[Fiction] The lifelong impact of brief friendships. A woman meets three friends in college who have special gifts:

“Charles voice is controlled mortification. You fainted, he says.

“One of the girls holds my hand. You totally did, she agrees.

“Where are the birds? I say.

“They disappeared when you fainted, the other Earring Girl says.

“Her face is replaced by a mall paramedic demanding know what year it is, who is president, what my husband’s name is, what my name is.

“My husband’s name is Ian, I say.

“It is the wrong answer; their faces make this clear.”