After depositing the envelope in the bin, Cory walked outside to the truck and sat for a moment, wondering what Ms. J would think when she read the essay. She had added her home address and phone so Ms. J could contact her. If she wanted. After a minute, she shifted the gearshift into reverse and turned to pull out of the parking space. A streak of dark gray fell from above and landed with a loud thud into the bed of the truck. Cory slammed on the brakes. A pair of sneakers—or what used to be sneakers—had fallen, their insides facing each other as if nestled, new, in their box.
That pair of sneakers that had meant so much to her at the beginning of the school year now lay in the bed of the truck. Dirty, worn, exposed to the harsh elements for nearly a year, they had nonetheless survived—a lot worse for wear, but still intact. She looked up at the wire that had held them there, constantly hanging over her head. It was empty, except for the remains of the rotting laces, fluttering in the light breeze. They had finally returned to Earth.
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