My First Love

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It was autumn. It was memory. The pale moon was high overhead, casting an opalescent glow upon the stretch of land before us. It was all too inviting. So inviting, that we trusted our clumsy feet to take us to a destination unknown as they trampled the leaves beneath them. The cool stillness of the night was breathtaking; quite literally, for the air would steal the warmth of our breath in a puff of fog as we panted through the trees, who towered above us, menacingly. I was in love with them, with the fog of my breath. I was in love with the fall. Nevertheless, I was detached from it.

It was as if I was looking upon the scene from another point of view. I can still see him, the way I did then, just as clearly as I could see the night. I can still see the gravity of his countenance. That part of me, that memory, will never grow old. I remember how we trudged. Words were not exchanged, not yet. Silence was never a threat to us. It was a virtue. We relished in it, as we walked, our troubled, weary minds grateful of reprieve. Our skin was meant for moonlight. It was soft, and pale. We were like mirror images of one another - similar, but quite backwards. He was tall, I was small. He had dark eyes, mine were light. We were boring. I could feel our destination approaching. So did he. We walked more wistfully, more eagerly, with every stride. Soon we were running - running after each other, like a single dog, chasing after its tale. I started laughing. I felt like I was swimming through the trees, the air, the thicket. Shadows and trunks flew past me, the whole earth bobbed up and down in my clumsy view. He was smiling, ahead of me. He glanced over his shoulder and slowed down a bit to allow me to catch up with him. I slowed to a walk. We panted. The fog from our lips vanished into the night. And the stillness of our feet signaled our destination. We had but one intention in coming here. To get away from ourselves. To get away from the earth. This spot in the woods was the best we could do. We were boring. We were in a clearing. A warm, murky pond glistened through the trees at the right, and the scent of the air was musty, for it harbored the rot of fall. The night was void of the din of insects, for all were either dead or sleeping, along with most other creatures that resided here throughout the seasons. I turned my back to him and ran my fingers along a large, cold, familiar stone that was embedded in the earth. I climbed upon it, feeling as I once did in my youth when I had climbed it, before. It was just as much of an adventure to me then, as it was now. I was on top of the world. I sighed. He was looking up at me. Wordlessly, he joined me upon my tower. We surveyed our land. Beer cans. Cigarette butts. Broken bottles. Snack food rappers. Lighters. A broken lawn chair. Utopia. "I hate our jobs," he said, suddenly. He wasn't looking at me. He was staring at the earth, angrily. We had come all the way out there, and still, all that we had run from, came with us. "Me, too," I said, softly, shuffling my feet. I decided to sit down. He followed, and I turned to look at him, admiring his profile. The moon was good to us. The days, these days, were not. "We should quit," I said, after a moment. I had said these words more times than I could count. It was as if they were rehearsed. "We should work somewhere... I don't know, somewhere we actually enjoy." He sighed. "And I wish we had somewhere to go." He paused for a moment, glancing around. "Somewhere better than this." Sad, I thought. This really was the best we could do. I suddenly became aware of my discomfort on the cold stone. I eyed the litter, again, none of which had ever belonged to either of us. Apparently this was the best that a lot of people could do. I tried not to think about it. A dog barked somewhere in the distance. There was a long pause between the two of us. I knew what he was thinking about. We would be going away, soon. This was our last year in high school....
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