The Long Way Home
By Andrea Stark
So Long, Sweet Summer
I grew up twice, though my alter ego could dispute that number. The first time took twenty-eight years. The second took over my life.
Now, the casual passerby might see me here, crouched in a cluster of scrub oak trees, and think nothing of it. After all, children play hide and seek all the time. It’s not a strange event. Nor is it strange for adults to continue hiding long after the playful illusions of their childhoods have grown old and died.
A pedestrian could walk by me and smile to himself at my wide eyes peering through the brush. He’ll probably just look away and forget I’m here. But maybe, when the sun is out, and there’s the faint smell of hickory smoke in the air, maybe he’ll think of a time when he was a kid, perched in his parents’ cherry tree while his sister paced frantically below, muttering and unable to find him. He might stifle a giggle like he did then, like I am now. That’s the moment when we share an intimate connection, when his memory crosses my reality. It’s constantly happening. The lines that divide the past and present are illusions themselves.