An Old Man on the Hill

His journey continued

Parking his car in a corn field
Walking through the field
Receiving occasional cuts on his arms and face
As corn stalk leaves grazed him
Causing his skin to itch
Almost as if they wanted to stop him
From making his way to the hill

He remembered his youth
Being paid cash by the hour
To pull the tassels out of most of the rows of corn
The task he once did all day long felt daunting
For he knew that he’d not last 15 minutes

His journey continued

Suddenly, there was a clearing
His fragile heart began to race
The open field signaled to him
That he was getting closer
To the hill

The narrow gravel path
Adorned with raspberry bushes
In season, red, and ripe as ever
He picked a few berries along the way
The taste, paired with the sensation
Of being on the path again
Took him back, way back
To a place where he was barely 7 years old

Interlaced with the raspberry bushes
Were bushes that produced other fruits
But these fruits were poisonous
He thought of his playmate, Teresa
And how he had begged her to NOT eat the berries
He told her they were “poison berries”
And she declared them “boysenberries”

She had been gone for a very long time
And yet her memory was burned into his ancient brain
She had just turned six years old
Her blond hair waving in the golden sunlight
“Oh, how I wish we’d never stopped to pick berries”

His journey continued

The narrow gravel path branched out
Gravel to the right
Dirt to the left
The old man thought long and hard
“We went left”

His journey continued

A noticeable incline began to build
Beneath his feet
Confirming his choice
Not much further now
Mud and dirt collecting on his shoes
Making his feet heavier as he progressed
Toward the hill
He could barely see the tree

His journey continued

At long last
He made it to the tree
On a hill that felt more like a bump in the land
There was a tire on the ground
Near the tree
Rope rotted
Flowers growing from the center of the tire

“I used to push Teresa in that swing”
He could hear her laughter once again
Glancing upward, a “Y” in the branches
Caught his attention
He had tried to climb the tree
But fell and scraped his knee
And Teresa comforted him as he cried

His memories of Teresa
Felt mostly correct
Except she appeared to have aged with him
Her face in his mind, youthful, yet somehow old and wrinkled
It was a life-long fantasy of his
That he and Teresa would grow old together

Leaving the shade of the tree
He sat down in some nearby tall grass
Looking at the tree, the tire, and all that surrounded it
Darkness would fall in the next few hours
Or maybe sooner than he thought

His journey continued

Walking through the tall grass
He could hear Teresa’s voice
“Let’s grow up and get married”
She said to him
What sounded yucky to his child mind
Today felt more like a regret
That it was something that could never be

His journey continued

He turned around
To glance at the tree on the hill
One last time
His left arm tingling
Just a while longer
He wanted to stay

Back toward the path
He encountered a broken, flat
Piece of concrete
His heart shuddered
It lay upon the ground
Like any other rock
And although familiar
It still had no natural reason to be there

With caution, he lifted the piece of concrete
To look underneath
Could it still be there?

A dirty, faded red hair bow
Teresa had taken it off
He remembered her putting it there
Hiding it for his older self
As she put it
“Someday, you’ll come back
Maybe you’ll think of me”

Oh, how he wished that Teresa could come back

Sunlight was fading
The tingle in his arm was gaining in strength
As was the sensation of exhaustion
Taking over his body

He held the rotted red bow in his right hand
As he laid down in the tall grass
“Just for a few minutes”
He said out loud
In a weakened voice

“Boysenberry”

His journey continued

Early 1970s: Camping in my back yard. The light-colored house was where Teresa lived.

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Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

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