While I sit in the sunlight I listen to the waves crash upon the shore. The bright blue sky above me is untouched. The blue emptiness goes on for as far as I can see. It’s unusual, and kind of feels wrong. The once overcast cloudy shores of the west coast have turned into a sunny mirage that calls me back to warm days we would spend on our boat.
I see the dark floor on the tail end of the boat where I would lay while everyone else jumped into the cool water of the reservoir to escape the scorching sun of Idaho. The sound of birds perched up in the pine and birch trees that crowded the mountains. I remember skidding across the reservoir going faster than we probably should have. The string of the inner tube whipped and lashed as grandpa made sudden turns. I swear he was trying to throw you off, and that would have been real funny. Sadly you have a really strong grip. I know this because the only time I’ve ever seen you fall of the inner tube was when I did. You were laughing so hard at me that you loosened your grip and when grandpa hit that turn you fell off. It’s unfair because I had fallen off and was too busy with my irrational fear of deep water that I didn’t get to see it. I bet I would be laughing too though if I hadn’t been afraid of what could be under me ready to reach up and grasp me. It’s not that I was afraid of living things in the water. I was more afraid of the plants. Weird vines that would latch onto your leg and tall trees that peaked out of the water with their empty branches trying to grasp onto something that could pull them out.
I think about how those trees were once just normal trees on the side of a mountain before the area was filled with water. They must hate us. They must look up through the deep water at our boat and say we did this to them. They look up from the depths and see the other trees surrounding them waiting for them to come up and gasp for air. I wonder when the trees will consider the fact that their friends at the bottom of the reservoir are dead and just leave. But over these years they have sat and stared at the water waiting. They sat there and watched our boat go by during those summer days, and while we would skid across the water I would watch the trees. Among them, I remember seeing that weird wooden snowman cut out on the side of one of the mountains and wondering how it could still be there after all these years. Maybe it was waiting for the trees too, but it wasn’t in good shape. The white paint was faded and flaking and I’m pretty sure if I would have gotten a close look at it the thing would haunt me in my dreams, but I would be heartbroken if it wasn’t still there. It’s nice to have something as consistent as that snowman cutout in your life. Maybe that’s why I miss you so much.
Of course, we were never really the type of best friends that you see in movies. We fought and made up almost every other day. I guess that’s what family is for right? I remember they were all dumb fights anyway. They would be over little things that didn’t really matter, but hey, we were kids and apparently we both really didn’t want to be Velma when we played Scooby Doo. Even though we were constantly nagging at each other I would give anything in the world to be back there right now. I would give anything to be in our old cabin where we buried our time capsule full of My Little Ponies and some tootsie pops. We drew pictures for our future selves and stashed them in that duck tape box you made. The tootsie pops probably went bad. Darn it. The box is probably ruined too along with everything in it. I bet the water and dirt got to it and ate away at it. Well, everything but the My Little Ponies. Those things could probably survive through almost anything.
I still remember where we buried it too. It was five steps away from that crooked pole that marks where our property ends. I wish we could go and dig it up together. I wish we could ride the mini snowmobile around the yard and over the little hills and bumps in the snow. Of course, we’re a bit too old for that now, but it would be nice to feel that way again. It would be nice to be kids again and use those weird tiny nets to catch the grasshoppers that infested our yard. I remember feeling like that whole yard was our kingdom. It stretched for as long as we could see. The forest was our castle with its walls of leaves that sheltered us from anyone who dares to come near it. We would make chairs out of the stumps that stuck out of the ground and tables out of the fallen trees that lay across the ground in pain, but we didn’t care about their pain, they were in our kingdom.
Sometimes we would sneak into the boat and make that our castle with our cans of Shasta Tiki Punch and dirty clothes. We would play games of go fish and pinochle. We could do anything we wanted. We were the queens, we were on top of the world, and we were unstoppable.
But now we’re just people. We are normal people with normal dysfunctional lives, and I would give anything to be a queen again. I would give anything to get out of this rainy town in Oregon and come back. I miss my kingdom in Idaho and everything that came with it, but I miss you most of all.