“It was all terrible beautiful, wasn’t it?”
“I was being poetical.”
“It was a lot of things. All at once.”
“No matter what went down, I woke up every morning and thought, ‘This is it. I feel possibility. It’s there. In the air. Possibility.’ And sure, by lunch I was telling myself, ‘Just wait. Wait it out. A year, two. You can leave. You’ll make it all happen. But wait. Just wait. Be still, be patient.’ Nothing seemed like work, you know? It was painful. I was lost. Waking up and moving forward hurt. But to do it. To move, to learn, to try. It wasn’t work. Like an actor… ‘Remember this. Someday it will be useful.’ And it wasn’t all bad either. God did I laugh. I smirked and smiled. I made eyes at people and planets came into view. We skinny dipped, drank beer, hid in forests. Hung out at malls without a dollar to spend. Late night milkshakes. Painted nails. Hair dye. Secrets. We had secrets. If people didn’t move, we could run. The world only stood still when it was all good. We didn’t need parents. We were parents. ..”
“We barely had parents,” she reminds me, as if I needed it.
“We didn’t have much of anything. But it was enough. Everyday it felt like it was all beginning. We would shift into greatness and be better than all that came before. But we didn’t, did we?”
“Things…people…it all gets narrowed down. This or that. Directions, I mean. Things got…closer.”
“Smaller you mean,” I snapped.
“No…things we could reach. Lives we never knew we wanted. It got warmer.”
“We were colder then, weren’t we?” And I laughed. “I don’t remember summers being so unbearable then. Now I suffer through the humidity and dream about swingsets in parks after closing time. I remember when people would say, ‘I don’t know what to do with you’ and it didn’t mean something messy. Square pegs and all that.”
“But those things…”
“I remember catfights and pool parties. I remember when you could smoke a cigarette and not think about cancer. Where you didn’t it feel it wearing your body down. Nothing wore the body down. We were…pliable. We bent in the wind. Climbed trees in church yards and raided haunted houses. We explored. When was the last time you explored? Sneaking to clubs and wearing old man pants…at the same time. Hours long walks where the only thing to see were people sitting on porches. Cardigans. I remember cardigans. Mix tapes. We created things and saw them, not for what they were, but what they could be. People could say, ‘You’re so crazy’ and it wasn’t exhausting. I remember Myrtle Beach. God, do you remember Myrtle Beach?” I paused to catch my breath.