The girl ran over hills and dunes, striving to keep up with him while holding back the hair whipping all around her face. He urged her to follow, and hurry. He made jokes about how tiny she was… how he could just throw her into his pocket and rocket them away. They were going to wherever their running legs would take them. Who needed a plan when any direction was good enough? There wasn’t any need to determine a finishing point. Their companionship was the ultimate destination.
Her 12-year-old heart laughed with his in complete ease. He told her she was the nicest person he’d ever known. He called her every name that he knew meant precious and he said that no one could ever be the best friend she was. She was so happy to have found him; no one wanted her for their best friend like that – ever. She was somehow always lacking a certain something that said No. 1 material, like the kids who always get picked last for every team.
She’d first sought him out when she caught glimpses of him in behind all the grown up discussions coated in angst, behind all the searches for adult contentment that had surrounded them for years.
At 12, he was still as shy as he’d been at 6, but she saw him when most barely acknowledged he’d even existed. He was taken off-guard when he realized he’d been spotted. He was used to being ignored, often drowned out by back to back beers or wine or depression. When the grown up around him wanted company, the last person he chose was his 12 yr. old.
The boy didn’t know he was lonely until he’d been seen. He didn’t know he could actually even love. He came to adore her, first for her seeing, then for being. He couldn’t bear to be away from her for even an hour. He’d go to sleep with her fully enveloping his thoughts until he woke up to resume them. Lifetimes of plans replaced empty, faraway dreams.
One night, after an effort of determined, careful planning, they got to share a room, snuggled within the safety of one another’s presence. They were startled awake though, in the middle of the night. The grown ups were fighting, loudly. It terrified the boy and he bolted. He ran as fast as he could. He left her behind.
Somewhere in the middle of his running he decided the grown up of his experience was right, the only way to be, the only way to cope was the head-on pursuit of simplicity, the eternal chase of a good cocktail and easy lovin’. Safety ensured by familiar pattern.
When she realized he’d turned back to the shadows, she stumbled from the room, once again rushing, this time blinded by the tears coursing over her face… As she ran, she heard his grown up and his grown up friends laughing behind her. They yelled out, “Ah, face it, kid you weren’t enough anyway”…
When she got home, her grown up cried with her as she rocked her. She whispered, “I’m so sorry sweetie, but you were always meant for far, far more than simple”…