The other day I went to a place I haven't been to for over three years. Everything had changed since I had been there last, from the lighting to the staff. I sat at the counter where we used to sit and sighed, a flood of memories washing over me.

At the beginning of freshman year I was so afraid of highschool and I tried to hide from everything, but there was you. I tried to push you away and you pushed back. I told you I was fine and you never believed me. I thought that you were trying to hurt me all the time and I never wanted to share anything with you. You were my best friend and I was your worst.

You found someone during the second quarter. 'He's a doll,' you told me that Friday night as you applied mascara and lipstick, smiling at me in the mirror. I smiled back, genuinely happy for you, wishing you a great evening. Your boy came to the door with his hands in his pockets, looking nervous so I let him come in and have a seat. And he was a doll, I had to admit. He was also polite, respectful and softspoken and I knew you would be happy.

I left your house that night with a smile on my face and sat in my room writing and waiting for your call. But it never came. I tried to reach you all weekend but you weren't there. Ever.

The following Monday I tried to takl to you, ask you how it went but you pushed away. I never pushed back. Every day I tried to talk to you but you pushed away and I never doubted you. I finally stopped trying to talk to you altogether and the year ended.

Summer began.

I met someone at the theatre one week into summer vacation. His name was Reg and he told me I was beautiful. I wanted to tell you everything about him and all that happened. So I tried to call, but your step-mother said you were out with your boyfriend again. I thanked her and left no message.

The summer progressed, along with my relationship with Reg. He asked me to be his girlfriend a week before my birthday. That night I tried to get a hold of you, and I did. I told you about Reg and invited you over to my house to spend the night. You hesitated and then agreed.

That night we sang karaoke and told each other's fortunes. I saw you smile for the first time since that Friday. Then I asked you how you've been and your smile faded. Your eyed watered and you bit your lip. You cried and I pulled you into my lap.

That night you told me everything. You told me that he cheated on you all the time. He wouldn't let you break up with him. He forced you to take birth control even though you're catholic and you don't believe in it. He raped you, cut you, used you. All of this I knew nothing about because you were afraid.

Of me.

Of me not caring because I never seemed to care. Ever. I told you I was sorry. I didn't know what else to say. It was silent for a long time before either of us spoke again.

You told me you loved me that night and I told you that I loved you too. And that night we slept like sisters again.

The next morning you were gone before I woke up. My mom told me that you had to leave early for some reason or another and I thought maybe your mom came to pick you up for church. I figured I would see you on Monday, the first day of sophomore year, and things would be the same again. Monday came and you didn't talk to me. You didn't talk to anyone. I saw your boyfriend try to kiss you in the hall and you turned away from him. He nearly hit you too, but you didn't see it. Two periods later I saw him hanging on a different girl and I had hoped that you would talk to me or let me talk to you before the day was over. You didn't.

We didn't speak for two months. And after two months you disappeared and no one ever heard from you again. He came up to me in the hall and started yelling at me, asking where you were, as if I'd know. Reg saved me from all of that but I did want to know where and why you had gone. I haven't heard from you since my fifteenth birthday and neither has anyone else.

I sit here at this counter, watching all the young people that remind me of us. They laugh and smile, and I see you in all of them, only none of them are you. I order a hot chocolate as I begin to write this and I wonder:

Where are you?