Embrace

August 1, 2008
By
‘Alone.’ The word echoed in her head, threatening to dominate all her other thoughts. ‘Now look at what you’ve done, Sera; you’re more alone now than you were before.’

Maybe she was steadily succumbing to insanity because of her lack of sleep, but she fell back on to the grass as though it were a collection of pillows...and laughed. Sera brushed her hands through the wet grass and savored the smell of nature at its best. She didn’t need human interaction -- as long as she was in her secret place hidden behind the trees she was happy. At least the ducks swimming in the pond nearby wouldn’t stare at her like she didn’t belong; the birds flying overhead wouldn’t tell her she was cold and cynical.

Sera knew it was only an unattainable fantasy, but, as she laid there in the grass and let the water play with her toes, she couldn’t help wishing to somehow...mold with the earth. She wanted to be the fierce water that made people calm and afraid; she wanted to be the wind that blew through people’s hair. Sera reached for the sky, instantly feeling small and unimportant in a world so vast.

Footsteps. Heavy breathing. Trees rustling. Sera instantly brought her arms back to her sides. Someone was coming. She bit her lip out of fear, and she balled up her fist out of anger. No one had the right to make her feel any other emotion in this forest but happiness and love!

Sera filled her head with all type of crazy thoughts about the mystery person soon to find her. Anyone could be walking through those trees: a hobo; a psychopath; her parents; the police...but she already knew who would emerge from the other side. There was only one person who knew how special this place was to Sera.

She kept her attention on the large, white clouds even when the person’s footsteps stopped right beside her body. A book bag landed next to her face, but she continued to stare up at the sky that rejected her hug. Sera had no intention to acknowledge the boy standing over her. After all, he contributed to the pain that led her here in the first place.

“S-Sera,” the boy stammered. His voice was silent and far away. “I thought...Why...I hate you.”

Sera dug her nails into the dirt. She had to focus on the way the pompous clouds slowly dominated the sky. This boy -- Lucas -- could be easily ignored if she --

“I hate you,” he repeated. There was now anger in his voice. “You ARROGANT imbecile; I HATE YOU!”

She flinched at his anger. Never, in the three months they had been friends, had she ever seen him display such strong emotion. Sera continued to look at the sky, but she really wasn’t paying any attention to the clouds anymore. She was almost afraid he’d kick her hard enough to emphasize his anger. Instead, she felt...tears dripping on her exposed stomach. Wide-eyed, she instantly turned her attention to Lucas. Getting extremely angry was one thing, but crying was something Lucas never did.

“You’ve been missing for nearly a week. Everyone’s talking about how you’re kidnapped or-or...dead.” The tears were coming down his eyes at a faster pace. He had to take a deep breath before continuing. “Why didn’t you tell me that you’d run away? We could’ve gone together! You must be an arrogant, self centered person to not think about the people you’d hurt. Did you think about your family, Miss. Crawshire...me?! You’re the only one I have Sera so tell me why you would put me through this!”

Sera was terrified at this change in Lucas. All of a sudden, her plan to run far away seemed stupid and childish. She never knew how much he cared. Sera didn’t want to answer his question, but she knew that he wouldn’t stop staring at her with loathing and disgust if she didn’t.

“You told me that I was indeed cold and ominous and”—

He laughed cruelly. Than he screamed, “If you wouldn’t have been so quick to run away and actually listened, you would’ve known that I was trying to tell you that I didn’t care how you acted; I’d always be by your side.”

Everything seemed to fall apart. Lucas force fed reality to Sera, and she was having a hard time swallowing it. Her stomach began to growl; her throat became dry; she felt dirty; her head throbbed. She realized that her resolve to ‘mold in the earth,’ to travel the world with nothing but her wits and dignity, were all just clever lies she told herself to help make denying easy.

Sera sat up, wrapped her arms around her pulled up legs, and allowed herself to cry.

However, Lucas had no intentions to let her cry alone. In a matter of seconds he was sitting next to Sera, his arms wrapped around her cold body. He said nothing because words would not make a difference. When she buried her head in his chest, he did not object. Lucas moved his other hand to her hair and stroked it gently.

Finally, Sera stopped crying. “I’m so sorry,” she said.

“Sera...I need you okay. Somehow, hanging with you has changed me. No one but you has ever bothered to try. Please, go back home today. School’s not the same without you. You should see Miss. Crawshire....”

Sera considered going back, but the thought terrified her. She wasn’t ready to be surrounded by all those people again. She frantically shook her head. “No...I just can’t.”

They held each other for a while longer until the same thought went through both of their minds, causing them to quickly separate. What were they doing embracing each other like couples do? They were nothing more than close friends.

Sera laid back down in the grass to look at the clouds, and Lucas did the same. She smiled once she realized how close Lucas was. It was almost as if she could feel his body warmth. She was glad he was with her.

“How’d you know I would be here?” Sera asked.

“I didn’t. I came here because I was lonely and afraid, and you just happened to be laying in the grass.” He smelled the air and rubbed his hands through the wet grass. “Everything here is so...beautiful and peaceful. I could sit here forever and never get bored. Thank you for telling me about this place.”

Sera was in awe at what he had to say and could do nothing more than nod. She stared at him appreciating the clouds, feeling tears come to her eyes. There was finally someone else who understood her feelings. She was not alone. She never was in the first place.

“You’ve changed Lucas.”

He turned to Sera, his nose still red from his tears, his bright green eyes glowing with some newfound happiness. “And so have you. When we leave this place we will take baby steps together. We’ll take on the world! Neither of us is fit for hiding in the shadows, especially you.”

There was silence between them as they let those words soak in. Sera nervously swallowed her spit. She was about to make a big decision, but she knew it was well worth it.

“I’ve changed my mind...” she silently announced. “When you go back home today, I’ll go back home too. But that’s only if you promise to take baby steps with me!”

“Deal,” he replied.

Afterward, they spent the rest of the day looking at the sky until the clouds were replaced by stars. Their hands managed to find each other under the moonlight, and taking on the world didn’t seem like such an unreasonable fantasy as long as they did it together.





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