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  • Back in middle school. At lunch I was barefoot and possibly missing my pants. I went to the office to find the books I'd lost. They had a whole stack of abandoned notebooks, filled up by potentially interesting people, that I wanted to steal, but I had too much to carry as it was. I'd come back and steal them later. On the breezeway, Laurence Coppedge walked behind me, huge as ever. I was afraid to talk to him.
  • Sometimes I was the girl who jumped in the mud, and sometimes I was just watching her. It started when I made him stay out in the rain with me, and then I realized how much I loved mud. Why was everyone afraid of it? I sat in the mud ditch and watched people hurry past. I found a deeper ditch and sat there, mud up to my neck. Jimmy was the only one who understood, and thank God he'd grown old enough to be legal because I had such a crush on him, but he never knew.

    Jimmy sat with me in the mud and fought off the assholes who made fun. He came up behind me and put his arm around my neck.

    It was Jimmy who came up with the game of mudracing, using just our bodies. In deep enough mud it was like we were swimming, we became buoyant. One of us stood with knees locked, and the other ran behind, pushing. We propelled each other down the long hallways, four feet deep in beautiful smooth pudding-like mud. We never did get it on our faces. We danced into the bathroom to clean up, then got filthy all over again.

    Later, we helped carry containers from one end of the cafeteria to the other, with a long train of silver serving carts linked together. I heard something awful on the radio and shushed everyone. They were talking about how they expected it to be a peaceful holiday, and I realized it was April 1, and I was back in time, which meant this was Pearl Harbor Day, and I wanted to warn everyone what was going to happen but I knew I couldn't, but just then the radio exploded into bad news and Jimmy was instantly at my side, hand on my hair.