By Matthew Chu
“My mom got me a cookie for lunch!”
“We can share! I’ll break it in half for you!”
“Really! Yay, thank you!”
“You are the best friend ever; the best-est of the best…of the best”
“We’ll never stop being friends.”
“Yep. We’ll be friends forever and ever and ever.”
The path is steep with little stones lining it. Some of the stones get dislodged as I continue up the hill, rolling down the path until I can no longer see it. At last, I reach the top. I climb up the majestic oak tree with its branches proudly spreading in every direction. I sit on my usual branch with my back leaning on the broad trunk and look out over the entire valley. The highway, with all of the headlights, looks like a glittering ribbon spread out across the valley, and the houses sparkle like diamonds. Geese are flying south for the winter, their formation perfect as ever, leaving behind no goose. How do they do it? How do they not leave behind a single one?
I wonder what I would be like if I were a goose. Geese stick together with their friends, but have I stuck with mine? All the friends I have lost touch with, all the friends that have drifted away? I sit in the tree with my head buried in my knees. I wish I could talk to them. I wish I could tell them how much they meant to me. Meant?
How much they mean to me.
Everyone says letting go is fine and that it’s a part of life. I believe them. But it’s hard. It’s like letting go of a piece of you. The wind suddenly picks up, taking wildflower petals and leaves from the oak tree I was in out into the unseeable distance. I pause for a moment, taking in all the sights around me as the cool breeze touched my face. Seeing the flowers and the tree relinquish its petals and leaves to the wind sparks a realization from deep inside my mind. Those flowers and this tree are still here and thriving even though they let go of a part of them. They will continue living on, but will always be thankful for those petals that beautified them or for those leaves that helped them live and filter in all the sunshine. The wind took them away, but like everything else, it is just another part of life. You can’t command the wind to stop, no matter how hard you try, just like you also can’t control what life throws at you. I finally know how to let go and dig inside my pocket for my journal and pen.
I wish I could tell you that you were one of the brightest rays of sunshine in my life.
I wish I could tell you how much I cherished our time together and how much I appreciate you.
I wish I could tell you how I have changed because of you.
And lastly, I wish I could tell you…thank you.
I tear out the paper and fold it into the shape of a flower. I hand it to the wind and the wind takes it to join the rest of the wildflower petals and leaves. As I watched the silhouette of the paper slowly fade away into the valley, I couldn’t help smiling as I thought of all the memories I had made. Those would be cherished forever…
…And ever and ever and ever.
Ian Cumming, Dawn Geese, Unsplash