We were business partners.

Sold friendship for fifty cents.

Choosing bracelet-colors cost extra.

The only friendship that ever mattered was free.

I’m not sure why you gave it to me.


Remember the day you taught me to skip

Stones in the mud-hole down the street?

Never thought much about mud, until then.

You wore that grey jacket.

Your rain-slicked hair dripped over your eyes.

I wish I still had “something that cool” by my house.


Sometimes we’d sneak inside our concrete tunnel.

Exchange glances.

Share secrets.

The pebbles ground into my palms.

They formed dents in my skin.

They didn’t cut me the way the bullet did.


You salvaged me from youth’s riptide.

Reached for my hand in the dark

Chasm between our worlds

And pulled me closer.

Some said it was too close.

I sucked at skipping stones.


Remember the night we danced in my living room?

You wished your parents would never come.

I didn’t believe in third dimensions,

Or I would have smuggled you

The same way we smuggled those cinnamon toothpicks.

Hid you in that guarded

Pocket, where I’ve preserved your picture.


Instead, our parents jolted our tunnel.

Shattered the concrete.

Ripped velcro

Until it bled.

The scars still shed tears.

But the truth is,

Fate knew that if I was there,

You never would’ve pulled the trigger.


© All Rights Reserved Caroline Adele O’Brien