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Her mom, Joy, grabbed a bowl from the cabinets and a box of cereal and set it on the kitchen table. I pulled up a stool and sat down, pouring out the sugary cereal and adding the milk that Penny, Carrie’s other mom, fetched from the fridge. My twelve-year-old self lived in books and fantasy worlds of unicorns and dragons, rather than the real world of dark bruises and a shattered living room lamp, swept up and never discussed.Unlikely friends, proximity brought Carrie and I together more than anything else.“Truth,” I picked, tossing the well-read issue of on her bed. We collapsed into giggles, tanned legs wound together and thighs touching, and later lied to her mothers about the hot pink nail polish we’d spilled on her comforter.After I’d ripped the inseam of my brand new, eighty-dollar Guess jeans trying to scale the fence around the local cemetery I’d been going for the ‘truth’ option more. Our games veered back and forth between the children we’d been and the women we’d become. Earlier that year, I’d read the headline “War” on a newspaper and it wasn’t in a history class.We were the only two girls our age in the neighborhood.My strictly religious family attended church every Sunday morning, worship services on Sunday night, and Wednesday night youth group. Her two mothers, Penny and Joy, lived around the block from my parents’ brick Edwardian house in a small two-story bungalow that they were constantly improving.They never asked why I was there, and never told me to go home.They acted like it was perfectly natural to have a second daughter.
Ripe juice dripped down our arms, staining our cutoffs red.And I sensed changes coming in my family, the way you can sense a summer rainstorm hanging in the clouds just before it lets loose.“We’re going swimming at Greenlake, why don’t you run home and grab your suit? ” I ducked through the screen door, letting it bang shut behind me.The sun had barely crested the Seattle skyline and I was already at my best friends’ house.