By JD Mader
Am I thinking? Yes, I am thinking. I am lost in a field of reminiscence. The smell of sunlight on the dry grass is overpowering. I know you are right behind me, although I can’t hear you. You’re so damn quiet. Makes some people nervous. Not me. I wonder about it, though. But I know you won’t appreciate the question, and I don’t know if I have the guts to ask, regardless.
You smell that?
Yeah, I smell it.
And my mind is creating flowcharts, letting imaginary conversations blossom and grow firm and full on the stalks of social ambition. You are not interested in me. You look, but you do not see. I get that. I can hear it in the way you breathe. I can see it in the light, soft sneaker prints you leave. I don’t want anything more than you are willing to give. You are company on a day that is filled with silence. I’ll take what I can get.
We walk and walk. And, soon, we are at the creek. You call it a crick. I wish I did. But my accent is all fucked up from bouncing around the country. It doesn’t matter though. Not to either of us. You are content to enjoy the silence. I am content to let you be content.
I’m going to be moving in a few weeks.
I throw it out there, like a line with too much weight. I wonder if it will make a splash. But you don’t say anything. I am prepared to accept that, but then I look over and see you shaking with anger.
Yeah, I don’t want to.
When did you find out? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?
I found out a few months ago. I didn’t tell you because … I don’t know. I was hoping it would go away.
We stare at each other and suddenly the trickle of water is overpowering. So loud. I want to cover my ears.
(She is crying softly.)
I won’t forget you.
I won’t forget you either.
But that is a lie. A flat out lie. She doesn’t know it, but I do. My brain has gotten good at this. Sever and cauterize. Don’t look back. Don’t open your eyes. Stumble blindly forward. Are you there? Can you hear me? Who am I even talking to?
But for that day, for a moment, I pretend it’s true. Sure, we’ll write. Sure, we’ll stay friends. Sure, the summer will never have to end …
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