I’m Trying to Get There

December 12, 2007
I very well understand the promises I’ve made and all the ones that I have broken. In any case, I usually try very hard at keeping them safe-guarded in my pocket. Even as I walk now I can hear them jingle like change would when someone keeps an over abundance of coins kept a pair of jeans. All of them, bouncing off of one another, trying to always make sure I know that they’re there.

Slipping back into the folds of my mind, I can find almost anything. My first steps, my first date, and the first promise I made; I have kept it for almost three years now. This was a first for me because I never kept something like that for that long. Thinking about it now, it seems pretty foolish of me to try and make that oath, but I still uphold it. I promised that when I moved from my old town, I’d come back and see all those people I left behind every now and then.

It didn’t seem long after I moved that I went back to go and see my friends. I took the long journey between Virginia (my current home) and Ohio (my old home) which lasted for about ten hours. When I got there my friends and I would talk about all the things that had happened in the small space of time. We’d do stupid things and entertain ourselves with the dreary rabble of the small town nearby. Eventually we would come around to talking and laughing about how many people lived in my new neighborhood and how big my school was. In hindsight, the things that we laughed about were not that out of the ordinary. Neighborhoods like the one I live in today are pretty common, and our school is small compared to other local schools in the district. Even if I were to mention this, they would ignore that fact and keep laughing anyway. It almost seemed like these people knew only ignorance. This made my ideals and thoughts seem meaningless and shallow. Whatever it was I did, they pulled a dark overcast on me. Its cloudy gloom followed me around every corner, and the only way to escape it was to let it rain. Let sheets of pouring water glisten on my face.

Around six months later, I went back and visited again. Everyone seemed so much different than the last time I had seen them. Their height may have changed or the way their hair looked. There was this one kid who couldn’t speak last time I was there. He was around four years old, going on five. He walked up to me and asked, “Who are you?”

I responded, “Who am I? Who are you?” I was in total dismay. I thought for the longest time that in no way could this child have any kind of impact on me, that he would forever remain the unspoken child. I treated him as nothing more than the purposeless baby he has always been. Yet to question me on who I was just didn’t come across right. He was the one who was different, not I. The overcast returned. This time it flew lower. The accumulating air wrapped and constricted about my head, fogging up any signs of reprisal. Even though this one was lighter than the unrelenting over cast, inside it lightning struck. It bounced from one meaningless puff of vapor to another searching for the meaning of some unknown answer. Electrical lights intensified and moved about more quickly forming tree-like bolts extending into many places. In the instant one streak began, it would disappear. I tried to push the cloud away, just brush it off, but the thought of trying to figure out who I was kept coming back. Questioning myself was something new to me and would later have a more significant role in who I became.

It wasn’t till another six months later that I came to visit again. Everything was the opposite now. Trees that were there before weren’t, and trees that weren’t there before, were. People had matured or someone had recently died. It made me think of all the good things that have happened to me there. How my friends and I would go and play catch, and how Chris would always get the ball stuck up on the roof. How people smiled and waved at you when you passed by even though they might not have known you. Now there was no ball lingering on the edge of the house’s gutters. People there just drift by you, not noticing your existence and staring into the ground with a grimace upon their face. Surprisingly, though, I never once reminded myself of the bad times. I just took this whole positive outlook on the place. For the first time, I really started thinking. This place, my old home, had become so new. Everything about it was new and I was the only thing that hadn’t changed about it. I soon realized, to my utter horror that I was as old as the trees that fell over. I was as old as the speechless children crying out for attention. I had been living in the past. I promised myself that I wouldn’t do that anymore. That when the last star fell, at a night bonfire, that I would live in the present. Even after that, I lived like the old do. Reminiscing on events that had once happened long before I was born. Thriving on those memories as though it was their sustenance. I made one last promise to myself. One more piece to add to my collection of unheard pacts.

“I will not live here anymore.” I stated. So I made that promise in order to stay away from what had already happened and so I could start truly living in Virginia. Every now and then I keep go to Ohio in order to withstand the temptation of breaking my vow. Even before I created that last oath, though, I had always hated going back and the reason was knowing that the only purpose for going there was because I promised someone that I would.

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