What Lies Beneath

Friday, March 26

By Lane Bashline

Having an empty mind is a deadly anomaly for me. You wait for a thought to catch up with you but it never does. You turn to the clock on the wall, it's moving too slow. Hours to kill in a lifetime to go.

  Waiting for a bell that never rings. Listening as people drone on about their perfect lives makes me sick. what a shiny town, what shiny lives. The only thing interesting about this place is What Lies Beneath the surface.

 The secrets that lie beneath are always more interesting. Take Oliver for example, poor old Ollie.  What a nerdy guy, talking about how he can't give everyone his homework answers. Well underneath the surface, nerdy little Ollie is dating two cheerleaders in secret. Everyone has secrets.

 My secrets are just better hidden. Hidden by the smile on my face that sours so fast.  studious glasses and black hair. Faker than Emily's parent’s marriage. The thing about secrets is that I don't have anyone to tell them to. Well, I did have someone to tell them to. You.

 People always talk about your “ person.”  That one person who can never be replaced. Well, I guess what they don't talk about is what happens when your person leaves.  They also don't talk about my person at all. I guess my person is just another secret to them.

 My person was like a sunny day in a meadow filled with green leaves and purple flowers. Birds chirping, cutting through the air with impeccable speed.  My person was a raindrop falling into a lake, going home once again. My person was a new book, fresh and warm and entertaining for hours. My person was everything, but I still don't know what happened to her. 

One day we're sitting in math passing notes about the idiots in our class, next thing I know she's another one of those secrets. A secret that nobody talks about, a secret that I need to find out about. It's like she disappeared off the face of this Earth, erased from any map.

  When you turn off the corner of Maple avenue, almost near Lincoln, there's a wooded area. Through the damp wood there's a small lake, past the water there's a tree. It's beautiful and calm. 

We would sit and read and laugh. One year on Christmas, we snuck to our spot to watch the stars. I gave her a gift, a watch tied in brown paper packaging. It caught her reflection for just a moment, yet still, that reflection lit the night sky. The watch might keep time for a moment, but her smile as she opened it will reflect joy into the world forever.

We lay there all night. The safety of her arms protected me like an army. We stayed there for what felt like weeks. Dozing off in the softness of the meadow.

She let out a calming breath after calming breath. Almost like a brush of wind on a warm summer’s day protecting me from the frozen air. A small grey rabbit ran across the serene dark hill. Not running from anything, but running for joy as it remembers the happiness sleep will eventually bring him. We silently wish life could be as calm as the meadow.

“I love you.” I sigh, closing my eyes and falling deeper into the throws of her arms. She wraps her left arm around my stomach and then her right, falling back into the cold grass. As we fall spurts of laughter jazz up the night serenity. I roll next to her, staring at her. As if she were the sun, basking in her glowing glory. A silent scream of moonlight blushing upon her supple skin. Honey eyes and glass skin.

I go out there every day, waiting for her to appear, she never does. So I sit, waiting. She's the one person that I might wait forever for. 

That’s why I write, every day in our spot, but today was different. Today there was a musk in the air, like a freshly cleaned horse. Not a sweet or nice smell but somewhat exciting. So, naturally, I followed it. 

I followed it past the large trunk of our tree, I followed it up a meadow for what felt like hours. Listening to the bird’s chirp on and on about their lives. A walk almost to the end of the world.

The world becomes smaller. Fresher air, fewer cars. The world seemed to stand still, statues of life, oozing with disposition. The walk becomes darker but the air is still warm. As my feet long for rest, my brain calls upon adventure, feeling closer to the smell that has transformed into a purpose. 

Thinking about resting is in the past, along with the secrets. I run past the truthful trees and honest animals. They don't keep secrets, they stay with you, they hold you, cradle you until you fall asleep. Tell you bedtime stories and sing lullabies until your mind is in another world. 

My brisk walk has turned into a run for a reason. Running to find the reason, running to find the truth that this smell, this world holds. 

Walking through the woods I see a figure, I see my purpose. Standing like the sun. shining down upon me, looking at the ring of white light. I hear someone in the distance yell.

“CLEAR!” 

I can’t run to the sound, I have to find my reason. 

As I get closer and closer to the figure I feel a familiar warmth surround me. The warmth of love and care. My body feels faint yet powerful like something else is holding me up. I walk next to the figure, the women. She's strong, she's calm, she doesn’t have to say a word. She just holds out her hand and I know who it is. I try to speak but she stops me, facing me, smiling at me. My sunshiney secret, wrapped in brown paper packaging. 

My Love.

She saunters before me leaning her hand out. I’m only able to see her hand as she slowly walks into the glowing white light. I grasp at her hand, cold and comforting as she walks me into the blinding glow.

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