Used to Be

The three of us — Elena, Gabby, and me — smile on the side of my coffee cup. Used to be, you could do that: Print pictures on coffee cups.

Used to be, you could grow coffee, too.

Just Gabby and me on the other side of the cup. In the photo, she’s nine and knee-high to a grasshopper. Dirty-blonde curls, freckles, a serious look on her face. She’s explaining something to me. Wish I remembered what.

But that memory’s gone. So much is gone. Including the grasshoppers. Including Gabby. Of everything that lived before the Collapse, I miss her the most.


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This story first appeared in The Drabble on August 16, 2022.

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash