It's been fun

May 9, 2012
By , johns creek, GA
"Please, please, please let me in sir. I won't cause any trouble.", I pleaded. "Sorry. You're not getting into this beach.", came the response from the stone-faced guard. "Why does it even matter to you? Can't you just let me go?", I asked. He replied, "Listen kid, it's my job to keep you out of here. Stop bothering me and let me do what I have to do." I was about to leave and look for a way around, when he called out, "Hey!" I flicked my head back. He grabbed my body and shook me violently, shouting "Hey David wake up!"

I lifted my head groggily. The beach had vanished. I found myself sitting in a plastic chair, property of the Hartsfield-Jackson airport. The most beautiful girl in the world stood over me, her outline wavering in the fluorescent light. She looked like a mirage. "Claire!", I exclaimed, as I sprang up to hug her. "Sup dude. I have enough time before the flight for us to get something to eat. Let's go.", she said. As she led the way to the food court, we talked about California. "The weather is always nice, like 75 and breezy every day. School's going to be easy, so I'll have lots of free time." she said. "Dude, I can go to Coachella every year because it's right freaking there. You know who's performing at Coachella this year? Beirut and Bon Iver AND Jeff Mangum! Look them up. They're really good." I nodded and smiled back at her. We had had this discussion many times before, but I never tired of hearing her talk about it.

We stopped in front of the "Great Wraps" sandwich shop. She ordered a Thai chicken wrap from the grumpy-looking cashier. "Whad'ya want?", he asked, when it came my turn to choose. "I...umm... I'll just have... whatever she's having.", I said. We picked up our food and found a table.

For a while we ate silently. Finally, Claire took a drink, swallowed, and said, "California is going to be awesome. I just wish I didn't have to go alone. UGA sounds fun too, but I didn't think you wanted to go there. Why did you choose UGA?" I chewed for a moment before reciting, "UGA is the most affordable, and I'll get a good education." "You'll like it at UGA. You're the kind of person that can find happiness anywhere.", observed Claire. She drew her eyes up and shot them through me. "But those aren't your real reasons. California is affordable, and the schools there are better. Why didn't you pick California? Is that really what you want?", she asked intently. Averting her gaze, I glanced at my unfinished wrap in front of me. I hadn't enjoyed it at all. I looked back at Claire, thinking of how easy it would be to keep looking at her, to follow her with my eyes until I waste away. We stared for a minute, or maybe an hour, and though our eyes made contact, they never quite connected. Finally, with a deep breath, I held in my fear and told her, "I don't know what I want. But I know that I don't want to follow you anymore. When I'm around you, I become a little boy chasing moonbeams. I won't grow until I move on, and I don't trust myself to move on unless you're on the other side of the country."

Claire's eyes widened when she heard me, then narrowed as she broke into a smile. She said, "I'm proud of-sorry, you should be proud of yourself. It really is time for us to part ways. I'm going to miss you David." "I'm going to miss you too, Claire", I said. We embraced for a long time, the memories of four years howling past like a hurricane, talking, laughing, crying vignettes from the great drama of life, crashing all around me, rushing louder, building faster,-and then we let go. She said, "Okay, on 3, you walk that way, I'll walk this way. Ready? 1-2-3!" And with that, we turned and walked our separate paths. When I reached my father's car, I turned my head once, then climbed in.

"You okay son? You're not saying much. Cheer up! You have the whole day to yourself.", said my father. "I'll be fine." I responded. "I just need some time alone."





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