11,041 vagabonds plus:
She was vagabondias specularis, an elusive species, a reluctant homecoming queen back in high school, voted Most Likely To Wander The Road Not Taken, the coed that crept through my dorm window in that freshman orange October to choose one of my flannel shirts, as she said it felt like a mans flesh against her goose pimples. She'd don my coke-bottle glasses to perform her take on our Philo prof, Mr. Ginsburg, lisps and palsy twitches, and I'd applaud at the blurry figure through the special effects lens of blindness and she'd take a sweeping bow, her long Audrey Hepburn hair brushing the stage.
I loved her, and she constantly worried about me. She was the only person I let call me Phillip, it thrilled me each time she said it as nobody knew my name. And I loved buttoning up the flannel and loosening her mane from the collar. When the zealous dorm monitor with the buzz haircut got wind and sniff that a real live vagabondias specularis had invaded our forbidden hall, he'd go around pounding on the doors, and when he reached mine she'd lower her voice and respond, 'so right here, move along now.' We'd hold our breaths, hardened criminals, and after the all-clear we clutched each other tight all night by the frost air of the open window, campus sidewalk lights brilliant below. We'd rise early on Saturdays, knockout our studies on the deserted second floor of the library, then have the entire weekend plus Mondays carefree. Eventually we drifted away from each other, she ever restless, seasonal colors seeped down the drain, no birds in sight, and there was her smiling face on flyers tacked to telephone poles, but I knew she was just fine as she came out into a clearing at the end of the World.
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