These were the days. The days we didn’t care about others opinions, because we had just dipped our toes into the cold waters of teenage years. Criticisms of the world have not damaged us yet, we act without considering judgement.
Sarah was a special person. She was like none of the friends I have had before. People often said she is special. I wasn’t quite sure what they meant by it, but now that I have matured, I understand. She was a beautiful mind, and everything she did, was with good in her heart. Sometimes she’d disappear for months, nobody would see ever on social media, or anywhere, and then she would appear. As if she hadn’t been absent for three months. Sarah would wander off- her mind was always elsewhere, sometimes she left her friends for hours, and then she came back. But they always knew she would. Sarah made friends with strangers, and radiated beautiful energy. Sarah danced to the world’s rhythm, and didn’t care who would watch.
Now I haven’t seen Sarah in years. I wish I had bathed in her good energy when I could. I regret being as negative as I was at the age of thirteen- negative and overly introverted. I wish I, too, could have blessed her with positive energy. Sometimes I see her around, and she still has the same radiance she always has. No matter how much times passed, shell always greet you with a blond framed face and calm green eyes.
I recall a day where we had nothing to do. She threw ideas into still air, hoping i’d catch one of them with a loose grip.
“So what do you want to do?”
“I don’t know, what do you want to do?” I always said this.
“Hmmm.” She tilts her head to the sky, and thinks. She thinks, and thinks. And when she is finished, she speaks unreasonable ideas. “
“Do you wanna see if we can drag the kayak to the canal?”
“No, the tides low and it’s too far to carry.”
“Do you want to skateboard somewhere?”
“Not really in the mood.” She still hadn’t gotten annoyed with my constant denying.
“Remember the last time we tried to build the house out of sticks and palm fronds? Maybe we could make it work this time.” I recall how this event consisted of me watching sarah build a house of sticks and palm fronds.
“Come with me. I have an idea.” She was never short on ideas. So I followed her through my yard, and we end up at the side of my house. There is a Fisher Price wagon leaning against the old wooden fence. Its red plastic is chipping, and it houses a decent-sized hole at its base. She slowly lifts the handle, and the water inside flows into the dirt, creating little eddies in the mud.
“Where’s the hose?”
“Right here.” I put it into her hands, unsure of her need for it. “Why do you need the hose?”
“To clean the wagon.”
“Why are you cleaning the wagon.”
“You’ll see.” She waves the hose into the wagon, and the water rushes up its sides, collecting dirt with wet hands. And she tilts it over, dries it with an old rag.
“Where’s your bike?”
“Why do you need the bike?”
“Do you have rope?” She blows off my question.
“Yeah, in the shed, i’ll go get it.”
“Get the bike too.” I listen, and grab both things.
“So what are we going to do?”
“I was thinking we can tie the wagon to your bike. We can use the rope to do it, and we can take turns riding in the back. We’ll ride to the bay. What do you think.”
“You always have the strangest ideas. Sounds good to me.”
We stand on the side of the street where the grass meets the pavement, putting together our conjunction. Hands wrap round rope, stringing it through metal bars, and tying plastic handle. When the setting up is done, we are on the way.
I sit in the back of the wagon, and she is on the bike, swaying from side to side, as she picks up speed. The wind smacks my face, and popping of rocks and street matter fill my ears. The grinding of worn, black plastic tires on the street is constant, and somewhat unpleasant. But this was indeed, the highlight of my day. Some moments you don’t want to smile, but the intense breeze in my hair, and the adrenaline rushing through me, pulled each side of my mouth into an intense grin. Closing my eyes, I picture how bystanders must see us. Not a typical duo, but one that was fitting. A duo that might get hit by ongoing traffic. We did not care though. It feels like a classic childhood moment, two adolescents, outside, doing something innovative and rather dangerous.
I take out my phone and take a Vine, (a seven second video social media app), and record myself laughing. Sarah turns around and makes a face, and we both laugh. This is what Tuesdays should be made of. Sarah and I switch positions, me on the bike, her in the wagon. I can hear hear her contagious laughs, and I bike faster, rocks still smacking against the tires, and then we are at the bay. It happens to be a perfect day- yet the water is choppy, and the waves swell, and crash against the rust-marked sea wall, then backwashes into itself once again.
Sarah does the unexpected, taking off her shoes, jumping from the cold concrete, into the ocean.
“It’s actually really nice in here!” She yells, over the waves, and pants, as she tries to swim to the rocks for an exit. When she makes it to the rocks, I grab her hand, beckoning her over. Lifting her up from the water, she tells me it is my turn to go in. Usually I would have said no, but this is a day of spontaneity. When else would I jump into the bay? And so I say yes, and Sarah, sweatpants soaked, and hair glued to her head, claps and smiles. Walking backwards, continue until I find a good spot to take off from. Pumping my arms, I run, run until the bottoms of my bare feet transfer from the warm grass, to cool concrete. And when they reach the concrete, I am in the air, suspended. A moment without gravity, a moment without the worries or concerns of a thirteen year old. When I hit the water, a cool sensation rushes through by body, alleviating me of the burden of bodily heat. Opening my eyes, I see dark green all around me, and I try to keep my feet from the bottom of the ocean- the sense of sea grass brushing your toes is not the best feeling.
My head is above the water, and when I open my eyes, the first thing I see is Sarah, telling me to swim to the rocks. She leans down to my level, coaching me. She can tell stress was starting to consume me again. Thoughts of sharks and sea grass make their way into my mind. Then I hear a voice that is foreign to me. A man leans over to my level as well.
“Do you need some help getting out?” I did but I was not about to take the hand of an unknown man.
“No thanks, I’m fine.” But the man declined my response, urging me to accept his help.
“Come on, grab my hand.”
“No-“ I say between breaths, climbing on the rocks, failing to get my feet to grip the hard edged rocks. He extends his arm, spread out fingers in my face. So I have no other option, than to grab his hand. I am nervous, but he helps me out of the water, and I mutter a quick “thank you,” and when I touch land, I walk away from him, back to Sarah.
“I have appreciated this spontaneous day. I needed this.”
“Anytime,” she says with one of her wide smiles.