Donna – I HATE YOU

Don’t tell mom, okay?” Donna whispered as she led me through the bedroom window onto the rooftop.

We sat down on the shingled surface, facing the small forest of pine trees that marked the end of our property line below us.

She was beautiful, with long, straight light brown hair, brown eyes, freckles.  She wore plain clothes, hiking boots most of the time.

Donna was a nature girl, always in the woods.  She did her own thing most of the time.

I was ten, almost eleven. She was five years older, and my idol.

She pulled out the pack and shook two ciggarettes out.  They were Twist lemon-flavored ciggarettes in an inviting, bright yellow pack.

She handed me one and lit a match.  Donna carefully taught me how to smoke, to first pull in air to get the end lit, then to blow out.  She said it was too soon for me to learn how to inhale.  There was plenty of time for that later.

I had never known her to be so attentive.

There was no coughing, just a sharp feeling on the back of my throat when I drew in the first puff. The second toke was smoother, more natural.  I took to smoking easily, as if it was meant to be.

We sat, puffing and staring at the night sky.  Hiding from the rest of the world, we had a secret from mom and everyone else.  Christine was too young to join us – she was only 9 for heaven’s sake!

Just me and Donna, and our own little secret.

I was high on life; the mysterious, cool girl who always found me completely disinteresting was suddenly paying me attention.

That was one of the few private, close moments we shared before her death.  One I’ll never forget.

Donna died at age 16 in 1976.  There’s a huge collection of poetry she wrote before she died.  This is one:

I HATE YOU

I hate you.

You wouldn’t

(and couldn’t)

believe

how much.

I hate you!

I detest you!

I hate you –

you, you, you!

But…

does it

really 

matter?

D. Lehr 10/8/75

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