I never thought something could change so quickly just because I left it.

Imagine looking at something that once was so important, people you once loved so much, and realizing you're only noticing one thing. You've only continued to love one of those people.

That's how it is right now for me, staring out at this field that used to be my home only two years ago, looking out at who I thought was my family. Over everything that I once held so dearly, through my best friend and the kid I taught to play from scratch, I can only see her. This is my high school's marching band, the same one I played my tenor saxophone dedicatedly not long ago. And the color guard solo is all that I'm really getting out of this new year's show.

And when she disappears behind a prop in the back of the field, I want nothing more than to be there with her. To tell her she was wonderful, and it can only get better. I know how stressful these competitions can be, and I never want her to feel that much stress. Her world should be perfect, just like she is.


The drum major turned around and saluted the judges.

The percussion section leader beat four short clicks on the snare drum.

My last show is over, and I know what I've always told the younger players and guard members, whenever they said they would miss me, is finally coming back: "Save it for finals." But it would be hypocritical to be mad about it. I'm crying, too. It's over…

I remember the years before me, watching each year's seniors cry and leave. I didn't know why they were sad before I understood how it was to lose something you were attached to. Until my boyfriend's senior year. He didn't cry at the competition, but I did. He was always trying to make everyone happier; that's why he always seemed so emotionless. I was the only person in the band who saw him cry, back at his house, hours after midnight, when it was all over. He told me he didn't know why he was crying. I couldn't speak but I knew why; I had learned it just before. I could only let his tears fall into my hair and try not to let my own fall. I only let myself cry after he fell asleep.

Not many people understand the severity of this sinking feeling when you know you'll never do something again. Even if it's something you always hated, it's terrible because you know you loved it too. The least anyone else can do for you is try not to cry too.

I did all that for him, but he won't be here to do it for me.

Losing people means forever. You try to keep in touch but it never works, and on one day, he finally cuts it off completely. Happens every time.


"Guard captain- Emily Brandanowitz."

I look down, ashamed, upon hearing her name.

"Staff- Ronald Henry, Nathan Davis…"

Me. I know what I have to do.


"I have a few last-minute shout-outs for that last band… 'Dear Emily- I still love you. Please take me back. –Nathan"

I don't hear the last shout-out over my own sobbing. Both drum majors take me in their arms, carrying my flags and doing their best to console me. They don't know why I'm crying.