I was rushed across the street to my neighbors, quite close to midnight, as my parents, tense and excited, sped off. A new face found its way into my family, triggering endless questions and curious glances. I lived up on a hill, and looked down to see all the small people, oblivious to the fact they were being watched by innocent eyes. The old rock wall behind our suburban house was worn thin from the many hands and feet that trotted up and over it day after day. And the forbidden, wild strawberries that grew on the base of the wall, nearly always found their way into my mouth. Different houses, different friends, but always time for Mr. Bubbles and hand-picked daisies. Always having a hand to hold, I lived under an invisible shelter for years, just glimpsing the real light. Other’s looked at me with accusing stares, without ever seeing through my passive face. New school, I could change anything about myself, but I didn’t know enough about myself to change. All smiles and hushed giggles, swapped secrets at midnight never to be heard again were taken in with greed. I hear the roaring applause as my trembling fingers found home on the cold keys of the piano, the only thing that can unlock my soul. Too much turkey and too little caffeine left me slumped against the wall on Thanksgiving evening. I stood at the top of a boulder jutting out into the swirling water, the butterflies exploding in my stomach. One leap, and the cold water closed me in, only to spit me back out under the covered bridge. My feet barely hitting the ground, I felt myself jump up and let the pole glide me over the crossbar to victory. My legs burning, I could barely see the top of the prodigious, ski hill, but half way up, it didn’t look nearly as menacing. Confidence radiated from my smile as I accepted the award, barely containing my delight. Only a wire holding me up, I flew across the forest canopy, the wind twisting through my hair. My body went ridged at the starting line, waiting for the gun to sound. I felt my feet pounding across the sunbaked ground, just begging for relief. Entering a completely new school with familiar faces brimming with anticipation by my side, we would do anything to find our place, leave our legacy.
August 28, 2011