The day was bright, the sky was clear. It was a wonderful day to just enjoy the day. Though, I wouldn’t get too carried away with the word “enjoy.” A day can be enjoyable you see, but with me there’s always something missing from my day which makes my days quite the less enjoyable. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know it’s always there without it actually being. It’s in the back of my head, on the tip of my tongue, but not the tip of my finger. I can’t point at it, I can’t describe it, it’s just a feeling ya know? It’s like when you leave the house and you have to ask yourself if you’re forgetting something and you know you are, well, you don’t know, but you feel like you are, and you leave the house anyway without the thing you felt you were forgetting. That’s the feeling. In fact, everyone feels this. My friend Mia, my friend Audrey, my dear friend Zack. They all feel this kind of forgotten feeling. A feeling with no name, but you can feel it. Of course, we all feel happy and sad and alive, but we also feel a feeling that feels like it’s been forgotten in the past somewhere. Somewhere down a road, up a mountain, around the corner, somewhere along the journey of life it was lost, and it’s like the entire world forgot its name.
Ever since I was a little girl, I would have these nightmares that would utterly feel as if they destroyed my soul when I awoke. My parents would frantically run into my room terrified as if they had just heard the noise of their little girl getting murdered and sometimes that’s what it felt like. I remember waking up almost every night in a puddle of my own sweat, my bed soaked, it would almost feel as if someone had just poured a bucket of water on me. I would be shaking, as if I had just looked into the eyes of a lord who had just dismissed me. And, most importantly, I would be confused when I woke up only to realize that the dream I had was, in fact, just that, a dream. Nothing else, but imaginary.
After seven years of night terrors had passed, my parents finally felt the need to take me to see someone. Her name was Dianne. She was really sweet to me and she would ask me all kinds of questions concerning my dreams. I remember sitting out in the hallway while she spoke with my parents. I peeked around the corner every time, in attempt to see what they were doing and listen to what they were saying. Every time, she would tell my parents the same thing, “she’s getting better, we’re making progress.” One day she had me sit down and write about my most previous nightmare, and I remember it making me feel a lot better. Fast forward to seven years later when I had turned 14 and I remember her sending me home with my journal that day. Something felt odd about that day, I remember looking over my shoulder at her as I left her office. We looked at each other and presented soft smiles to one another. We didn’t have to say anything to each other for me to realize what was going on. Our synchronous smiles and eyes meeting at glance needed no words to tell me what was going on. After seven long years, she felt I was finally able to cope on my own, that I didn’t need her guidance anymore. I left her office thinking to myself, how does one do that? How does one say goodbye without actually having to use words to do it? It was like she read right through me and was able to communicate with just a simple smile and nod. It was a distinct human connection. Something I can’t explain, but I can feel. She knew the most vulnerable sides of me, she read my nightmares, she studied me and because of that we only needed things like a smile and a nod to know it was good-bye. No
language, no words, just a simple glance over my shoulder as I was leaving her office and harmonious soft smiles from one face to another.
For a while, I didn’t have any more nightmares and I didn’t see any use for my journal, so I put it away on my bookshelf where it had collected dust for about three years. On my seventeenth birthday, I got news that my parents had passed away. They were on their way back from celebrating their anniversary in Maui, and meanwhile I was staying with my aunt. I remember my aunt pulling me aside trying so hard not to cry, she looked sadness in the face and allowed bravery to take over. I remember her looking me straight into my eyes trying to explain the unfortunate occurrence that had happened to my parents, but she didn’t have to say anything. I had felt this connection already before, she didn’t need to speak to tell me what had happened. The eye contact she made with me, with eyes that looked as if they were fighting a war inside trying not open the gates of a dam and a sweet soft smile that tried so hard not quiver. It was that look that she gave me, and that was all I needed to know to realize it was good-bye. It was hard telling my parents good-bye at their funeral; it wasn’t until then that I realized I was never going to see my parents again. I didn’t want to say good-bye, but just like my dreams, I knew that if you hung on too long, they would come back to haunt you. I dreamt about death a lot growing up, and I wanted nothing more but to wake up from this nightmare, but it was times like this I realized my dreams were the only thing protecting me from the harsh world of reality, and then I wanted nothing more but to go back to bed.
About five years later, I went off to art school in New York City. It was a big city for a girl coming from such a small town. I couldn’t believe I had taken the leap, but it was time for a change and time for new surroundings, and time for me to wake up and turn my dreams into reality.
I woke up this morning and made myself a cup of coffee like any other ordinary day. Except this day, this day was different. This day, today, was the anniversary of my parents passing. I sat there thinking about what to write about. I thought to myself, well, perhaps I could write about my day, but my day hasn’t started yet, and then I thought, well I can write about my day yesterday, but I couldn’t even remember what I had for breakfast so that wasn’t going to work either. I was tired of writing about my nightmares and felt like I should move on from writing about my dreams to writing about my days. So, then I sat there real hard thinking about something that would be nice to write about, something I’d enjoy writing, something I could write about that could potentially make me feel. Feel that special something, ya know? And then, after an hour had passed it occurred to me that I could write about a beautiful day, a day that made me feel something. A very much fairytale like day, a day to remember to say the least. A near memory that could make-up for the memory of today’s anniversary. So, I sat there and wrote in my journal about the memory of a day that I had felt my dreams turning into reality.
His name was Preston. I was walking my dog out in central park, as I do every morning when I ran into him. He had the dreamiest blue eyes and brown hair cut to a trim. The way his hair was able to curl at the top, it made you wonder, who was this man’s barber? He was tall, maybe around 6’6, and he, like I, had a dog as well. But, that didn’t stop the fact that he was sitting on my bench, my bench. The bench I sit on every day in central park, it clearly had my name on it. I didn’t know what to do considering he was taking up the entire bench. I recall thinking to myself, is he that selfish? I remember awkwardly walking up to the bench and as I was hesitating to sit, he turned and looked at me, and I stared back at him. His dreamy blue eyes glaring into mine, I had no choice but to stare back. Oh, and those teeth, those nice pearly white teeth. His smile was so big and bright he could shine a light down the pathway to heaven with those nice bright teeth. So, I stood there, and I stared, and he sat there and he stared, and our eyes made contact, and as our harmonious smiles met, I couldn’t help to feel as if I had felt this connection before.
“Would you like for me to scoot over so you can sit?” he asked.
“That would be nice, thank you.”
“My name’s Preston.”
“Abigail, nice to meet you.”
“Abigail, I like it, that’s a nice name. Do you come here often?’
“Uhm, just about twice a week. I get really busy with school and work and like to come out here when I have down time to just relax.”
“That’s nice. Is that your dog?”
“Yeah, you can pet him if you’d like.”
“What’s its name?”
“Uh, Penny. I named her after my mom.”
“Oh, nice. Well, hello Penny. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“And your dog? What’s its name?”
“No, no. This isn’t my dog I found this poor guy strolling the streets and thought I’d take it in till I found its owner, but I find that he responds well to Shiloh. So, that’s what I’ve been calling him since I’ve found him.”
“Wow, any luck finding his owner so far?”
“No, none at all, but I pinned flyers all around town and I’m sure someone will see it and know who this dog belongs to.”
Following that day, we had got to talking a bit more only to find out he, like me, was an artist. He invited me over to his studio that night to see his art, and I couldn’t get myself to say no. Though, a perfectly well-rounded woman with her sanity in-tact, would have definitely said no. I mean, I had just met the guy, he could’ve been a serial killer, rapist, big foot and I was way too willing to take the risk. So, that night I hopped in a taxi and was well on my way to get either impressed, wooed, or killed, I was happy with any of the potential outcomes honestly.
As I approached the door, I wasn’t sure if I should’ve waited a couple of minutes before knocking so I could recollect my thoughts and think of things to say. I thought that maybe if I did this, I wouldn’t make a complete fool of myself. So, I stood there pacing back and forth across his door, trying to gather myself, my thoughts, and without even knocking he had opened the door.
“Hey, sorry, Shiloh started barking and so I looked out the peep hole and saw you.”
“Oh, yeah. I was just about to knock!”
“Come in, come in!”
And so, I did. It was awkward to say the least. I felt like a maniac at that given point and wasn’t sure what he had thought about me. He invited me in though, so that wasn’t a bad start.
We started the night with a glass of wine and a walkthrough of all his art. He was an amazing artist; he created things that I didn’t have, and still don’t, have the capacity to explain. There was one art piece I fell in love with though. He had formed it out of clay. It was the molding of two hands holding on to each other’s forearms and on the outer side the clay was broken into large pieces, but within all the broken pieces it was still possible to see the arms attached and still hanging on. It resembled two people hanging on to each other although the world around them was falling apart. It reminded me of love, something I had yet to experience but wanted to. I’ve always been afraid of the idea of love, you see. Losing my parents at the age I did was a heart break in itself, and I had never let anyone get as close to me as my parents were because the idea of being so emotionally involved scared me. Losing them showed me the power of love, it showed me the emotional toll love can have on someone when something you love is suddenly taken away.
“That’s a beautiful art piece.”
“Thank you,” he replied.
“Was the other arm a really good friend or a past girlfriend?”
“No, actually the two arms are my own. This piece helps remind me that when the rest of the world feels like it’s falling apart, I can always depend on myself to hang on to and stay strong.”
His art was almost just as beautiful as him.
As we were three glasses of wine deep and were finishing up his art, he insisted we go to a bar downtown that he was dying to show me, and I wasn’t going to say no. At this point, this serial killer, rapist, big foot guy could’ve asked me to go anywhere and I would’ve said yes without even blinking an eye. He told so many stories and his art was so inspiring. It would be nearly impossible for someone to be boring with work of art like his. I knew that anywhere with him would be a good time.
The night had passed us by and before we knew it, it was 6am in the city that never sleeps. We danced the night away and it was the absolute best time of my life. As we headed out the doors of the bar, he suggested we take a stroll in central park. So, we hopped in a taxi, asked it to take us to central park, and went on our way. As we strolled through central park, we slowly stumbled upon the bench where we had just met. The bench where I had stumbled upon him sitting. My everyday bench, my bench. We sat there and talked for what felt like days. We had learned everything about each other there is to learn about a person and yet we still felt restless in getting to know each other. I remember staring into his eyes as he was gazing into mine, as if he was reading my soul and I was letting him. I hadn’t felt such vulnerability since I was 14 years old. He looked at me with such a soft gaze and started to lean in towards me. We both leaned in and all I could remember was how good our lips felt against each other’s. It wasn’t like the romantic kisses you see in the movies, there weren’t any fireworks, and my foot didn’t pop, but something about it felt so right. There was a feeling inside me I had spent so many years suppressing, almost like a forgotten feeling. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I know it’s always there without actually ever being. It’s in the back of my head, on the tip of my tongue, but not the tip of my finger. I can’t point at it, I can’t describe it, it’s just a feeling ya know? It’s like when you leave the house and you have to ask yourself if you’re forgetting something and you know you are, well, you don’t know, but you feel like you are, and you leave the house anyway without the thing you felt you were forgetting. That’s the feeling. A feeling with no name, but you can feel it. Of course, we all feel happy and sad and alive, but we also feel a feeling that feels like it’s been forgotten in the past somewhere. Somewhere down a road, up a mountain, around the corner, somewhere along the journey of life it was lost, and it’s like the entire world forgot its name. But this time, this feeling, this feeling felt like home. It felt like comfort, it was nice and warm, and felt like childhood, it was youthful. It felt like those times when I was kid and would randomly get the urge to want to go home, like I was drawn to it.
“Hey, I finally put Vivi down for a nap. Oh, and our parents are coming over for dinner tonight.”
“Awesome, I’m wrapping up. I’ll be right there,” I replied. “Wait, Preston! Thank you.”
“For what?” he asked.
“For asking me if I wanted to sit on my bench.”
“Oh, come on. We’ve gone over this, it’s our bench now.”
“Yeah, yeah.” I giggled.
I looked over my shoulder to see if he was looking back at me, and he was. I sat there staring into his eyes as he stared back into mine and our smiles harmoniously met, but this time it wasn’t to say good-bye.