By Conly Watson
I sat atop the all too-familiar hill, and yet had no idea where I was. A bittersweet feeling had welled up, which left me feeling dull. Someone had come to sit next to me; I locked eyes with them, unsure if I knew who I was looking at. That loneliness sunk in, the unfamiliar uneasiness, like when you mistake a stranger for a parent at the grocery store. It made me wonder if anything I felt was true, but at this point, what did that even mean.
"Do you know why it had to happen this way?" A girl’s voice spoke, and she sounded exactly how I felt. But what feeling was that, exactly?
"You mean us? No, I don't." I replied without even thinking. She laid down beside me on her back. The hill was rather ugly, not a lot of soft grass to lay on, and just a few weeds and dirt. Yet, somehow, it felt comforting to have the silence resonate from it, between us. There was no understanding in this place, there was no logic or sense, only emotion. Unfortunately, the wrong emotions.
"Do you know why I am here?" She asked. This question had a hint of something. I couldn't name the feeling it gave off, but it felt urgent. Even so, my mouth was dry and I didn't know how to continue on, so I laid on my back, staring up at the clouds with her.
"This is nice, when it's just this." I managed to say, the sun cascading down the valley leaving trails of pink and purple rippling above us.
"It is, but that isn't realistic." She was right. It wasn't realistic, but that didn't make the moment any less enjoyable. In fact, aren't rare moments like these ones to be treasured? We spend our time trying to find memorable moments to look back on. That memory can be another feeling of accomplishment, however, it's when those moments dry up and crumble that makes you no longer want to remember.
"It really isn't, but is anything that realistic?" I smiled at the thought, was this the end of a chapter? Is life really just a book? A sequel after a sequel, continuing on forever? After all, history is basically one long story.
"I don't think you understand the significance of this." At this point, she sat up and looked at me. I still couldn't meet her eyes, but I didn't bother to follow suite and stayed laying down, hoping that I could keep this moment for myself, but that wasn't realistic.
"You're right, I don't, but is that a problem?" The silence created after I said that meant that I had said the wrong thing; to me it could've been the right thing, isn't that subjective? I heard movement and sat up, opening my eyes. After a stretch, I saw that I was left alone.
"Come on, it's time to go." She called from the bottom of the hill. I begrudgingly left the hill to follow after her onto a path within the trees. They curled down at the tops, and now the sun had truly sunk and left us with nothing but each other to rely on.
"How far we walking?" I asked, keeping up behind her. I began to squint in order to see ahead.
"The place beyond the roots." She called back. I began to feel sleepy and I knew I needed to get home, somewhere familiar, somewhere safe, and yet I carried on, trying to see if I could find that familiarity with the stranger in front of me. The leaves felt dead under my feet, although now that I thought about it, that was normal in autumn, when things lose a lot of their life in order to make it through the winter.
"Is this really how it has to end?" My attempts to not sound pitiful failed miserably, and the only answer I got for many minutes was silence.
"You're leaving, there's nothing we can change about that, but there's no reason to get dragged down about it.” Yet that's how I felt, each step dragged my body down more and more. I hoped that it would be enough to stop me from continuing on. It wasn't. The path was long, but not treacherous, just long, and the trees felt as if they put a pressure on my body forcing me to be smaller than I was. Compacting me into something else, yet I still walked onwards.
We carried on in the dark until we passed the roots. I felt the tension in the air build, and she turned around and looked to me. I tried to keep eye contact, but I could barely see her figure. At this point, she could've been a wisp, something my mind created to keep me from being alone out here. I felt her grab my hand, and it was cold, no warmth from what was, or what could've been, but that was the reality I was facing. The moment carried on forever; we stood there unsure of each other. Was I also a spirit to her, something that is barely tangible? Yet, there we stood, in each other’s arms, clinging to that reality even though we both knew the truth.
"I guess this is the end of this chapter." She said leaning into me as we shared a kiss. It was unfamiliar, it wasn't the same. Still, I craved more time, more of this story, but I didn't know what to say, and I didn't get a chance, the shadow was gone.
I stood in the dark, already forgetting.