A work in progress
I’m soaring into a vast sea, propelled by an unseen force, where there are hues of blue and sunset orange pasted across the expanse. When the wind blows past so too do little whipping strands, around my cheeks and across my forehead. They sting, but I like it. Each time I begin to fall, backwards into a deep-worn rut, I am assaulted by a discomfort in my stomach but instead of fear there is thrill. Up on the ridge to the right lies the ruins of an old burned house where once there were daisies grown in the window and smoke seeping from the stack. Off to the left there sat a field of overgrown green and colorful ribbons strung this way and that. The grass was as tall as I’d ever seen it and I wondered where the cattle ran off to. Down the little road there used to be a maroon wagon with chipped paint and a squeaky wheel. At the top of the world I could always see it, half-buried beneath a heap of wildflowers, but today it was gone.
Things seemed different, but then they weren’t. Scorched marks, tall grass, and the missing plaything made little difference as I flew across my familiar world while memories continued to stir. The air smelled better up top than it did down below as if something about being in the clouds was more right than anything else. But it never stayed as simply clouds and sweet memories. Eventually- and much to my dismay- I always came back down in the end. Back to a broken home, an abandoned field, and the bitterness of knowing that this place would never again be as it once was. Home would never be right again, this I knew, but even back then nothing felt more right than holding fast to that rubber ring; nothing compares to that old tire swing.
We live 130 miles a part, a relatively short distance all things considered, but it’s not the long winding roads or scenic country that separate us from one another. No, the distance between you and I stretches further than miles. It’s a distance transcendent of the of the physical world.
There was a time when even inconsequential things brought us together. We liked the trivial, frivolous banter. You would call, we would go for a walk, or exchange words between classes. You came to me for mostly everything, at least for awhile. I noticed it the first year of high school- so very long ago it seems now- when I realized we began to run in different circles. You with the crowd and I on the side. I never believed the change was intentional and I tried to ignore it, but I grew a certain resentment for your new friends. I even refused to entertain the idea of getting to know them at first. I tried harder after those first two years; I strove to be part of your life again and went out of my way for you. By the time graduation came it was far too late. I dare say we began to grow back together there in the end, but I just couldn’t be that friend anymore- I could never cater to the crowd you chose. You were my best friend. You were the first to know my secrets and held my deepest trust.
I made another attempt to salvage all that we had lost, an invitation into my new world. We’d both grown in the last four years of grade school and were finally prepared to embark on another adventure in life. I was to go away, 130 miles, and you were to stay. Leaving was a choice I had made a long time ago- I was committed- but I’ll always wonder if staying would have made any difference at all. Come spend the weekend with me, I had asked. I wanted you to see my new apartment and experience a few days in my shoes. I thought you might like it after so long under your parents roof because though you could not see it, freedom was a thing you needed. More than that I needed my best friend. Everything was so new, so empty, and I felt alone despite the fact that several hundred people lived all around me. It wasn’t home, and those weren’t my friends. Not yet. The first night was the worst because the freshman took it upon themselves to drink until they spilled their stomachs from the balcony above my window. The days did get better and nights became manageable. Thankfully my boyfriend at the time had moved in to make the party-town apartment more tolerable. I introduced you two a long time ago however briefly. Although you never voiced it I do not believe you approved. A lot has happened since then and we drifted a part, all for the better. I want to tell you all about that, and more.
I never got a weekend of your time, not even a few hours. I later came back to our hometown to visit and we met briefly- an exchange that ended abruptly with awkward goodbyes. You seemed to be doing well for the most part, at least you said nothing to contrary. I took it for what it was and I will leave it as it is. I wish I could share these things with you like we used to. Back then it seemed like we never ran out of things to talk about, but now I can only get a few words out of you every other month or three. I often wonder if there was something I could have done, but people say this is just how life is: there one day, and gone the next. Maybe things will change, but I reserve my doubts because we both know the next step in my plan and you’ve already decided to stay. I doubt that the further I go will make a difference because the problem is no longer simply distance. It’s become resistance.
© 2014, Written By: Hollie Barringer
I’ve been trying to fall asleep for hours, but a myriad of thoughts keep racing through my mind in an attempt to drive me mad. Though entirely my fault- for allowing intrigue and adventure to have its way with me- I find myself at odds with the implication that I’ve brought this upon myself. Where am I truly? I believe I have allowed something so small and possibly irrelevant the reigns to consume so much of my time, a valuable but limited resource. I’d like to think of it simply yet I know it will never be as such, but for all my shortcomings I have failed you the most. As I lie here awake, staring into the black of night, I await the dawn to ask of you one thing. Nearest and dear to my heart, please forgive me.