Why, everything’s as if we never said goodbye…


Today was an interesting day.

I’m visiting with Katie for the holiday weekend, and when she left for work today I decided to snatch Louise from her house to traipse around the old hometown with me for a couple of hours. My prevailing whim was coffee, but sadly every Arabica in a 10-mile radius was closed for the 4th. (The price of freedom, I suppose…) We settled on smoothies instead, and a nice bit of conversation. After that, with a free afternoon and no concrete destination in mind we were off – all I said was that I wanted to go somewhere beautiful.

So, we took a field trip through memories.

I had the overwhelming urge to drive through Grafton, something that doesn’t happen often and is usually pretty handily stifled. Today, though, it was a perfect day and why not? We went down Rt 57 and into “downtown” Grafton, which looks more like a reasonable impression of a downtown than it ever did before. There were new places I had never seen, empty spaces where I remember other things, and updates to the most familiar points in my mind. We made it to the old duplex on Mechanic, and memories swelled. The fire, the party I held senior year where we played hide-and-seek on Main Street…the Methodist church across the street where I went to Girl Scout meetings as a child and attended a friend’s memorial a few short years later. The police station…but we won’t get into that.

Next we passed the former primary school. Since Midview constructed the elementary campus, Grafton Primary has sat abandoned, waiting for whatever fate it has earned. It was poignant, to remember climbing those oh-so-high steps between floors that somehow got smaller as my legs grew longer (or so it seemed), and to think that one day soon the building will likely exist nowhere but in minds like mine. Curiosity of course got the better of us then, so we went to visit the new elementary campus and our old high school stomping grounds. Can I just say…wow. The new schools really are state-of-the-art, just the sort of school to which I would one day like to send a child.

The rear drive connects to the junior high and high school, so in my little Vue we retraced the path that I walked with the first love of my life. It was the Saturday before Labor Day — September 2, 2000 — and Harry and I had just decided to go out that day. When the bus pulled up to the school from the Air Show we had time before our rides were scheduled to arrive, so we walked across the parking lot and around the middle school. I remember the exact spot where we had our first kiss, and just how it happened.

From there we went over and visited the weeping willows planted for Candace and Nikki, just a few months apart. Those who knew them have their own memories, so I’ll just say that it was a peaceful moment.

Last stop on the Midview train was a journey to Brush — another of the retired elementary schools, though one being used for a purpose at the moment. At the side of the school there runs a creek, with a small bridge crossing it as you get closer to the playground. It’s been reinforced, but it shows its age. We sat on that bridge almost 19 years ago, on my fifth birthday – just days after starting kindergarten – and celebrated with cupcakes. It’s such a simple and sweet thought that I often bring up that bridge in my mind when I need to remember how life used to be.

There was one consistent thread in my memories, and Katie would be the first to point out that it’s been the primary thought on my mind all weekend. If life had worked differently (not that I wish it had, necessarily), I would be celebrating 10 years with my first love. We were children when we came together, and there was a natural turning point where we just couldn’t continue down the same path. What I regret, and what brings on all of the memories until I feel like I may drown, is that we reconnected as adults and I took that connection far too lightly — so now, he’s lost to me again. And whatever came before, I always considered him one of my greatest friends and he is unarguably one of the stars of my memory reel.

It’s been interesting, as I’ve said. When I look up at fireworks tonight, I’ll be thinking of freedom. I’ll also be thinking of the road I’ve traveled, and storing those precious thoughts back in my heart – to perhaps be taken out and reexamined later, but to always be treasured.


One comment

  1. […] July 4 I wrote about memories, and about the first love of my life (“Why, everything’s as if we never said goodbye…”).  That same day, I wrote said love a Facebook message (ahh, social stalking networking) and sent […]

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