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“Hey…you came.”
Courtney yawned. “Of course I did. I had to give you your blanket back.”
“You didn’t have to,” Alec said. “You could have kept it.”
“I want to. But my parents would know it’s yours. My mom asked you about it on the first day. She’d get suspicious about why I have it.”
Alec sighed. “But if you give it back, it means it’s over. I don’t want you to go.”
Courtney pressed his lips together to keep his chin from trembling. “I don’t want to either. Dad’s got this whole schedule for the trip…” he waved his hand and trailed off.
Alec swallowed hard.
Courtney sniffled. They leaned forward and shared a soft kiss, almost not daring to touch at all. Courtney held his denim jacket closed with his fingers to ward off the morning chill. Birds chirped as dawn broke over the desert.
They parted.
Alec watched Courtney fold the blanket and pass it over.
“Here. I’m sorry it’s not uh, clean, I think it still has some of our.. you know on it…” Courtney scuffed his foot in the dust.
Aelc took it and held it to his chest. “I don’t care. That night we spent under the stars was beautiful. Nothing about it is gross to me.”
Courtney smiled.
“I still wish you would keep it though. Cause then I had proof that you were here. Cause once you leave it’ll be like it never happened.” Alec paused. “Fuck.”
Courtney hugged him. Alec crushed him back.
“I’ll give you something else to remember me by before I leave. And I’ll write.”

Alec exhaled. He looked over his shoulder. “My shift is going to start soon.”
“Then I guess this is good bye?”
“Well… Good bye then,” Alec said.
Courtney scuffed his foot. He looked down and turned to walk away.
Alec couldn’t bare it after three steps. “Court?”
Courtney turned halfway. “Yeah?”
“I love you.”
Courtney’s mouth parted. The words stuck to his dry lips and it took a second to loosen them. “I love you too.”
Alec’s face lit up.
Courtney ran back to his family’s RV, laughing with giddiness.

Later that morning, when they left the camping park, Courtney sat in the back of the camper as it pulled out of the entrance to the RV park. His parents were up front, dad was driving. There were no separate lanes, just a wide dusty path for big turns. Courtney could see Alec was up ahead; he had come out of the welcome booth to watch them go. Courtney got on his knees and squeezed his arm through the slight gap in the window, as far as it would go, hand clutched around something. When the timing was right, Courtney jerked his elbow and a small rectangle went flying.

Alec dove for it. It bounced off his fingertips but he barely caught it before it hit the ground. When he parted his hands, his jaw dropped. It was Madonna’s new cassette tape. The one they’d listened to in the portable, that night, under the stars. They’d talked about it for an hour after. It had blown Alec’s mind. Alec rarely got new music; his family only went to the city with the music store like once or twice a year. Alec clutched his treasure to his chest and watched the RV go until it was just a cloud of dust.
There was a tiny corner sticking out of it. He pushed his tears away and opened it. Inside was a white scrap of paper. On it was Courtney’s address and three words. “I was here.”

Captions are fictional. I’m almost certain this is somewhere near Joshua Tree.


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