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When Alex recieved the lined-paper invitation, with almost chicken-scratch handwriting saying ‘bring your radio and jonas’ and neater handwriting ‘please and thank you.’, she knew who sent it. It sent an genuine shiver down her spinal cord. Within the next 2, maybe 3, minutes, Jonas was on speaker phone.
“Yeah, Jonas, it’s like a buddy reunion or something.” She smiled at the thought of it, staring down at the invitation. “Knowing Ren’s parties, I guess it’ll just be us featuring hot rap duo Ren and Nona.” Jonas laughed. But a thought struck Alex, like a sudden lead pipe to her physical brain. Clarissa. The one she left behind. Alex had tried so hard to forget about the island. And what she had to do. Alex shook her head, “Anyway, you in? I’ll pick up up before it and we can grab some fun-party-shit.”
“Yeah, Alex, I’m in.” Alex hung up, setting her phone, face down, on her dresser. She held the invite a bit tighter, creating thin creases within the paper. Ren’s penmanship glared at her with a location her mind wouldn’t let her recognize. All at once, she was up. On two separate occasions had she received an invite that had said the same basic thing; she had begun digging through boxes of pictures and scrapbooks, the one labelled ‘highschool’ in teal sharpie. She had found prom flowers, the pins she wore on the last day of senior year; she found 5 unfinished friendship bracelets (that smelt like seawater) in teal, yellow, green and purple respectively. At the bottom of the box is where the previous invitations sat. In the same shitty handwriting Ren’s had since 6th grade. The one on top was labelled for her senior year. She put that one in the pile that now sat next to the box containing four years of memories.
In the empty box, the paper bored into her head. She compared the invite from today to the one from junior year.
Fort Milner.
The metaphysical, abandoned military fort.
Alex stuffed today’s invite in her pocket. She’s going. She’s picking up Jonas and she’s boarding that shitty boat with Sea Captain Karen. She’s going to sit on that shitty beach and throw a shitty rock at Ren and listen to shitty music on the shitty radio.
She isn’t going to be reminded of Clarissa. Or what happened junior year. Or the fear she felt. Or how she felt like she’d die. Or the therapy her mom got her after that night.
She’s going to have fun.