When Was the Day?

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“Jess?” A small voice quivers from within the narrow alcove of the girl’s bathroom. With one hand on the doorknob and scattered thoughts of recent grades and essays due, I stop. I’d recognize this voice anywhere. The sound of it blows the dust off faded childhood memories long since stored in some small corner of my mind, the same corner that produces imagination and the kind of vivid day dreams that wonderfully contrast reality, that transport. This voice belongs to my past, it defines my childhood—it’s the voice of my very first best friend. I turn. Her green eyes are misty—layered: a surface calm determined not to pour. Her face is forced into a pained smile, each muscle fighting a silent battle, trying hard not to bend, not to break. Her hands clasp around her stomach, seeming to tug at some invisible knot, pulling it tight, unwilling to let it, to let herself unravel.
“Megan…” I say, my voice brimming with honest empathy. Arms outstretched, I step closer, but as I do, suddenly and just for a moment everything seems to change. The dingy tiled floor of the girls’ room becomes the soft summer grass of my backyard. The dull weight of the textbooks we both carry lifts—replacing itself with feathery coloring books and fists full of magic markers. Our dark hair is inches shorter, sun-streaked and adorned with one too many plastic barrettes. Both of our expensive outfits become matching swimsuits, our shoes disappear and our faces are wiped clean of any trace of make up. My mind races through the short cut formed many summers ago between my front door and Megan’s, each twist and turn of that beaten path, a keeper of secrets, songs, stories told and heard. As I pull my old friend into a hug, memories collide in my mind, seeming to beg for my attention: tennis lessons, swimming lessons, sleepovers and fairytales, that golden summer afternoon we both proudly unhinged the training wheels from our pink bicycles. Warm nostalgia, lapping at my feet now washes over me, one last image dances through my memory: Megan and I, together on our summer path, our six year old selves running, sprinting ahead, as fast as our small frames will allow….but we’re moving backwards, out of reach. And I’m left only with a question: when was the day that we grew up?
Somewhere in the distance the late bell rings, like a winter breeze, I snap back to reality. We pull away but I make no motion to leave. Instead I stay. Instead I listen.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

jessmh28 said...
Apr. 11, 2009 at 1:40 pm
Thank you so much!!
 
forever_dancer said...
Apr. 10, 2009 at 1:56 am
i have a little sis and she and i are so close- but this is unbelieveable, such a moment in time!
 
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