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I remember when we children and I would follow you around everywhere. I would wear what you wore, like what you liked, do what you did. I remember we would play foursquare underneath the ceiling of branches and leaves. I was never particularly fond of the game, but I didn’t care. We would start at the end of the line and sit on the sprawling roots and you would talk about your plans to be rich, famous, and change the world. I would nod along, vowing to be your most ardent supporter.

I remember in middle school, when we were finally able to pick our classes, I followed you and took orchestra. I watched, with a twinge of jealousy, as you played the cello effortlessly, as if it was easy as breathing. I practiced for hours each week, and yet, my viola would only shriek.

I remember in high school when you dropped orchestra. I was relieved, but our old teacher was disappointed. I watched as you fell for guy after guy after guy. Some, I hated for what they did to you. Others I tried not to feel for the same way you did.

I remember when we became adults and went our separate ways. I lost contact with you as you married and had children. You flew up the corporate ladder while I lounged near the bottom. I married after you, had children after you, and obtained promotions long after you. Even though we were so far apart, I still followed you, never escaping your shadow. Imagine my dismay when you had even paid off your student loans before me.

I remember when we grew old and reconnected at a reunion. We would chat every now and then but you kept your distance, busy with your life. I retired after you, had grandchildren after you. At least I went to a nursing home after you.

And now, as they lower your casket into the ground, I know that I will soon follow.


R.L. Thorner is a high school student and aspiring storyteller.


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