Out There, Somewhere, Under The Stars

July 24, 2011
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I know you’re out there. Out there walking along the sidewalks, seeing your breath fog up in front of you, jamming your hands down into your pockets to keep them warm because you forgot to bring gloves. Glancing, but only briefly, at everything around you. The trees with no leaves, the left over snow on the sidewalk and the brown grass that peeks timidly out from under it.

I know you’re feeling sad. Keeping your head down, looking at your sneakers as they move mechanically underneath you, pushing you somewhere. But where? You look up, only ever so briefly to meet the evening sunshine. You squint, it’s bright orange light makes your eyes hurt. Unable to look at it for too long, you look back down. Down, at those sneakers again.

Where are you headed? As you cross the bridge above the highway, your shoe catches on some gum. You stop. It’s bright pink, obnoxiously pink, and just like the orange of the evening sun it makes your eyes hurt. You turn your head to watch the cars whiz by as you gently scrape your shoe against the pavement, cleaning the gum away.

You look up. The bright orange light is gone- it has sunk, somewhere behind the rolling hills that stretch beyond the strip of highway. You catch yourself from staring too long and begin to walk again. Finally, you know where you’re headed.

No map is necessary. You remember like it was just yesterday. Suddenly, you’re a pirate following the trail to the big red X that marks where the treasure can be found. But you’re not searching for gold though you’re searching for something else; memories.

The walk is longer than you remembered, and as each step brings you closer and closer to your treasure, your heart begins to ache and your feet begin to feel heavy, like cinder blocks weighing you down. You have to stop.

There’s that minute of denial, do you continue on, through the pain? Or do you simply turn around and head back home? You stop, taking in an icy breath of cold air. You exhale, seeing your breath fan out in front of your face. With one last look towards the sinking sun, you continue on, trying hard to ignore the pain your heart.

One-minute turns into five, five turns into ten and ten eventually lollygags its way to thirty. The sun is sinking faster now, and dim light filters through the bare trees. It’s getting dark, but that doesn’t stop you. You’ve gotten too far to turn around. A pirate never turns back from his treasure. You continue on.

You’re getting closer, you can feel it. You can see it. The trees are getting thicker and the path is beginning to disappear beneath the snow-dampened leaves. It’s almost dark now and you’re alone in the woods, but that doesn’t stop you.

Every second that you get closer, the hair stands up on your body. Now, off in the distance you can smell and hear water. Smelling it’s fresh scent and hearing its soft murmur quiets the pain in your heart and begs you to continue on. Any feelings of pain are suddenly abolished, and now all you can feel are butterflies floating in your stomach.

It is dark now, practically nighttime. You know you’re mother will be worried but you’re far from caring. Let her worry for a second, it will only be a second. Won’t it?

You continue on through the dark trees listening to the quiet of the woods. It’s so peaceful, so serene. There’s a slight jab of pain in your heart as you think of the laughter that broke this calm quiet months ago. You shake off the pain; jam your frozen hands deeper into your pockets. You’ve come this far.

Ten minutes? Fifteen, maybe? How much longer will it be? You find yourself suddenly restless and impatient. Was it ever this long? Are you lost? A moment of doubt causes you to stop again. You look down at your shoes and in the darkness you can make out the laces and the now mud stained soles.

Eyes still on your shoes, you begin moving again. Earlier, these shoes had been pushing mechanically, almost robotically, towards nowhere. But now they’re guiding you towards somewhere. They’re guiding you towards your treasure.

Suddenly, you stop. This time you’re not stopping because you’ve stepped in gum or gotten tired, you’re stopping because you’re there. You’re finally somewhere.

You look up, slowly raising your head to see the scene in front of you. It’s just like you remembered, just like your dreams. The large cool pond spreads out in front of you, surrounded by tall bare trees that reach up towards the vast starry sky.

The cold air wraps around you. You close your eyes and breathe in. Suddenly, it’s summer and you see two figures running in front of you. As they run, they’re carelessly stripping off their clothing and dashing towards the pond. As soon as their feet hit the sun warmed sand they laugh and jump. Smiles cross their faces and they reach out to embrace each other.

Now you’re back, in the cold winter night, with stars twinkling above you. Gently, you sit yourself down on the damp leaves and hear them crinkle ever so softly underneath you. As you stare out at the pond, that’s when you think of me. Think of all the moments we shared; all the kisses, all the hugs, all the secrets gently whispered. I know you’re thinking of me. I know you’re trying not to cry.

I know, that at this moment, I’m leaning out my window looking into the night sky and smiling, because I know you’re out there, somewhere, under the stars.

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