This cover photo was made by Gracie Hancock using one of her original pictures on the app Phonto.

It was around five P.M. on a Tuesday, I was roaming around the comic book store, when I saw her. I’d just finished my homework for my introduction to architecture class when I’d decided to go and explore around the town outside campus. I’d been attending Harvard for nearly two months and still hadn’t taken two steps outside the grounds. A bookstore had caught my eye on the street so I decided to look around inside. I was flipping through some self help book when I saw a flash of pink hair out of the corner of my eye. I turned around, and there she was. She’d seen me as well. She stared at me with her big round eyes as if I was a ghost. I guess to her, I was. It’d been almost six months since I’d seen Sasha. She didn’t look any different. She still had that long vibrant pink hair that looked like cotton candy and the same purple-ish lipstick that never seemed to come off. I opened my mouth to say something, but before my mind could string together a simple coherent sentence, she was gone. My first instinct was to go after her, but then I figured anyone who runs away from you must not want to talk to you. I swallowed down my feelings, put down the book, and walked back to my dorm. I didn’t bother getting dinner that night.

I saw her again two days later. I was walking through Harvard square to get to my pre-Law class. I had zoned off trying to plan out my evening when I quite comically ran into someone and dropped my bag and its contents. When I picked up my belongings and looked up to apologize, she was standing in front of me. She’d apparently dropped her things as well. It seemed she didn’t have an escape route this time and was fervently looking for one. I ignored her obvious feelings of discomfort with the situation and decided to say something.


A simple greeting was the best I could muster. Her eyes darted from me to what must have been her destination before she responded.

“Hey, Nathan…”

Her voice trailed off. I took a deep breath. It’d been so long since I’d heard her address me by my full name.

“I didn’t know you go here”. I said, desperately trying to prolong the conversation.

“Yeah… I had enough credits to start as a junior, so that’s probably why you haven’t seen me around”. She’d stopped looking at me and now stood gazing at her surroundings, avoiding my eye contact. “You always were the smart one”. I said as I laughed. She rolled her eyes, she was not amused. I thought to change the subject and I said the only thing I could think of in a great moment of courage. “Hey, so if you’re free anytime, it’d be great if we could meet up sometime and you know… catch up”. There was a long pause, which I knew was never good in a conversation. She shifted her weight and pursed her lips. “Listen… Nate…” She spoke slowly, “You’re a great guy and we had a really fun relationship,” I knew she was exaggerating to save my feelings, “But… we’re over. Done. Let’s keep it that way”. She stepped diagonally to get around me, but something came over me, and I raised my arm to stop her. Words swelled up in my throat, but as I opened my mouth, my tongue was caught. I couldn’t speak. I knew I shouldn’t speak. There was nothing I could say that would make her change her mind. “Have a good day”. I murmured. I let go of her arm. I could feel her eyes watching me as I walked away. It was fine. I told myself that it was fine.

I didn’t go to class that day.

One year prior…

Sasha Ivanovich has been the love of my life ever since I first laid eyes on her the first day of high school. Now, after three years of pining, she was finally mine. She’s mine, she’s mine, she’s mine. I repeated this over and over to myself every time our eyes met. I stood on the corner of the sidewalk outside the movie theatre, waiting for her arrival. This was to be our third date. It was officially October and Sasha wanted to celebrate her favorite month of the year with a scary movie. I didn’t like scary movies that much, but I was willing to watch anything with her. I knew I’d have the chance to hold her when she got scared, which was a huge plus. It was going to start at 9:45, and it was 9:38. She was running late. I started to be worried that she would not show, that something had happened to her. Five more minutes passed, then I decided it’d be best if I went in by myself. A sudden car honk startled me. I turned around to see Sasha waving from the driver’s seat of her car.

“Hey handsome!” She yelled to me with a wry grin. I waved back at her and could help but crack a smile. She took her time to park, then came walking toward me with a skip in her step. I couldn’t help but gasp. She looked absolutely beautiful; in a black sundress with some flowery print with her statement purple lips and her long pink hair flowing down her back.

“You look amazing”. I told her. She blushed a deep red and took hold of my hand. “You’re too sweet”, she said. I was so lost in her eyes, that I forgot to speak. After a moment of silence she said, “I’m sorry I’m late. I got distracted watching the sky. It’s gorgeous tonight”. I noticed I hadn’t even looked up all day. I arched my neck and immediately saw what she was talking about. The sky was painted with brilliant shades of blue, purple, and pink, which reminded me of cotton candy, like Sasha’s hair. She tugged at my hand, and I looked back at her.

“Let’s ditch the movie and go for a ride in my jeep”, she said. “We have our whole lives to see scary movies, but sights like this only come once in a blue moon. Now, let’s go before it fades away.” I didn’t give any objections and followed her back to her car.

We spent the night driving around, and eventually we found a clearing on the side of the road and parked there. Sasha opened her sunroof and we just laid there with our chairs reclined watching the sky change to black, our fingers interlaced together.

Present day…

I sat alone in my bed reminiscing the time I spent with her watching the sky. It was one of the best nights of my life but I never realized, until I was older, the true weight of what Sasha had once told me. Even the most miraculous sights like Sasha Ivanovich eventually fade away. Now all I have left of her is a ghost of her memory.