, Scott.”

Scott shrugs.  “No one has any answers and everyone thinks I’m crazy.  I just want to find Aaron. I tried looking for his profile on the site where we met; it wasn’t there anymore.  I even went to the diner where we first met in person; no one had seen him there. None of it makes sense and I haven’t been sleeping, so yeah, I look like shit.”

“Well, maybe you should take step back from all of whatever it is that you’ve been doing for the last week or so… you aren’t just going to magically remember what happened.”  Justin whispers and he sits back in his chair.

“I know what I’m doing,” Scott says turning away from Justin.


Scott laughs as he trips over his own feet trying to keep up with Aaron.  “I don’t get why we have to go through all this just to hang out,” Scott says ducking under a low branch. “I feel like we spend half our time just getting to the damn place.”

Aaron shakes his head and chuckles to himself.  “You were the one that said your parents couldn’t find out.”

“I recall saying that I would prefer if they didn’t,” Scott corrects him.  “Shit at home is hard enough as is without my white-bread family finding out about you.  Christ, they almost kicked me out of the house for being gay.” Scott keeps his head down looking at the ground, but it’s getting darker and harder to see the resemblance of a path that the two boys have made over the last two months.  “I think that they think there’s still some hope that I’ll turn out ‘normal’. They might know I’m gay but they don’t really want to know the details.”

Aaron stops, turning to face Scott, who almost runs right into him.  “I think that you worry too much,” Aaron says. He smiles and Scott can’t help but smile back at him.  

This is it, Scott thinks.  He likes the idea of Aaron being in his future.  The two of them renting an apartment near campus, coming home and cooking dinner.  Aaron taking Scott to the golf course and watching him fail miserably. Scott didn’t pay much attention to sports other than soccer until he met Aaron, though at the time, he didn’t really think golf was a sport.  But he knew all sorts of things about golf, even cheered for Justin Rose in the Olympics. Aaron said that the Brits would get it over the Americans and he was right.

Aaron puts his arm around Scott’s shoulders and places a quick kiss on his cheek.  “Come on. Just a little further,” Aaron says, pulling Scott close and guiding him toward the railroad tracks, where they’d sit and watch the stars.

“I was thinking about telling Justin,” Scott says. “He’d be happy for us and I feel like I haven’t seen him in forever.  As nice as this has been… I really miss him, you know?”

Without saying a word, Aaron’s arm falls from around Scott’s shoulder and he continues toward the tracks, Scott follows behind him.

Scott jerks awake in his bed. His head and heart pounding.  His sheets are sweaty and clinging to his body. It feels like a dream and reality at the same time.  The woods around them, Aaron holding him close like that…Scott’s hand goes to his cheek where Aaron had kissed him and it dawns on him that it wasn’t a dream.  His heart races even faster and he wraps his arms around his head trying to get the throbbing pain to stop. He feels the tears falling down his face, soaking into his pillow.  His muscles hurt. Vibrating and pulsing inside his body.

He reaches over to the nightstand where his phone is charging.  The light from the screen makes his sore eyes burn as he scrolls through his contacts, leaving a smudge of tears beneath his thumb.  He puts the phone to his ear and hears ringing.

“Scottie?” Justin’s groggy voice says on the other end.

Scott tries to take in a deep breath, but the air hits his lungs and comes out shakily.  

“Scott, you alright?”  

He can hear the sound of Justin moving in his bed.

“I—I remembered something,” Scott chokes out.  He squeezes his eyes shut as hard as he can trying to focus his mind. “I’m—I’m scared, J.” The phone shakes against his ear.

“Scottie, hey. Just sit tight. You’re home right? Window unlocked?” Justin tries to stay calm on the other end of the phone.


“Alright. I’ll be right over.”


Scott doesn’t even move from his bed when he sees the window slide open.  They’d done that since they were kids. The tree outside Scott’s window was close enough to the roof of the wrap around porch, that it wasn’t all that hard to make the climb. But when Justin was having problems at home, he used to go to Scott’s house late at night. It happened so often that Scott just stopped locking the window all together.

Justin takes off his heavy coat, kicks off his sneakers, and walks over crouching down next to the bed, where he can only see Scott’s face, where he’s on his side, arms holding his head.  

Scott can see Justin’s eyes, even in the dim lighting.  

“How ya feeling, buddy?” Justin asks quietly.  He puts his hand on Scott’s shoulder and Scott just shakes his head and begins to cry again.


“It was weird,” Scott says, sitting up in bed now, his shoulder leaning slightly against Justin sitting in bed next to him.  His fingers graze over the fading scar at his hairline. The lamp on the nightstand casts a shadow across the two boys. “It wasn’t even a bad memory,” he continues, “It just felt like my body was trying to set itself on fire when I woke up.” Scott picks at the small, loose piece of skin on his index finger.  “Me and him were just walking to the tracks…I guess I told him that I wanted to tell you about the two of us.”


“And that was it,” Scott shrugs. “I woke up and my head was pounding, and pulse was through the fucking roof and I felt like someone had thrown a bucket of water on me, I was sweating so much.”

“Still think you’re fine?” Justin asks casually.


“You know, I was doing some research on this place,” Aaron says when they make it to the tracks.  He wanders over toward what remained of the brick building, crouching down in the debris. “I guess this used to be a sandwich shop-convenience store type of thing, but it was so close to the tracks that kids used to try and hop on the trains from the roof and a couple of them got killed.  So, the owner just closed the place up and had most of it knocked down. Guess he didn’t want the death of those dumb kids on his conscious.”

Scott stands back a couple yards as Aaron stares at the building.  Two walls supporting nothing but each other and the mile-a-minute weed growing over them.

“What did you think of this place before I told you that?” Aaron asks turning back around to look at Scott.  “You probably just thought it was the place we came to when we wanted to act like the rest of the world didn’t exist. When in reality, a bunch of kids died right over there,” Aaron says pointing to where the wall of the building was missing along the edge of the tracks.  “This whole place used to be built up more, but now, no one even knows about it. People forget things pretty easily. Especially when it involves things like dead kids.”


Scott goes into the bathroom to get aspirin after Sunday dinner is over, he can hear his mom saying goodbye to Maggie and her fiancé at the door.  He sees the bottle of Oxycodone in there from when he got his wisdom teeth out last year. His brain racks against his skull but he goes for the aspirin as his father appears in the open doorway.  

“You almost fell asleep during dinner tonight,” his father says sternly.  

“Yeah, sorry. School’s been rough,” Scott says trying to avoid the argument.  He turns to face his father.

“It’s been getting cold in here at night,” his father says knowingly.  “You’ve been leaving the house a lot. Clearly you aren’t sleeping, so I just want to know how all that fits together, Scott?  Because if you’ve been sneaking off with anyone, I won’t have it. Do you understand me? Whatever you’ve been thinking, feeling—end it, now.” The calmness in his father’s tone makes him take a step back, further cornering himself in the bathroom.

Scott nods.

“Your mother and I want you home after school.  No more of this nonsense. Derek’s parents will be here next week for dinner and I won’t have you make a mess of things.  Already had to explain things when you went running off at the engagement party. I won’t make anymore excuses for you. Understood?”

Scott nods.

“What was that?” his father asks, leaning his ear toward Scott.  

“Yes, I understand,” Scott says.

“Good,” his father says and disappears down the hallway to his study.  

Scott sends Justin a quick text on the way to his room. “Is the weekend over yet?”

Scott lays in bed and rolls over into the empty space.  He looks up when there’s a light knock at the window and he sees Justin push the window up.  He closes the window behind him and tiptoes across the room, sitting on the floor next to the bed.  He pulls out playing cards and starts dealing them out. Anything to take Scott’s mind off everything that was going on.

Scott’s eyelids start to get heavy. “I don’t want to be crazy,” he mumbles.

He wakes up the next morning and Justin is gone.  A note sitting on the nightstand, “See you at school.”

Scott rifles through his backpack, when his teacher asks for their homework.  He pulls out his books, getting ready to make an excuse for why de doesn’t have it, but he opens the front of his notebook to find his completed homework assignment just sitting there, written in a close enough version of his handwriting.  He hands the paper to the teacher and looks to where Justin is sitting next to him with dark circles under his eyes.


Justin texts Scott that he is coming over. They hadn’t seen each other since the Thursday before Christmas and it’s the day before they go back to school from break.  Justin climbs up the tree, his gloves making it hard to get the proper grip on the branches, but he manages not to fall.

The light on the nightstand is knocked over, the light pointing at the wall, and Scott’s not in his bed.  

“Scott?” Justin whispers, looking around the room. He sees a foot sticking out from the other side of the bed on the floor. “Scott?” Justin says walking up to the motionless body on the floor.  Scott’s dark hair sticks out all over the place, looking as if he was trying to pull it out of his head. Justin kneels down next to him, hitting the mostly empty bottle of rum with his foot. “Scott?” he says again and he gives Scott’s shoulder a small shake, breathing a sigh of relief when Scott groans.

This was usually the other way around.  It was usually Scott pulling Justin off the floor at some party they went to, putting him fully clothed into the shower.  Sacrificing a garbage can to the two or three times that Justin would vomit throughout the night.

Justin gets Scott awake enough to sit up against the dresser and goes into the bathroom, filling the cup on the sink with water, setting it down next to his friend.  “You’re a fucking idiot, you know that?” Justin whispers, but he knows Scott didn’t hear him.


“I think we should go back, Aaron,” Scott says, shifting awkwardly on his feet.

“What? You don’t like it here anymore?  Don’t want to make-out and groan my name as I put my hands down your pants like last time, Scottie?” Aaron says.

“Why are you being such a jackass? Why’d you have to ruin it?” Scott says turning around to head back toward the park.

Scott wakes up in his bed. Looking over, he can see Justin sitting on the floor, his back leaning against the bedframe, the empty bottle of rum in his hands.

“I wish I never stole that bottle at the engagement party,” Justin says quietly. “I finished this one after you puked for the second time last night.  And no, you missed the trash can, thank you very much,” Justin says coldly.

Scott tightens the blankets around himself.  “’m sorry,” he chokes out. His throat feels raw, his head pounding against his skull.

“This is over, Scott.  I’m not going to sit around and watch you destroy yourself.” Justin stands up and shoves the empty bottle in his backpack.  “I’ll throw this out on my way home.”

“I’m gonna find him,” Scott mutters.

“It doesn’t matter anymore, Scott.  It hasn’t for a while. Call me if you just want to hang out or something.”  Justin opens the window and the cold air shoots into Scott’s room.


“Scott, don’t leave.  I was only kidding,” Aaron says grabbing Scott’s hand.  

“I just want to go home,” Scott says trying to pull out of Aaron’s grip.

“Why the fuck would you want to go back there? You said it yourself, they’d throw you out if they find out.  They don’t care about you, Scott.”

“I’m just tired. I want to go home,” Scott rips his hand away from Aaron’s hold on him, but Aaron just grabs his arm instead, squeezing harder than before, making Scott wince.

“No, come on, Scott.  We can stay here just a little longer.  We can look up at the stars, Scott,” Aaron says in a lighter tone.

“Aaron, let go of me.”


Justin leaves his car at the park, shoving his hands into the pockets of his coat.  Scott’s text said to meet him at the tracks. He walks quickly through the woods, brows knitted together, with his hands shoved in his pockets.

Scott stands there staring up at the dark sky, when Justin makes it to the clearing. “He wanted to look at the stars, J.” Scott says.  

“Why the hell are we here again, Scott?” Justin asks walking up to his friend.  

“I just thought that by coming here, I could remember what happened, but—,” Scott says turning to face Justin.  Scott’s face is pale and his eyes are dark.

“I hope you never remember,” Justin says abruptly.  

Scott looks at him. “What?”

“I hope you never remember,” Justin repeats.  “You’ve spent all this time looking for this guy, thinking that you’re going to find out what happened that night. You almost died, but now, you’re letting it kill you for good.  I hope you never find that fucking bastard and I hope that you never remember what happened here.”

“I need to know,” Scott says.

“You already do know, Scott.  He got angry and he hit you, probably smashed you in the head with one of these fucking bricks and left you in that fucking ravine to die. That’s what he did to you, Scott.”

Justin breathes heavily.  “It’s over, he’s gone. But you, me…we’re here. I’m not asking you to forget about it, I’m just asking you to not let it become you.  Just let it go, Scott. Please.”

Scott scans the area around them.  The broken pieces of red brick mixing in with the stark gray of the small round stones. “I just want to know why,” Scott says slowly. “Me and Aaron, we were happy.  I loved him, J. And I don’t know what changed; I don’t know what made him do it.”

“A person that loves you doesn’t do that to you, Scott. So, why should you care so much about someone that didn’t care about you?”

Scott looks up at the stars; he can pick out the three stars in Orion’s belt.  He remembers coming all the way out here just to get a clear look at the sky with less light pollution.  When he lowers his head, Justin is still watching him.

“Do you think things could’ve been different?  Like maybe if one thing didn’t happen, none of it would’ve happened?” Scott asks.

Justin looks around them.  The train tracks, the embankment, the broken brick building.

“If you could go back and do it all over again?” Justin thinks about it for a moment before he continues. “I think that you would still end up here.”

When Scott turns, he sees the only two walls left of the brick building.  The cold and the snow got rid of the mile-a-minute weed for a while, but Scott knows it will be back, weeds like that are hard to get rid of.  

He walks to the edge, looking down the embankment into the ravine.  He sees where the water used to be, where it would flow around the rocks and carry on to empty out into the river that runs through town.  He steps closer to the edge, watching as the small stones tumble down into the empty creek bed. “It’s a long way down,” Scott says.

“Yeah…it is.”

Scott hears the gravel grind and shift under Justin’s feet as he walks over, the sound of soft rubber soles moving against the stone.

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