“It’s lonely when you have an opinion.” I heard her voice before I saw her, sitting on the park bench, shoulders slumped in surrender. I glanced around and realized she was talking to me. Without making eye contact, staring at the ground, she continued, “they say they want you to tell the truth but they don’t, really. They don’t want to know how you really feel. But still, they tell you they want the truth.”
I sat on the farthest end of the bench and quietly spoke, “Who wants the truth?”
She looked at me, eyes opened wide, and her gaze penetrated my soul. “Everyone.”
Daily Prompt – Stump
I went to the woods, where we used to go when we were young, to escape our tragic teenaged lives. I found the rock we used to sit on, talking about our dreams, about our futures, planning and scheming what our futures would be. Walking further, I looked for the tree where we carved our initials, SRM + SAR. I’m sure if anybody passed they assumed it was for lovers, but we were best friends since middle school. When we were still innocent and impressionable. We clung to one another out of necessity, borne of exclusion into the popular crowd.
Then in our junior year of high school, you became one of the anointed few. A popular boy took a shine to you and your stock soared, taking you to new heights we had previously mocked. Of course you couldn’t take me with you. That’s not the way it works. So I watched as you became the person we always mocked. But this time I didn’t have anyone to taunt with. You were generous enough to walk by me without commenting, a small favor for such trivial times. I resented you but I was thankful that you left me alone. As sad as I was that you had left me behind.
I finally found our tree, what was left of it anyway, chopped down and now just a stump. It was in the clearing, marked with the stones we left in the ground. Unmistakable to anyone but you or me. I brushed away the moss from the base of the tree and thought of all the conversations that took place here, all the dreams, all the plans. A sad smile crossed my face and I fought back the tears. “I’ll always love you Sara.” I said as I touched the tree stump. I stood and made my way back to my car. I had a memorial service to attend.