Write about a time you lost something or somebody. From My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice: a Guide to Writing Poetry & Speaking Your Truth by Patrice Vecchione

That One Time I Was Cool

On the junior high bus the cool kids have a tape recorder, Hot Child in the City drifts down the aisle, a welcome distraction from the tobacco spit rolling back to front.

Wanting a distraction of my own, I ask Dad for a tape recorder. And he gets me one. It's not a boom box, the kind guys carry on their shoulders, but one a businessman would record an important meeting with. It fits in my backpack.

It doesn't occur to me that it might not have been new. I sprawl patiently on the living room floor in front of the stereo speaker, pressing record three seconds after my favorite songs start.

On the junior high bus, I'm cool with my distraction from the black eye-lined, scary-mean girls in the back seat. Companions to the spit- source that runs under the seats where you never put your backpack, always holding it in your lap no matter how hot and dry the air. My stomach doesn't even flip when they look at me, for the first time, me with my new tape recorder.

After first hour, at my locker, I can't believe what I don't see. It's gone. Incomprehensibly gone. I check back between every class, but it does not reappear.

On the junior high bus, I am not cool.

Until now, I've never told anyone what was taken from me, and I've never stopped opening my locker with a faint hope. A hope always deflated. I'll never forget that one time I was cool.