The Alma Mater Chronicles: Cry later

William used to want to kill himself. They took him away in an ambulance. The voices were telling him to take poisons or use knives to take his life. After that, his parents were afraid and they made him go to counseling. He continued to feel sad. One afternoon, he sat in the office and wept without saying a word, fat tears rolling down his cheeks. Then Ms. Galindo told him about her own struggle with depression.
They are everywhere. As if marked with ashes on their forehead, she recognizes who they are. In her stronger state, she wonders if they can see her.
This is where they meet to take revenge. This is where they gather to watch. This is where the gangbangers drop rags and drop fools. This is where grown men show up with chains and Master locks and sixteen-year-old basketball sensations hold them at bay so the fight is fair. This is where you kick that bitch’s ass, don’t stop until she’s bleeding or you mess up her light-skinded face. This is where ghetto mamas drive getaway cars or turn away when they go through the loser’s belongings. This is where you jack that new white boy in your math class, take his chain and his phone. This is where the ambulance pulls over.
This is where three students died way before we were born. The pretty girl literally lost her head. They had been drinking and driving.
This place is cursed.
Niece is a compulsive liar but Auntie loves her anyway. Auntie’s been there, in that dark place of self-pity and emptiness. Sometimes she still goes back there but Niece does not understand. Niece has phantom stomach pains and sometimes cannot breathe. She is a beautiful girl, strong and feisty most of the time. But like Auntie, she loses sight of her own beauty, loses hope, falls to the ground. Auntie never stops reaching out to her.
I lost my best friend here. I wrote him a letter, one in which I accused him of betrayal. It was full of jealousy and rage. I had seen him with that other girl and despite his firm rejection of me, I refused to accept that he did not return my devotion. He was clever, my best friend. He acted as if nothing had changed. He said he had not read my letter, that he left in his locker or on his nightstand. What did the letter say? he wondered. I told him lies. He listened, paused for several moments. Then, he smiled and told he had read the letter.
It was the last time he looked me in the eyes.
Up, up, up, the rocket soars into the blue sky of Washington D.C. Lily can be seen on the student television channel news report, looking up into the clouds, an ethereal smile on her face. Lily is full of wonder. She had spent weeks at the hospital where they stitched together her wrists and helped her stitch together her mind. Now all is different.
Lily smiles at Ms. Galindo when they pass one another in the hallway. Lily does not know how she knows but she senses a truth about Ms. Galindo.

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