The Truth Board

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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


This is the way I remember you.
You were smaller than me, but when we stood back to back, your Afro made you taller. “It’s the AfroPuff!” I’d always scream, “It doesn’t count, so I win.” As if height determined superiority. You’d always turn around and flash a smile at me in response. Sometimes you’d nudge me with your fist and drop your head back and laugh, because you knew what I was thinking.

You were shy, and this made me like you even more. When teachers would call on you, I’d see you fidgeting under your desk. You’d clasp your hands together so tight I thought you might give yourself an Indian burn. Sometimes it broke my heart to see you so nervous, but most of the time it made me smile. ‘That’s just Alex,’ I’d think.

I remember how skinny you were, how you’d break records in track and run miles in cross country. You’d always stay so quiet, but when our class would find out you won a meet, we’d tackle you to the ground and chant your name. Again, you wouldn’t say much, but you’d flash your smile and we all knew you felt the warmth of our middle school family. 

            You were the kindest kid I, or anyone, knew. When the employee at Coldstones tried to cheat you out of your change during our 6th grade field trip, we saw you crying. I’ll never forget the look in your eyes, the wonder of how someone could have betrayed you. We went into the shop and yelled at the woman, asking her how she could treat such an amazing person in such a manner.
            This is the way I remember you. You worked hard in school, and you stuck with the same Asian group of friends you’d had since I met you when we were eight. You wouldn’t let anyone bully them, and they protected you in a similar way that I always admired.

            That is how I remembered you.
            But these memories in no way link to you now.

            And I don’t know what it is that changed you.

I wonder if our middle school would have built a high school for us all to go on to, like they promised us in elementary school, I wonder if you’d be different now.

You dropped out of college a couple years ago after finding fame in a local rap group, a new set of friends you met in high school. When you introduced them to me, I didn’t recognize them, and I jokingly said I wouldn’t remember any of their names by the end of the night. Their response, their anger that I could not recognize them as celebrities, made me question what you’ve turned in to. I couldn’t understand why you would spend time with such unmannerly people, who rolled their eyes at me when I said they couldn’t smoke in my home.

Your happiness has faded, and I haven’t seen you without a blunt in your hand in years. You still stay quiet, but now I rarely see you flash your smile. You space out and stare at the wall, inhaling your smoke accordingly.

The friends you bring around don’t have the memories of your laughter, your energy, your warmth. Your ability to effortlessly raise your eyebrows at people in a glance, and fill them with a calm sensation--- your new friends are completely ignorant to this soft side of you. What would they think of you? Would they still allow you to accompany them to robberies or to go on tour with them across the world?

What I remember about you might be a long forgotten chapter in your now hectic, Hollywoodesque life.

I think I know; fame turned you.

- Carmen Iben


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