birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Fred Astaire

The first memory I have of Nicky she was demonstrating a dance routine to her friend Gwen. They were standing in front of the first row of desks near the blackboard, we must have been on break. Our homeroom teacher kept a sedate but not especially strict classroom and there was a pleasantly relaxed feel to the place.

Nicky’s hair was in long braids that had been pinned up over the top of her head, Her hair was falling out of the braids, though, especially after she’d been dancing, and her uniform was also a bit disheveled. My memories of Nicky from that time include a lot of crooked ties and shirts that were coming untucked.

Gwen and Nicky were inseparable, fast friends, and I used to watch them and think about how much I’d like to be friends with them too. I don’t even know exactly why, they weren’t particular stand outs in any way, but I liked them immediately. I was after all a bit lonely; we’d moved to England in the middle of my eighth grade year and I’d been plunked down without much preparation into Plymouth High School for Girls, which had been a bit of a shock (school uniforms, no boys, assembly with hymns in the morning, a headmistress, Latin, French AND German classes, the list goes on).

I did become friends with Nicky and Gwen, really good friends, actually (Gwen said “actually” all the time, it was kind of her thing.) I still keep in touch with Nicky, I saw her last winter. And she’s still awesome, but she doesn’t do dance routines for me anymore.

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