In Dreams, You Can Visit

The school hall is empty. It looks the same though. There is something wrong with it looking the same but I can’t recall what it means and I move on. The hallways are decorated with colorful artwork and special achievements. A solar system keeps track of finished book reports. I know each classroom and remember which teacher belonged there.

The bell rings and I watch kids appear, as if by magic, and the schoolyard is suddenly full of kids in uniform: navy blue slacks for the boys and plaid jumpers for the girls, both completed with white, button-up shirts.

A little blonde girl sees me through a window.

“Hey mister, come out n’ play!”

If it were only that easy.

“What’s your name?” I ask. I know it as she answers.

“Ashley.” We say it together.

There is something special about that name. Painful.

Ignorant of my thoughts, Ashley grabs my hands and pulls me down to her level. The sky goes dark.

“Don’t forget me.” She whispers.

I wake up abruptly, longing for another time, with tears on my face.

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