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  • i.
    She likes to blast the Arctic Monkeys with her windows lowered in the small town she drives through on her way home from school. The women with their white hair and their little dogs glare at the girl in the blue car that’s pulsating with the beat of Alex Turner’s voice. She looks out at them, her hands cold and purple from hanging out the window in 40-degree weather, and waves. The women scoff. “Youth.” And they carry on, walking their little dogs.

    ii.
    She drives on the cracked dirt road, belting loud lyrics and drumming the steering wheel like a boy she used to know did when he drove. Alex’s words resonate with her and she smiles at a high note while looking at the very specific way light hits the fields at 1:14 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon.

    iii.
    She parks in front of the crab apple tree and unplugs her music from the cassette jack, the only thing that will allow her to play her iPod in a vehicle from 1999. She runs her cold and purple hand over the hood of her car named after a Peanuts cartoon character and sidesteps the gift her cat left on the front stoop of the wooden house in the middle of the woods.

    iv.
    She drops her bag on the quilted futon in her attic-like room covered in posters and playbills at the end of the hallway. The words from maps and rejection letters interspersed amongst the posters and playbills stare down at her and judge her ribs and thighs as she steps out of a jumper and trousers three sizes too big.

    v.
    She pulls open the map of the world on the shower curtain and steps into the brown tub with dead spiders around the drain. The bathroom smells like shampoo and the water is too hot and the pressure is crap. It trickles over her sodden curls and she rubs the suds away from her eyes and instead toward the crease of her back where they make the floor slippery even with the shower mat. Her hands turn red with relentless water hot enough to make tea with. Just the way she likes it.

    vi.
    She takes a long while to dress in her room that is cold with impending winter. She sits on the quilted futon in her white terry-cloth hand-me-down robe two sizes too big and answers messages from a boy who she’s not even sure why she likes because he listens to country music and has never seen the film, Submarine. But he has soft eyes and a pleasant voice and waves and grins when he sees her in the hallway.

    vii.
    She likes to blast the Arctic Monkeys in her room that smells like September but feels like December where it drowns out the birds and crickets and peepers out the window that haven’t checked their calendars. She listens to the lyrics again, and likes to fancy herself romantic.
    In reality, she’s just sad.

    Noa Urbaitel has been writing with Young Writers Project since 6th grade and is now a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg, Vermont. She hopes to attend Barnard College in the fall and plans to continue writing poetry and prose throughout college.
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