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a biodata



  1. a word (or set of words) that follows polite greeting and precedes relevant personal link in the Inigo Montoya self-introduction formula: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” (Have you finally watched The Princess Bride? I finally did, my first year of high school. Not sure what took me so long. I remember how we bought the DVD using our lunch money for a week only to have the maths teacher confiscate it and tell us to do our assignments in the hallway. We never did, though. To any fifth graders, the Pythagorean theorem just naturally pales in comparison to the track field in the afternoon, abandoned by the upperclassmen whose absence of a teacher was a sign of rare, momentary freedom.)


  1. to attach a word to a person, animal, place, or any other object. (Bird, you. Lark, me. Stork, the man who refused to escape when the city hunted him down, the same man whose legacy we eventually had to get around to, before triumphantly forgetting it again. As we grew older these names fled us like wet paint wiped off a wall, and on the slabs of stones beneath were expectations, a persistent hope for permanence. My name. It rolled off my tongue the wrong way. Fabricated, heavy. Escapable? Maybe. In my head, I still call you Bird. I wonder if you would do the same for me.)

birthday date


  1. the anniversary of something or someone being birthed. (Left blank, not unlike the other sections—why didn’t you fill your biodata page? Everyone in our year did, I asked them to. Even the sharp-mouthed class B president. The polaroid picture taped next to it captured him in a permanent eye roll, which I thought summed up his character perfectly. I should’ve shown you. It’s a shame that I didn’t even get you to fill your page. It’s not like I didn’t already know your birthday down to the hour by heart, but it’s a novelty. Were you mad at me? Was I mad at you?)
  2. a platonic or romantic appointment to celebrate one’s day of birth. (Your birthday was on the day of our graduation. We walked to a fast-food place right after the ceremony, you and me and our friends, still in our gowns, having abandoned our hats—thrown for a picture. The afternoon heat melted the ice creams you bought for all thirteen or fourteen of us, running down our arms and onto the concrete. I remember someone’s strawberry soft serve toppling off its cone. Under the cloudless sky of that day in May everything was so easy; we laughed and you went back to buy them a new one. Slipped in the envelope of our graduation picture was a polaroid of you with a whisker of white vanilla ice cream. Happy birthday, Bird.)

phone number


  1. a certain order or series of numbers used to identify and dial devices for communication purposes. (Some kids wrote their landline number, some wrote their mobile phone number, the privileged ones wrote both. Looking back, it was cute that little me asked for them, considering I had neither a landline nor a mobile phone. I really thought I would get my own as soon as I entered middle school. I didn’t, and sat through three years without ever being in a group chat, which was a big deal for a fourteen-year-old. Sometime before you moved, I called you from telephone boxes as I always did in grade school. Hi, this is Lark, can I speak to Bird? And you took the phone under the stairs with you like any other day, like it’s a top-secret call. New mission; bring your jacket and a flashlight.)

a dress


  1. address, which is not what a dress is, but was what I meant when I scribbled this down. (Was I sleepy? There’s no way eleven-year-old me would mess up this badly—yup. Checked the other pages. I slipped, but I knew what address is. The English teacher used to give me hell because I wrote ‘similar’ as ‘similiar’ and ‘celestial’ as ‘clelestial’. That went on for quite a long time, and I never had perfect grades. I was stubborn and insisted that that’s how they’re spelled.)


  1. address, not a dress, is a place, a location, where something is situated or someone lives. (When I was little my parents never used GPS to drive. They bought paper maps and memorized routes. It’s a habit I never picked up. I couldn’t even rely on road signs to get to our hometown. The only routes I recall from home are the ones to three bus stops, school, the mall, and the gymnasium. I’ve forgotten which turn to take to get to your house from the strip mall bus stop. Maybe because we spent our last year meeting each other halfway after our courses—you in your tracksuit and me on my bike, the weight of flashlights in our pockets. Your home with the green fences, your sister asleep upstairs, your parents on a plane, and us tiptoeing past midnight in your kitchen for bowls of cereal and reading The Famous Five out loud to the stars plastered on your bedroom ceiling. Stork once said that the movements of the universe create music at a frequency we’re unable to perceive. Is it a language of its own? Could it hear us? Maybe in the dark, I’d be a better navigator.)


noun, plural

  1. The movies playing behind our eyes as we lay unconscious. (For some reason mine have been set in the odd part of the old school building—the winding stairs leading to the upper library where there are textbooks students from forty to ten years ago used. Only in my dreams the staircases didn’t stop, and something pulled—or chased?—me upwards. There was a vineyard on the next floor, and then a forest, and then a gallery, and then a loft with an array of fabrics, and at some point, I would realize where I was and for a moment my head would feel like it’s underwater before I woke up. Come up for air. I’m a lark, I was never made to swim. If we had been ourselves in fourth grade you would’ve pointed me to an oneirocritic book you found in the town library—yellowing and worn, God knows where it came from—and try to derive meaning from the dreams, predicting the future, searching for the secrets of my soul. Somehow I know at the topmost rung I would see stars—a vast nebulous expanse or a bunch of dimming green plastics, I don’t exactly know, but I know they’d knock me conscious.)
  2. Aspirational goals; things one greatly desires. (You wanted to be an expert in this exact thing—dream—at some point before your obsession with ornithology in third or fourth grade took the driver’s seat. Then our names came into being, then the hell triangles came, and Stork’s name came into being because really, what’s the guy’s deal? We gave him none of our time while we could, and ran laps around the track field and dipped fries into ice creams and collected rocks from dog parks, turning them over under flashlights like they’re precious gems, and we turned out fine. See, Stork? Souls move even before the death of their bodies, and we wanted to teach ours to fly.)



  1. A person’s name, stylized for identification.

(Another inevitably blank section, yes, but I remember yours—a carefully lettered Bird with large arches, the r a branch for one to perch on. They were all over the back of the history textbook—my textbook. Did we fight because of this?)

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