This was so stupid. I could get kidnapped or shanked being out here all alone. Even though I gripped my cell phone tightly, I didn’t feel safer. Here I was, walking down an empty street alone, all because of one stupid hope. I tried to reassure myself it would be okay. After all, exercise would be good; I had spent all day inside cleaning the house. It’d also be nice to get away from the house, where the silence deafened me. I also kind of hoped he would find me there, even though I already knew he wouldn’t, but none of this mattered because apprehension still clung to my thoughts as desperately as I clung to the hope in my chest.
My feet tapped the pavement in rhythm, making a small patter with each step. The sun rested on my skin, as if trying to comfort and congratulate me on leaving the house of my own accord. The wind was soft, and I tried to relax, but I couldn’t help the wrenching feeling of anticipation in my stomach, my eyes darting around nervously, waiting for some creepy guy to jump out and take me away. ‘I really need to stop watching ‘America’s Most Wanted’ before bed.’ I thought, chastising myself.
Whenever I wanted to go somewhere, I’d just call him.
“Hey, do you want to walk with me?” I’d ask, which was our unconfirmed code phrase for ‘I’m scared to leave the house alone; will you come with me?’ I could hear his smile on the other side of the phone.
“Sure! I’ll be right over.” I’d hang up, exhilarated at the thought of being free to leave the house, and yet protected from everything I was scared of. That’s exactly what Canyon was; my guard. He protected me from everything out of the house, and from myself. If it weren’t for my best friend, my fear of solitude would have slowly been my downfall. Yet, somehow, by stopping mine, we started our own.
I finally arrived at the park, where a small girl swung by herself on the swing set, and an old woman, who I could only assume was the grandmother, sat on a bench dutifully. I sat on the swing beside her and pushed off with my long, lean legs. My legs were the only things I liked about my body; I was small chested, skinny, and very pale; the exact opposite of what people said I should look like. Not like I cared much; having the latest look didn’t claim my undying attention.
The silence here was almost as vociferous as the silence at home. I could feel the little girl staring at me curiously, but I ignored it. My attention was focused on something else entirely.
My gaze was attached to the park entrance. Conscious of it, I tried to get myself to look away, but I just homed in at the gate, however irrational it was. Although deep inside I knew he wouldn’t show, I waited, looking fixedly, as if expecting him to stroll by any minute now. To a passerby, it would seem that I was merely waiting for someone that was running late, but as the minutes ticked by, it was apparent they weren’t showing. For some reason disappointment caught in my throat.
Argument after argument. A constant battle and rhythm of anger thrown at each other, building up and harmonized with each other to create one loud, angsty song of teenage drama. A song about heartbreak and recognition of knowing things would never work between the two best friends. No matter how many times I replayed each fight over and over in my head, no matter how loud I heard him beg over and over for me to give us a chance, the only thing I could think of was him walking away from me while I sat on this very same swing, hearing the song fade away.
Almost as if fate was reading my mind, the sound of Vans approaching snuck into the silence, so quietly I wasn’t quite sure I had heard it. I looked up in shock. There he was, wandering by as if it had been any other day. He looked at me and stopped, staring in my eyes the way he always used to; as if he could see inside me and know what I was feeling. My legs locked and I couldn’t function anymore. Eventually I swung to a slow crawl and sat there for what seemed like hours. He gazed at me. My storm blue eyes filled with tears and I stood, swaying. He shifted slightly, as if to catch me if I fell over. I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. It was as if my voice had blown away with the wind, and the only thing I could do was look at him, trying to form my parted lips around something. I tried to find the anger, the abandonment, the resentment, and the longing that had been plaguing me for the last six months, but all I found was the overwhelming sadness stuck in my heart like a brick, and the longing to embrace my best friend as I had missed doing.
I jumped, startled, as there was a thud besides me. The little girl next to me, having leaped from her swing and landing sloppily on the bark chips, continued to look at me, as if contemplating something. I looked at her briefly, and then the ground, shaking my head in disbelief. I had daydreamt the whole thing. A wave of desolation crashed into me with such a force that I swung harder for a moment, but abruptly, I realized I couldn’t do this anymore. I launched off the swing and flew through the air, landing quietly and leaving the park without a second glance. The little girl stared after me, saying something I couldn’t quite catch, but I could have sworn she said, “You knew he wasn’t coming.”
Created: Dec 14, 2010arsonisart Document Media