How to Mourn.

I was sitting in the grass on this bare lot between the two houses. It was about a block away from my house, and I'd just walked there to sit, and stare, and smoke my cigarette. The sun was going down and casting all these beautiful reds and oranges over the weeping willows down at the bottom of the slope. All the willows grew out of this cement drain thing that ran along behind the houses, which made sense. You'd never notice the sludge in the back, just the nice peonies in the front. Unless of course you were interested in little dandelion-filled gaps that somehow manage to survive in suburban America. Then you'd see all the cement, and slime, and stagnant water that is home to mosquitoes and frogs and various other unpleasantries. It sounds bad, but it wasn't, not really. The weeping willows were nice, really nice.

He came and stood beside me in the grass. All hail the awkwardness. He finally sat by me at a distance that was just far enough away and just close enough to match his hesitant 'hello'. It is really incredibly hard to start a conversation with someone when you are mostly concerned with whether or not your toes will touch if you sit cross-legged. He asked me what I was doing there, so I told him I was rewriting my life in my head. I told him that real writers don't have to write what they know, but I wasn't a good writer, so instead of making my own brand new story, I was just retelling my life the way I would have liked it to have happened.

He laughed at me.

Then he asked me why I chose here of all places to 'rewrite my life story'. This place was special; there was something protective and secluded about it. It was the one 'out of place' place in this suburban hell. It had dandelions that grew so thick they could never be weeded out. Grace and I used to run through in the summer and dash the heads of the dandelions to pieces, spreading their seeds everywhere and pissing off all the anal middle-aged men who wanted those precise and perfect green lawns. That was before she got glasses, learned to paint, and ran off with the artsy nazi crowd. Last I heard she wore only black and drank a lot of espresso.

Then I forgot whom I was talking to and told him about how I came here to cry. Here was where my parents could never hear me. I told him about how I couldn't let them hear me because I couldn't make them worry any more. Only God and maybe the neighbors on either side, if they were standing particularly close to the wall, could hear, but the neighbors would probably be too freaked out by the crazy girl sobbing on the lawn to actually come outside to say anything. That pretty much just left me with God. He looked uncomfortable, like he didn't know how he was supposed to react, and I wished I hadn't said anything.

Then the unexpected…

"I'm sorry."

For the first time I actually turned to look at him. I covered for myself by stubbing my cigarette out in the dirt to my left, but I was studying his face. His hair always curled in this weird little way right in front of his ears, and it had always driven me crazy. Even in profile you could see that despite his tough, bohemian, 'I havn't shaved for days so I must be an intellectual' stubble, he was still such a young boy.

"Don't be sorry."

I ducked my head back down, and I knew this time he would be the one studying me. My hair was pulled back in these ridiculous little pigtails that I really only wore because my mother hated them. My hair was so short that they were just weird little nubbins. He was probably noting my abnormally small ears that he had often made fun of and called cute in the past. He probably noticed the way this one freckle on my face shows up only in direct sunlight. It's weird. He probably noticed that I had new mascara that made my lashes "Fuller and Longer with a Long Lasting Luscious Effect!"… Well…probably not.

The next car that drove past had its headlights on. I told him it was getting dark and I needed to be headed back. He said he should get going too. We both got up and stood that distance apart that is just far enough away and just close enough together to match our meek 'goodbyes.'

And I turned around and walked back home. I left without telling him the third reason I'd chosen that place to rewrite my life. I remembered the first time he and I sat there together. That time it had been him crying on my shoulder. It had been him spilling his story to me, with all his fears tumbling out.

And we sat that distance apart that is not far enough apart to avoid your toes touching when you sit cross-legged and just close enough together that every time he turned to tell me another secret, the secret was right on the lips.

And we stayed that was till some kids drove by throwing firecrackers out the window.

We never came back as we, just he and I, far enough away to see what we had, and close enough together to be reminded of what we lost.