Home For Fall

September 25, 2016

My body violently jerks me awake as I'm laying on the cold, hardwood floor. The clock on the oven is giving off a majestic green glow against the vast darkness that is my kitchen. I awake abruptly, confused, and gasping for air while feeling damp from the sweat recklessly covering my head. I must have had a bad dream. I know I had bad a dream. But, about what? Murder? Ghosts? Oh, whatever. Isn't it crazy? How dreams work. They scare us so bad that we wake up, but we can't even remember them. I confuse myself even more and slowly shake my head as my breathing suddenly gets fast and heavy. My eyes finally focus and I recognize the table. The table. The oak table stands proudly across the room and my dog is sleeping underneath it. My dog. I crawl over and carefully run my fingers through his thick, curly, brown fur. I calm down. Suddenly, I notice the pair of shoes across the room by the big, leather couch. Tears quickly begin to form in my eyes and they begin to sting. You probably think I'm crazy – crying over shoes. But, this cuts so much deeper.  As I apprehensively walk over to pick them up, my hands tremble and I lightly grip the black and white checkered sneakers. I picture the shoes on his feet, as he was dancing carelessly through a Chicago snowstorm. I wanted to carelessly dance with him, I wanted to hug him. I pick them up and am taken directly back to that moment. It was the middle of November and the smells of vanilla and pumpkin were dauntlessly flowing through the atmosphere. The trees stood naked and kids were screeching playing hockey on the frozen pond by the park. I wanted to feel his chest gently collide with mine, feel his heartbeat calmly align with mine, and feel the heat from his body kindly warm me up. I remember watching everything as though it was in slow motion. Through the snowflakes and wind, I saw a smile grow bigger and bigger across his freckled face and his ice-blue eyes glow with joy. His chestnut brown hair was swaying in the wind as   The fast paced punk music sounded distorted as it was blaring through his second-hand amplifier. He was in a state a bliss It had been a long time since I had seen him that happy – yelling and laughing. I wanted to share the moment, live in it with him and absorb every ounce of his existence, but unfortunately, the monster of a cast on my foot wouldn't let me. I run my fingers up and down the laces and remember the first time I saw him. It was five short years ago, in the sixth grade.  He was new to school and walking nervously in the through the heavy, metal door. He had  braces on his teeth resembled the squares on these shoes. Have you ever met people and instantly knew  you guys would be great friends? Like when you find a new dress and gasp and say “This is it! This is the one!”? That's how I felt with him. I knew he would be good for be. I wanted to be his friend. I knew I would be safe with him. The kind of safe I need to be safe right now. Carefully, I untie the knots that have been tied for almost a year. I nervously slip my foot into a shoe. I repeat with the other side. I slowly tie the laces and feel him here with me. I feel his arms gently wrap around me from behind. I feel his heart beat calmly align with mine and I feel the heat from his body kindly warm me up. Hot tears roll down my face again, but I'm not afraid anymore. I realize how l blessed I am to have known Jeffery. I am thankful for the four years and five months I luckily got spend with him and I am grateful of the memories we made.  After months of stubbornly refusing to accept his absence, I assertively shuffle outside – even though its 2:30am. It hurts and it stings, but I know I need to do this. I sit on the steps and see him carelessly dancing. Its only July, but I see the snow bravely pile up on the sidewalk. I see the car, a green, four-door Honda Civic build up speed and wobble as it gets closer and closer. I see him curiously turn his head and trip and fall in the street. I see the car recklessly collide with my best friend. That was the last time I saw Jeffery. I take a deep breath as I get shivers down my spine, but I am relieved. I proudly walk back into my house. I remove my old friends shoes, with a smile on my face and bring them upstairs with me. I cautiously lay them at the foot of my bed, where he used to sleep, and position them at perfect angels.  As I heavily plop down on my floor and stare at my ceiling, it occurs to me that sometimes holding on hurts more than letting go. 

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