Kit Always Used to Think She Was Cool
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Kit told the story the same, every time he told the story, every time he thought about her. He heard the click of heels in his head, determinedly strutting on the linoleum of the school corridors. Teachers looking down their nose at her even as she towered at six feet; dismissively putting on mascara as they spoke about standards and responsibilities and expectations. That attitude when teachers confronted her somewhat disappeared in the face of her peers – they were mean to her, to say the least.

But Kit always used to think she was cool.

They were young, and that was good, but it was far from the best years of their lives, for both of them. Kit was the awkward weedy kid who looked like an Alsatian puppy – big hands, big feet, gangly limbs that made him clumsy and ragdoll when he was punched into the lockers. She was taller than him, trying harder than him, with expensive make-up and long hair and tights that covered the hair on the legs she wasn’t yet allowed to shave. People used to challenge her all the time. They called her a queer, a fag, Dr. Frank N. Furter, other names too gross and hateful to say out loud.

But Kit always used to think she was cool.

Kit went home left school for the day and went to the graveyard. He sat amongst the dandelions and thought of everything and nothing. He thought of the monster that was waiting for him at home. He thought about explaining bruises in PE. He thought about her. He stood, touched a familiar gravestone for luck as he passed it, pressed his hand hard to the material and let it dig into his palm so it was bleeding slightly. Punishment, maybe, for thinking of her. He paused under a familiar tree to speak to a spirit he had hugged many moons ago, before he knew this was all wrong and he sincerely thought love would protect him, when he thought love made the world go around. The people at school offered no love. Not to him, especially not to her. She was the weirdo, the outcast. Not a girl, not a boy. Not fitting in anywhere.

But Kit always used to think she was cool.

As if some telepathic power summoned her as her familiar form passed through his thoughts, she appeared at the gate of the graveyard. And that was the most amazing thing about her – that it was her, and that she was standing at the gate. Kit approached her slowly, blood oozing from his newest split lip, eyes fixed on her as she stood, quiet, expectant, maybe of insults. He had only seen her in the corridors and some classes, after all – they weren’t friends. Yet.

But Kit always used to think she was cool.

He reached her, and held out his hand, the one that wasn’t gravel-burnt. He meant it as a greeting, shaking hands as if they were stuffy adults in a meeting, but she took his hand and held it, instead, her manicured nails gently pressed into his skin as their fingers interlocked, and she finally fit in somewhere. They fit, palm to palm, eye to eye, shyly questioning – ‘Is this okay?’ and when neither said anything, both concluded that yes, yes it was. Kit came close to her side, gently brushed aside a tangle of hair to whisper in an ear that was perfected with a large hoop earring.

“I always used to think you were cool, Dawn.”

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