When I was sent back to earth, I found myself roaming the hallowed halls of Arlington High School. Class was in session.
I found my locker, or old locker actually, across from chemistry class, which I had with Naveen. I opened it to see my past life-—pictures of my family, friends and I. Then I glanced at the photos of Naveen and I on our first date at the Dutchess County Fair.
We didn't do much besides walk around since admission to the fair was already pretty pricey. However, just spending time with him was enough for me.
The petting zoo was free, so we went in there. At the exit there were wooden cutouts where you could peek your face into for a picture. Naveen asked a nice couple to take one of us with the camera that he brought.
Afterwards, we stopped at the 4-H Milkshake stand. It was my first time trying one and Naveen swore to me that it would be the best I ever had. I almost choked nervously laughing when I realized he was taking a picture of my first sip.
Then, I remembered the night he asked me to prom. It was long after our first date. We were at the waterfront.
The waterfront was the best part of Poughkeepsie. I would go there sometimes, just to clear my head after a long day at school.
That night, we were walking along the path from the skate park. The moon was full and the light twinkled along the small ripples in the Hudson River. As we neared the dock, he laced his fingers with mine, turned to me and asked what I was wearing to the prom. I politely pointed out March might be a bit early to be thinking about prom.
He said confidently that he knew we would still be together by May.
I looked out at the beautifully lit Mid-Hudson Bridge and told him that I bought a purple dress.
He gently wrapped his arms around my waist and murmured, “I can’t wait to see you in it.”
Those words echoed in my mind.
I heard Naveen get called to Principal Schetter's Office and realized I was still standing in front of my locker. Shortly after, he exited from the classroom across the hallway.
As I walked next to him, I imagined what it was like to hold his hand. I wish that I could do that right now.
As we reached Schetter's office, I noticed two policemen waiting there. I knew Naveen wasn't ready for what was about to happen.
When questioned about last night, Naveen told them that he and Reuben were hanging out on the hill in Bowdoin Park. He didn't mention to them that they were smoking bud. After some prodding, he added that they saw a fire past the trees near the river. When asked why they didn't report the fire, he explained that they figured it was just a bon fire, nothing serious.
The cops told him that my body was found burnt near the river.
I felt a lump in my throat hearing this information. I couldn't imagine anyone hating me enough to kill me, let alone torch my remains.
Naveen was in shock and disbelief. He rebutted that it couldn't possibly have been me, because he had just seen me in school yesterday. And how could they ID a body that was incinerated? They said that I was recognizable because the fire hadn't reached my face. Then he argued that Asian girls usually look alike so that didn't mean anything. However, my parents ID'd my body.
It was definitely me.
This meant that he and Reuben were there while my killer was there.
On the other hand, the police suspected a different scenario, which Naveen was oblivious to.
"I need proof that this actually happened," he told them. "It doesn't feel real... Can I see her?"
The cop retorted. "Haven't you already?"