Freedom

Maine was always the place when life started to make sense. You could say it was the place where I had many of my epiphanies. It was during the summer, of course. The summer was about the only time of year when one could actually have the time to think. For two weeks out of the summer, Maine was my escape. After a hard year at school, it seemed as though my summer wouldn’t be much different. Yet, Maine proved me wrong. Although my summer reading list for my language arts class and Advanced Placement classes consisted of about one thousand pages I would have to read, I tried not to sweat it. I had been yearning for Maine all year, so I was going to make sure I enjoyed it. My friend came up with me that particular year. She was my best friend. Lily wasn’t much of a talker, but when she did talk, she always had the simplest, yet best words to say. "The best friend you can have is one you can sit on the porch with and not say a word, then get up and feel like that was the best conversation you've ever had." That was Lily and me in a nutshell.

One day, for some reason, God seemed to have sent me a low point. I woke up, and I felt miserable. I had no idea why. But my body ached, my mind hurt, and my heart felt like it might burst from too many emotions at once. Lily took me out onto the dock and we sat there for a few hours. For the first hour, we barely said a word to each other. I was too busy running my hand across the surface of the water, letting it trickle through my hot sweaty fingers, drop by drop, until there was no more because the sun had evaporated anything that was left.

I suddenly felt the urge to jump into the cool Maine water and swim. I needed to get exercise and keep my mind off of whatever was bothering me. The first touch of the June water was like ice. I was used to this though. Summer after summer made me prepared. The water was cold, but refreshing – something I hadn’t experienced for a long time. Moving around in cold water makes the water seem warmer than it actually is. It eases the shock, yet sometimes it’s the realizing shock that one wants to feel. I swam far out into the lake and then just stopped. I was laid on my back and floated there for a while, not thinking that I could catch hypothermia or get hit by a boat. I didn’t care about the physical pain. What was pain anyway?

Something touched me. I was knocked out of my daydreaming zone. A pink float was at my side. Lily had joined me. She lay atop a green raft and began looking where I was. We laid there for another hour looking at the sky and taking in the beauty all around us. Something inside me changed. I was being lifted up, renewed of a past that wished to be forgotten.

I just knew that in a week when school started up again, I would be at my low point again. I could just see the clock of summer ticking away showing me that my time for “the way life should be” was running out. I didn’t want to leave the one place I loved most. Every time I crossed into the state of Maine, there was always the sign, “The Way Life Should Be,” reminding me that I was free.

What is freedom exactly? I used to think all of America was free, but I had been wrong. During most of the year, I do not feel free. I still feel constrained; I still feel ordered. I must still meet deadlines. I must learn what I am told to learn. I must attend all of my classes on the school’s time, not mine. I must sit in the same desk of each class day after day with no option for change. I must write with blue or black ink, never red. I must write my creative writing piece with the exact prompt that I was instructed to write with. I must sit at the assigned table in the cafeteria and eat the assigned lunch planned for that day. I must complete the five hours of homework each night. I must make good grades. I must pass the SAT. I must attend college. I must get a job. I must marry. I must have kids. I must bring up my kids the way I was brought up. I must pay the bills on time. I must pay off my credit card bill. I must be happy. I must. I must. I must. There’s no say in the matter. That is what is expected.

Out here, there isn’t much of anything I must do. There are no expectations. I can look wherever I want, think of whatever I want to think, say what I want or do not want to say. I have freedom because I am not with anyone else, well except for Lily, of course. Yet, I doubt Lily would ever instruct me to do something, perhaps suggest something, but never instruct.

“It’s a nice day, huh?” she asked me.

“Beautiful,” I replied.

“Sunsets sure are magical huh?
“Yep,” I shortly stated.
“Shall we go in soon?” she asked me with an eyebrow raised.

I turned onto my side to face her. “I want to stay out here for a while, is that okay?”

“Of course,” she said as she began to paddle away on her raft back towards the dock. “You can do whatever you want.”





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback