IR Online is an international undergraduate literary journal produced by the Literary Editing and Publishing class at Indiana University, Bloomington. Issue 3 was planned and compiled by Emily Corwin’s class in Spring, 2018.
I have a memory of us together in the teacup ride at the state fair a block away from my house, where the cups were advertising Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. It was freshman year of high school. We grabbed the wheel in the middle and spun, and our macaroni bowl turned and turned, and without a real warning it got fast, fast so that we slid around in our seats and our laughter twisted in the air and our fingers tied knots on the wheel. We slapped each other’s wrists and bumped our knees and pulled our heads—I couldn’t tell whose hair blew in my face or whose hand waved in front of me; it all flatlined, just a mess of limbs and screams. We melted, dripped onto the floor, mixed together, came up and leaked out the sides. There wasn’t a me and a you. It was just us, swirling in the macaroni bowl.
I met you bloody, a year before. You sat in the road, making a noise somewhere between a moan and a scream. What I don’t think I ever told you is that I saw you doing it before you fell. Seated at the window, drinking milk, I watched you glide down the street, standing on the seat of your bike, glinting light into my eyes when you leaned into a turn, smiling—you were smiling—and finally slipping, crashing so the bike toppled and tossed you onto the blacktop.
I found out later you were a talented gymnast, but when I called the ambulance I didn’t know your name. I dragged you and your bike out of the road and I remember the soft whimpers you gave as your ankle bounced along, the achy complaints of heat and pain, of being unable to tell where one stopped and the other began. The ambulance arrived and I hopped in. No one tried to kick me out, so I rode with you to the hospital.