Float on the Breeze
Still not sure if this is just me working myself out meta-cognitively, or if this actually works as a snippet of a story. So I’ll tag it as both and let you interpret it as you please.
“It’s really nice out.”
Well that was lame…c’mon, you can do better than that.
Greg kicked the nearest rock, then immediately regretted it. What if Lewis picked up on his frustration? Then questions, questions he wanted to answer but couldn’t.
He tried again. “The leaves changing and all, it’s really nice.”
That’s it? He’d wanted to say something about the way they seemed to glow on the branches, the way they fell with a kind of grace. He wanted to point out the way they spiraled upwards on the wind in little tornadoes, how they gleamed with the setting sun. He wanted to show him what he saw in the grass, the leaves, the very air that he breathed in to calm the machine gun going off in his chest.
And all he could manage was “It’s really nice”?
Lewis nodded. “Fall is my favorite season. It’s so beautiful.”
Damn…even that was better than what I said!
It was times like this Greg wished he could laugh it off like everyone else seemed to be able to do. Just laugh, and watch the frustration roll away on the shaking sound waves.
Lewis was rambling on, talking about his favorite memories of fall, what made them special–it was beautiful, the way he could let words flow out with such ease. Greg struggled to open the gates to his heart and catch as much of it as possible, let it rush in and sweep into the depths, where he could hold on to them and cherish them, let the memory float just the way he liked it–tingling, mildly intoxicating.
Then silence. Again.
Shoot. Now what?
Greg was about ready to kick himself. Well hey! It’s a hell of a lot better than I usually do! What more do you want!?
Gee, I dunno, maybe a little more CONVERSATION would be nice instead of being talked at!
Well maybe I COULD if you’d SHUT THE HELL UP!
Greg shook himself. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just not much to say.” Bullshit. He pulled his jacket a little closer and tightened the scarf around his neck. “We’re almost there, just a little bit farther.”
“Cool.” Lewis continued his way up the wooded hill, like he already knew where they were going.
Greg sighed quietly to himself, trying not to let his squirming stomach get to him. Was it always gonna be this difficult? No; he had to hold onto hope. There was ALWAYS hope. He knew that, even if he didn’t feel it.
So he listened to the crunching of the leaves until they came to the top of the hill, the view he’d insisted on showing Lewis. It was peaceful up here, and a nice almost-silence, looking down on a little creek with tree-speckled slopes climbing up both sides.
Please…try. Just try.
“Lewis?” He didn’t dare to turn to see if he looked. “I’m sorry I suck so much at conversation. I wish I could tell you everything I was thinking right now.”
Lewis’s voice was lower, more soothing. “It’s ok. I know you’re trying.”
Greg chuckled a little. “It’s so easy for you, your words are like that creek. They flow so nicely, so simply. Even if they’re not perfect, they’re there, and they flow in a peaceful rhythm. Mine-” He pulled his hand out of his pocket to swing it at the trees-“they’re like the leaves; they only fall some of the time, and they just keep blowing away from me.”
Lewis nodded. “I understand. But maybe that makes them more special when you catch them.” He shrugged. “I dunno, I like that you listen so well. When you do talk, it’s always in earnest, it means a lot.”
Greg smiled. “I guess the trick is learning to run a little faster. I could learn a thing or two from you.”
Lewis smiled too. “Only if you’ll teach me too.”
Greg laughed, imagining a little frustration roll away. “It’s a deal.”
Walking back down the hill, Greg couldn’t help shrugging. Well, it’s a start.
I’ll say. Panting here. Give me a second to catch up!
They walked away again in silence. A silence that was…ok.