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Find Me Anywhere
Whenever I'd ask you where you wanted to go, you'd always say, "Anywhere but here." So, we went to the park, took a meandering walk, and sat down on one of the numerous benches. We'd spend time talking about absolutely nothing, yet somehow learning various details about each other. And before I knew it, the moon shone above us; I said that I'd better take you home, since I had to be back to my parents' place before long. Oh, the trivial cares of my life. All I noticed from you was your answer, which was an unfaltering agreement, at least to my ears. You cared so much, it hurts.
We rode in my '04 Civic in silence for a while, my eyes on the curvy backwoods road, yours looking at the stars that were lighting up the sky trillions upon trillions (and so on) of miles above our small specks of lives. I rolled down the windows to breathe in that crisp autumn air, and you barely stuck your head out enough to get your hair blowing in the wind. I don't know what went through my mind when I dropped you off at your parents' ranch house, surrounded by at least one acre of clear grassland and numerous others packed with the foliage of the Regrede Forest.
Our homes neighbored each other, but only by, oh, I don't know, eight miles? Growing up in such country certainly has its fair share of ups and downs, but I loved it. I always thought you did, too. You played so well, and I know you knew that, too. I'm sure what was going on in that head of yours were all rehearsals for every act you flawlessly played out here over these past few years. That night. . .I remember it was the only night I left before seeing you walk through that rusting front door. I don't even remember saying or waving goodbye. It's so strange how you remember all the things you didn't do, didn't notice, didn't care. Like so many others, I was just so wrapped up in time. The clock is truly our worst enemy.
As I sped up to arrive at my house on time to please my parents, I remembered that I had forgotten to give you my new phone number. I almost thought to turn around and go back, but dismissed it because I knew I'd see you at school in the morning. So, once I'd apologized to my father for being maybe, yeah, three minutes late, I skimmed through the reading assignment the teacher assigned us to thoroughly read through for English. Right now, as I'm writing this, I feel like that was how I treated our relationship, if it really could have been called such a thing. I feel as if I didn't know you at all anymore, looking back, making myself want to throw my fist into the wall for being so ignorant.
My sleep that night was so peaceful, and I felt unusually refreshed the next morning. This never happened before, and I'm thinking of the parallels between you and I. What you did, I know it was out of the norm for you, the docile, well-tempered young man--as your parents so described you.
When I went to school that next morning, I left too late to pick you up. Without much thought to the driveway that was void of a body waiting for the school bus, I drove right on by. I guess I just thought that you may have already been picked up. Nothing else came to my mind, too locked up in its own personal dealings.
But then, there I saw your empty desk in our first block. You seriously never missed school. And then, something seemed amiss. "No," I told myself, "something is definitely wrong." Everyone looked so worried, and I wondered what went happened. I'm thinking, if I could talk to you right now, I'd ask you if you remember any time you felt like you were trapped inside some sick, horrible dream. 'Cause that's how I feel right now, this very second. It's becoming so hard to write this, but what else am I supposed to do? Keep these wrenching feelings inside of my soul to the point where I'll blow up, like you did? You could have said something, anything to me. I thought you trusted me, thought we were so close.
But now, it's apparent we weren't anything. At least I didn't mean anything to you, or you wouldn't have let me be the last person to see you. The last person to not get it, all that pain stored inside that genius mind of yours. You could have been someone, and not the someone you are now to this community. Someone remembered for helping society, giving something to this world doused in pain. Instead, you just poured out another can full of despair on us all.
I don't know, I'm angry. I'm so angry I don't know when I'll even become sad again. I should be wondering why you're gone so suddenly, why you never said anything, why you just let it all boil inside you to the point where you thought you couldn't handle it any longer. But, wait, I know what you'd say--you'd say that you didn't want us to know, you cared too much about us, about me, to let us know what was so wrong with you behind that mask.
If I could--and yeah, this is the "usual regret"--I'd go back to three nights ago and do things differently. I would notice what seemed off about you, and get to the bottom of things before the time for "too late" came.
Speaking of time, it's almost three a.m. now, based on my clock. I'm wasting away precious sleep worrying so much about--wait, this isn't my new phone. There's a message here. . .from you. It was sent at 1:23 a.m., a few hours after I dropped you off at your house three nights ago. . .
"Hey, sweet girl," I read. "Find me anywhere but here. . .Love ya, Sam. . ."
I wish you could see me right now. Phone dropped on the dirty carpet, crying you a river (like that song you always made fun of); God, I can't believe I'm laughing and crying at the same time while remembering the "old" Sam. Where did he go after all these years? And how am I supposed to take your message? Is it like hieroglyphics, or just so simplistic it's complicated?
I guess I'll just never know until you return, or I find you. But leaving me with a "find me anywhere"? That doesn't narrow it down much, Sam. How am I supposed to find you. . .? Or am I even supposed to try? You're leaving me with all these questions, it's so difficult to read. Yet. . .that was who you were, Sam. You were the enigmatic boy, the one who always intrigued me to the point of just pining to get inside that head of yours. I told myself I'd never give up until I held your heart in my hands forever. . .I can't just give up now.
I won't disgrace your name, Sam Wintson.
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Pain is success