Today Tonight Tomorrow(10)

“Should I keep this?” She holds up her WHS gym T-shirt. We had to stage an intervention to get her to wash it sophomore year because she kept forgetting to bring it home.

“No!” Mara and I say in unison. Mara aims her phone at Kirby, who poses as though she’s waltzing with the T-shirt.

“Sophomore gym was a special kind of torture,” I say. “I can’t believe they wouldn’t let us waive it.”

“You wanted to waive it,” Kirby corrects. “I for one enjoyed discovering my hidden talent for badminton.”

Oh. Huh. I must have assumed because I remember hating it, that they did too. But I guess it was only McNair and me making a case to the counselor about changing our schedules.

If I used to be better friends with Kirby, it’s faded a little since she and Mara became a couple. But that’s natural. While they spend plenty of time alone, for the most part, we’re just as close as we were in middle school.

Across the hall is that trophy case with the plaque of valedictorian names. It says something about our school that this is what’s front and center—not the football or basketball trophies, but our academic achievements. At Westview, it’s frowned upon if you don’t take at least one AP, and not Music Theory, since everyone knows Mr. Davidson uses it as an excuse to play his shitty jam band’s records. He offers extra credit for going to one of his shows. Kirby and I went sophomore year when she took the class, and let me just say I could have gone my entire life without seeing a middle-aged teacher rip off his sweaty T-shirt onstage and fling it into the audience.

Mara turns the phone on me, and I hug my sweater as tightly as I can. “This boob stain doesn’t need to be immortalized on Instagram.”

Kirby waves the T-shirt at me. “Hello, perfectly good T-shirt right here. I won a lot of games of badminton in this shirt.”

“You can barely see the stain.” Mara says it so sweetly, it almost doesn’t sound like a lie. Then her jaw falls open. “Kirby Kunthea Taing. Is that a condom?”

“From health class last year!” she says, holding up what is definitely a condom. “They were giving them out, and I didn’t want to be rude.…”

Mara hides a laugh behind a curtain of wavy blond hair. “I’m pretty sure neither of us needs it.”

“You want it?” Kirby asks me. “It has spermicide.”

“No, Kirby, I don’t want your old health-class condom.” If I need one anytime soon, I keep a box in my dresser, tucked behind my period underwear. “Besides, it’s probably expired.”

She peers at it. “Not until September.” She unzips my backpack and drops it inside, patting the backpack once she zips it up again. “You’ve got three months to find a worthy suitor.”

With a roll of my eyes, I offer Mara the last chip in the bag, but she shakes her head. Kirby tosses her gym shirt and some other tchotchkes into a nearby trash can. Every so often, a group races down the hall and shouts, “SENIORS!” and we whoop back at them. We trade fist bumps with Lily Gulati, high fives with Derek Price, and whistles with the Kristens (Tanaka and Williams, best friends since the first day of freshman year and virtually inseparable ever since).

Even Luke Barrows stops by with his girlfriend, Anna Ocampo—ranked number one on girls’ varsity tennis—so we can swap yearbooks.

“I’ve been counting down the days until they let us out of here,” Luke says.

“Since freshman year?” Anna volleys back. Turning to me, she says, “I’ll miss your Wednesday-morning announcements. You and Neil always cracked me up.”

“Glad to have provided some entertainment.”

They both got tennis scholarships to Division I schools, and I’m genuinely happy for them. I hope they can make it work long-distance.

“Kirby, oh my God,” Anna says, muffling a laugh when a pile of papers tumbles out of Kirby’s locker.

“I know,” she says with a small moan.

Yearbooks are returned to their owners, and Luke crushes me into a hug with arms made muscular from a killer backhand. “Good luck,” he says, and why can’t all breakups be like this? Drama-free, no lingering awkwardness.

While Mara uploads an Instagram video of Kirby extricating an eight-foot-long scarf from her locker, complete with creepy horror-movie soundtrack, I reach into my backpack for my journal. But my fingers skim something else: the envelope I shoved in there this morning.

I know what it is—or at least, I have a general idea. But I don’t remember the exact details, and that makes me a little twitchy. Carefully, I run my finger along the envelope flap and pull out the sheet of folded paper.

Rowan Roth’s Guide to High School Success, it says across the top, followed by ten numbered items, and the words drag me back to the summer before high school. I added number ten a month into freshman year. Naturally, I’d been inspired by something I read in a book. I’d been so excited about high school, half in love with the person I imagined I’d be by the end of it. Really, it’s more a list of goals than an actual guide.

I’ve accomplished none of them.

“What about this?” Kirby asks. “One hundred percent. On a math test!”

“Recycling, Kirby.” But Mara takes a photo of it anyway.

“Our little paparazzo,” Kirby says.

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