In high school, you told me that you knew how to play the sitar, and I believed you for about two weeks. You liked to try on all my sunglasses in the middle of English class, especially the yellow ones because you said they made you look like Elton John. I was always asking if I could braid your hair. You let me once, and it looked like a mess, but you refused to take it down because you said you wanted your boyfriend to think you were an Elven princess.

I started driving you home from school when my brother ditched me for the bus. I lied and told you that your house was on my way, but really, we didn’t live anywhere near each other. I’m pretty sure you knew that too.

You were the only friend who genuinely didn’t care which CD I played in the car. You never knew any of the words, but you sang and thrashed your head against the window to Green Day. We listened to the Brady Bunch soundtrack once and you rolled down my passenger window and screamed at all the kids in the parking lot to have a Sunshine Day.

Everything you said made me laugh. Your dad threw your mattress down the stairs once. You were grounded for not eating a sandwich. You went on a date with this boy in South Carolina because you were in the back of your stepmom’s car singing out the window. He pulled up beside you at a stoplight and asked if he could buy you a pretzel.

One time someone at Walmart asked if we were sisters and you said yes, just because you could. “It’s our eyebrows,” you told me.

I was always asking you for advice about boys. We were sitting on the bench in the courtyard near the back of the high school after you and your boyfriend had broken up.

“Look, Emily,” you said. “Sometimes you think a guy is nice, and then he turns out to be the kind of person who acts like being sweaty is a personality trait, you know?”

“What?” I said, stifling a giggle.

You rolled your eyes. “You know what I mean,” you said.

“No, I don’t,” I said, and now I was really laughing, my face all pink and my breath escaping in short, curtailed gasps.

“I hate you, Emily,” you said. “I’ll deck you into outer space using my bare hands and a wooden spoon, you know that? I really hate you.”

“Well, I hate you more,” I smiled, because it was the truth.

Then we were both laughing, our guffaws echoing against the brick walls of the school, sopping tears sliding down both of our cheeks, and it was true, we really hated each other. You said you’d kill me. You know how much you have to love someone to hate them that badly?

Emily Clemente is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in English & Comparative Literature. Her work has previously been featured in literary publications such as Carolina Muse, Deep South Magazine, Every Day Fiction, and idiosyncrazy.

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