The Colour of the Summer Sky
And where, in curve of meadow,
Lovers, touching, lie,
A church of grass stands up
And walls them, holy, in.
-In June and Gentle Oven, Anne Wilkinson
On the night we stared at the glittering night-time galaxies from the grassy hill on your Uncle's farm, you asked me who I was. Of course I told you the usual: Andy. Who else?
"No," you said, "who really? Deep inside."
I had no answer for you then. Maybe I'll never have an answer till I'm dead and gone. Who knows. But it's been on my mind ever since.
Every time I think of that night I can't help but think of that time we went into the forest. I shouldn't have let you talk me into it, you the city boy who wouldn't know anything about the forest. I never had any doubts about it until the sun was setting and I realized you had no idea where we were. You always acted so cool and collected; I never guessed you were as lost as I was.
"That's a silver elm," you said, and I believed. "That's a sumac." As if naming it would let us understand it. When we found Charlie's property after three days in the forest I cried. I can still feel that relief in me. I held you so close those two nights we spent out there, but, if anything, I held you even closer the nights after that.
I still dream about you, like you're here with me now. But I never dream about the things we used to do. I dream about the strangest things. Just this morning, before I woke up, I dreamt that you were a bird outside my window. Every time I opened it to hear your song better, you would fly away. Dreams are funny. I remember, actually, the night before we met I dreamt I was a train. That's why I was walking the old train tracks that day.
Mom's doing fine; she stopped going to church because of what the pastor was saying about me, so that's good I guess. She brought home some fresh maple syrup the other day, so now we're having that in everything until it runs out. Dad and Kyle spend all their time bringing in the harvest. They don't let me help them.
"You should be studying," they say, the one or the other, it doesn't seem to matter. "You're our smart boy. "
So they are doing okay I suppose.
I went by your Uncle's recently. He apologized for freaking out at us when he found me in your bed. I don't know if you've been talking to him or what. Anyways, he seems to be getting on okay. I think he misses you. Maybe he misses having me around too; who knows. It must be lonely there, alone in that big house. He gave me coffee when I went. I pretended to like it because I was trying to be a good guest.
Allie wants me to tell you that she misses you too. She gave me a mix-CD to send you but I'm afraid I lost it. Sorry. She's stopped going to school but she works at the gas station now. Everyone got mad at her for dropping out, so I try not to get on her case about it, but I'm mad too. We don't hang out as much anymore, because she works a lot and I have to study. Her birthday party was fun though. We had a barbeque at her place. Everyone you met was there, and some more people from our school. We laughed a lot and the food was really good. I wished you were with us but we had fun anyways.
The weather is getting colder. I guess it must be getting colder in Toronto too. But things there probably aren't this beautiful. The trees are changing colour and everything smells smoky. The crickets sing every night. The moon keeps getting clearer and brighter.
I love the fall but I miss the summer already. Remember when we went blackberry picking by the creek? Now every time I eat blackberries I think of you. They were so ripe. You squished blackberries all over my body, remember that? That shirt got ruined. Mom cut it up and now we use it for rags. After I got all sticky, and the dust started coating the berry stains on me, we swam in the creek. The water was never more clear and cold, never more refreshing.
And now I'm remembering when Allie and you and me biked out to lake Erie. That took hours! We were so exhausted we didn't even want to swim. But there were so many people at the beach. It was so much fun. And we had that delicious dinner at the restaurant… I can't remember what it was called. But I had the pulled pork burger and you had a salad, and I made fun of you. When the mosquitoes started coming out we started to head back, and didn't get home till it was so late we crashed at your Uncle's.
And remember the time we went to the summer fair?
Of course you remember all these things. You were there too. I don't know why I'm talking about all this. Yeah, I guess I do know. Those were beautiful days. I want to know that somebody else remembers them like I do. That they matter to you like they matter to me.
I guess you want to know how I'm doing, too, don't you? I spend most of my time studying. Sometimes I walk the train tracks like we used to. I miss you. I try not to think about it too much, because then I feel down, but it's true. I'm trying hard to graduate with good marks so I can get into a good university, like everyone wants me to. I guess like I want me to, as well.
Anyways, I'm writing just to say that if you have any time, maybe you could come back to visit? I can drive out as far as Woodbridge to meet you at the bus depot.