Porch Swing

May 5, 2008
By Renee' Allen, Wellington, KS

I find myself walking down your street for the first time in what seems like centuries. I ask myself if I can even remember which house is your's. I ask myself if you have changed. Are you still the same goofy guy with the crooked smile that always seemed to make me blush? Or, have you moved on with life?

Will you even remember me?

I hold my breath as I recognize your house. I assume you still live here. A faint smile spreads across my face as my eyes set upon that porch swing. The same porch swing we cracked romantic jokes about. Who knew I would find myself longing for those partial promises from so long ago?

Is that you? The light is on and I see a silhouette. Who am I kidding; it cannot be you. I never get quite that lucky; nothing is every that easy. I decide to test my luck again. Not much disappoints me anymore. I step up to the door and knock three times.

Someone inside rushes to the door. Suddently, I realize how late it must be. One, two in the morning. This could have waited a few more hours. If I was not numb all of the time I would have felt regret at this moment.

I hear the lock turn and I unknowingly hol dmy breath as I recall the many conversations we have had. It felt like minutes had passed, even though I was counting the seconds. The door opens and I cannot believe my luck. It is you, the same you. A you that seems confused.

I raise my hand and try to say hello, but it gets caught in my throat and my body is trembling. I see the shock on your face as you realize who I am. I knew you would see past my fake facade; you always could figure me out.

For the most part anyway.

You grab my arm and pull me inside. We stare at eachother in silence for a moment. I assume you were taking in my new appearance. Me? I was just speechless; like always.

Eventually, you break the silence and ask what I am doing in town. Not with that resentful tone that I knew I deserved; just pure curiosity. I explain about the show I had just finished. I did not tell you about the fact that I needed a night to not pretend. I did not tell you that I needed to break lose and be myself for awhile. I did not need to tell you anyways, you already knew.

A few more questions were asked before you sent me to clean up. Iam sure the smell was not great. Can you blame me though? You try traveling with a group of immature guys that do not know the meaning of "hygiene." I was not pleasant for anyone.

I turn the water off feeling slightly better; slightly back to normal. I hear you tap on the door. I cover myself and open the door a little. You look the other way and push a blanket through the opening of the door while explaining that it was going to be cold. I closed the door and wrapped the blanket around me.

For awhile, I just stood there in the bathroom trying to hold myself together. Two yeras ago I pretty much dropped off the face of the Earth. Why in the world were you being so kind?

I reached upto whipe away the tears that would have shown years earlier. There were none. I settled for a sigh and left the bathroom.

You were on the couch; you seemed to be staring off. Thinking deeply, maybe? Probably wondering what to do with me. You are way too kind to throw me out like you should. I made my way over to the couch and sat opposite from you. I stared at you staring off.

Slowly, you turned to look at me and ask why I left. I gave you the same fabricated lie about the dysfunctional family, broken love and deceit that I gave to everyone. Those are not lies, of course, but not the reason why I left. I left because my soul was breaking apart and I just needed to be lost for awhile. You already knew that though.

Sometimes I wonder why you even bother with the questions.

We bombarded eachother with questions about the last two yeras. Hours seemed to pass and you asked if I wanted coffee. I said "of course" and you set to it. From the doorway I asked about your porch swing. Was it still the only working one?

I decided to test it. I imagined it being beautiful and calming; I was right. I saw there feeling the cold breeze on my face. You brough the coffee out and we sat in silence for the longest time.

I ask if you remember our conversation about how some people just like to find the comforty they need without asking for a relationship. You say yes. I tell you that I need comfort, bad. Another few minutes pass as I sip the coffee you gave me. You hand me your coffee, pick me up and carry me inside to your bed.

Automatically, I roll onto my side. I feel you tuck the blanket beaneath me and then lie beside me. You were right, it was freezing. You began to hum a song that seemed vaguely familiar. I began to drift off to sleep.

Then you shivered.

I mumbled, telling you to not put the extra blanket to waste. I heard you ask if it was okay. I managed a nod, I think. You moved away and I felt the cold air on my back as you lifte the side of the blanket to crawl under.

Your body heat warmned me instandly as you moved next to me. For awhile you asked me more question about where I had been. I was tired and do not remember answering. I must have, though, because the questions kept coming.

Then, they stoppped. Were you asleep? Maybe I was. Possibly neither. All I knew wasa I wanted to feel your arms around me. I rolled over and put my head to your chest. Your arms moved around me and you rested your head on mine. It felt like home. I laid their listening to your heart beat. My breathing patteren changed to match your's; my heart rate changed to beat in sync with your's.

I tilted my head to look at your flawless face. I held my breath afraid of harming your beautiful features. Afraid of contaminating your perfect life with mine that was full of lies.

I made my decision. I kissed your forehead and told you that I was sorry. I left you a note telling you that I was honest for the first time in two years and no one was awake to hear it. I explained why I could not stay and why I needed to leave.

I left wondering what life would have been like if I had not left in the first place. Would you have been in it? Would you have been the light that I needed?

I glanced back at the porch swing knowing I would one day return because of it. Until then? Who knows? Maybe I can lie my way out of the rocky path I chose for life. Maybe I could mend my broken soul.

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