Do you remember crawling under the table giggling as the airplane passed overhead, its boom rocking our plastic fort? You looked up, eyes wide, mouth drawn thin. When the windows stopped shaking, I said we had to stay under the table because that was the game and I was the oldest. The same game mom suggested when she picked me up early from school, other kids threw me that look when my name came over the intercom. In the office, secretaries crowded around a tiny TV while the principal mumbled something to mom about arriving just in time. Schools are going on lockdown. Play with your brother, mom said on the drive home, I need to take care of some things. We got bored when nothing happened and wormed ourselves out on bellies and elbows, carpet-burning our skin. We asked to go pick crab apples. The TV was silent. Mom watched, frowned, said it wasn’t time to go outside. There is a scar left behind since rocks have finished bleeding. On the loop around Washington Boulevard I press my nose to the glass and let white fog burrow the pane as Enya’s voice and distorted messages of the dead mingle during the commercial break. People continued to go back in to save data, they explain, They ran in again and again. We pull into the lot next to the mall. String lights, ice rinks, and missiles replace late summer fireflies. Beyond the bridge I see the charred ruin smoldering, the wreckage covered by a Band-Aid tarp. The Christmas broadcast pauses; a radio announcer thanks our troops before I’ll Be Home for Christmas begins. The ice is rough beneath my blades, the pick snagging on scattered debris and deep gouges. I haven’t been to the rink since the crash. I glide through motions mechanically, treading without taking off. Three months later, fireflies start hiding away for the season, their lights dimming. I find unlucky corpses on the sidewalk. An airplane passes over, heading towards Reagan. I lean back on the bristled crab grass and watch. We picnic near the airport. I cover my ears, tiny bones thundering from the vibration of displaced air. You start crying. I cup your ears, draw you close into my chest, humming a familiar song to soothe. When an airplane passes over, we play a game because I am the oldest. —

Angelica “Morgan” Fuchs is a freelance game writer from the Washington D.C. area. She received her M.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2018. She can be found on twitter @A_MorganFuchs.

Artwork by: JR Korpa  

Growing Up Three Miles From The Pentagon

by Angelica Fuchs

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