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Roller Skates in the Trenches

by Nicole Appleby

She thinks we don’t remember her, so she gets very excited on “post an old picture” day. She posts and posts and posts. Photos of before she left the open fields, the orange sky, and ever knew the pop, pop, pop of combat, or heard weeping. Before she felt defined by something that has no definition.

She posts those pictures of before. Before she ever had to worry about don’t-ask-and-make-sure-you-don’t-tell, and before she would be in charge of all of those lives. Instead she was just a girl in roller skates, looking like an advertisement for the best type of fun, afraid of kissing girls (not guns).

Where are you going they ask? Or where have you been? Or why don’t you want to talk about it? But see, she says? Look how young I was. Look at my roller skates. Roller skates show that you are going somewhere, not realizing that eventually it is just digging through trenches, forgetting you were once that girl.

And picture after picture, she posts. She doesn’t need to. She doesn’t remember we know her. She has her photo albums out, you see. Likes, loves, hearts, comments. Skates, smiles, leather pants, until she forgets the pop, pop, pop. Except, when she sleeps. When she sleeps it’s all she hears.


Nicole Appleby is originally from California but part of her heart resides in the Midwest. She is a playwright, actor, and educator. Her work has been performed throughout the US and Canada. She is currently getting her Master’s in Education and when not studying or writing you can sometimes catch her doing stand-up comedy.