Splintering wind crashes over our rosy cheeks as we speed down Darby Ln. We split into different roads to see who can reach the Spring Lake Park faster. I can feel the freshly paved roads pass under me as I briskly turn into the almost empty park. A rush flows through my body when I notice that no one is here.
“I’ve done it again,” I breathe out to myself as I mark my point in my notepad, “four to one”. So I perch on the lone bench that is surrounded by the ever-changing oak trees and shut my eyes. My ears are filled with the distant whisper of birds chirping as they migrate and the soft rustle of leaves on the gravel. This is my hideaway. I can feel it. Once I pick up the sound of the sudden slamming brakes of my rambunctious brother, I shoot up and sprint to him.
“How’d you get here first again?” Denis, out of breath, asks.
“I tell you every time that my way is faster!” I laugh.
“Christina’s on her way,” Denis tells me, “but she left a little later.” We sprint to the amazing swings and swing until we can’t fly any higher. By the time all three of us show up, we’re riding our small bikes in circles around the vast parking lot.
“Be careful!” Christina yelled, “Do you see that turtle?”
“We should put it back in the lake” Denis suggested.
“Don’t hurt it,” Christina warned, “They can bite.”
“Do you guys see that guy by the lake?” I asked. A tall man dressed in black is standing, with sunglasses, arms crossed on the other side of the glistening lake.
“Yeah, I think he’s watching us” Christina whispered.
“You two are totally freaking out,” Denis sighed, clearly not bothered “we live in the safest neighborhood ever.” I give him a straight glare even though he is probably right.
“No one else is in the parking lot except him” I whispered, “maybe we should go home.”
Christina muffled, “Quick guys, Mom said I’m in charge of you two.”
I started biking and waved them over, “Let’s go!” We pedaled our little bikes as fast as we could, my adrenaline pumping. Left. Right. Right through the neighbor's yard. I look back and I swear I can see that man’s car following us. I have never been this terrified. As we turn into our driveway, we jump off our bikes and throw them in the garage. We grab each other's sweaty hands and dash inside.
“We’re okay, we’re okay,” Christina, the eldest of us assures. And so we settle in our cozy living room, comforting each other. This is my hideaway.
Looking back at these times made us recognize that as kids we definitely imagined to our greatest abilities. Months flew by like days and the memories that we made came even faster. Leaping into the freezing lake at Spring Lake Park with our clothes on and getting in a whole lot of trouble. Going for a swim with our family every other weekend. Competing with my helpful dad in tennis. Moving away. I will forever remember all of these moments I had at Spring Lake Park. When we were just little kids having a race on our bikes. Moments I will never forget or regret.