543 Day Writing Journey

The Crack. Day 512.

Photo by James Cheney on Pexels.com

The sun claims the afternoon sky, in the way it does from behind the winter haze, glowing white, burning imaginary holes, piercing the center of my pupils. It’s four P.M., and nobody else is on the ice but me and Kim.

“Where is everyone?”

Under our feet sits a dark shadowy abyss, not white and crystalized like one would think. I flex my eyes to focus down down down to the deep, black depth, hoping to see a Pumpkin Seed close to the surface, or maybe a bass with a big mouth and a small body. I only see black.

Our Kmart “Keds” slide on the smoothness of the clean ice, finding no bumps or dips. We skate with our sneakers, aiming for the other side, the other town. We hold no fear.

Through the warm air, we continue to glide, two graceful little blonde girls with no watches or appointments. The scent of pink deodorant and melting algae dances around. Time is our gift of that era. No curfews until after dark. We hear a crack.

It’s a hollow sound, the ice cracking. It reminds me it’s late winter and that the snow is almost gone from the dirty piles on the side of the road. It reminds me, too, that my winter coat has been hastily stuffed into a laundry basket. I haven’t needed it. We’re not wearing hats or mittens, but sweatshirts, and our toes aren’t numb.

We turn around.

I think of stories my dad told me, like the time he fell into the ice. His warnings.

We slide faster on the way back, trying not to hear any more cracking, appreciating each other and our warm bodies a little extra. We were saved that day by nothing but our lightness.

I think of the freedom Kim and I had, and although my parents were quite strict, we did have time to do what we wanted. I think more, though, of the time I wasted with her not soaking it all up. It just ended one day, and although I’m glad I didn’t know that our paths would split slightly, I wish I appreciated it more.

There’s nothing like your childhood friend. Those friendships are the most intimate, even more than a love. They’re not awkward, but comfortable, and safe. She’s heard me snore, seen me cry, and I never closed the bathroom door around her. I’m grateful I had that.

I love you, Kim.

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