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The Boy on The Hill.

Updated on April 8, 2014

I love watching the way long grass surrenders to a summer breeze.
Hundreds and hundreds of healthy green blades bending to an invisible touch in unison.
Steadily, the wind grew stronger and more violent.
The sky began to grow dark and foreboding.
Thunder booms through the air and a bolt of lightning cracks across the sky.
While a smooth summer breeze is nice, nothing quite beats a thunderstorm in July.

How do you describe the smell of rain?
It's too thick to be sweet, but there's something so incredibly natural about it that one deep breath puts my mind at ease.
Few things are more beautiful than watching a wall of rain.
It's not something that happens often, but when it does, it's difficult to stop yourself from watching it hit you. The impossibly dark clouds pass over me but none of the raindrops touch my skin.

Soon I realize that I am not alone.
A small car slowly slithers up the dirt road on the hill, making its way towards me.
I know the car well. I had seen it travel that same path once or twice a week for the last several months.
The car would slowly ease around the first bend, and slowly gain speed with each turn as the driver became more and more nervous.

I found it adorable that she still got nervous.
That after all the times she made that drive, after every single time that she came up the hill to see me, that she still couldn't hold back from getting to the top as fast as she possibly could.

She pulled up next to the ancient willow tree and stepped out of the car.
It didn't matter how many times I saw her, she looked more and more beautiful every time.
Today she wore a long black dress that flapped wildly in the wind, and she desperately clung to her favorite umbrella.
With her black outfit and the ominous storm, the little umbrella covered in little ducks.
It always gave me a chuckle.

She came over and sat down next to me, staring blankly into the distance.

"The boys said hi" she said, softly. "They miss you."

I nodded. The boys never made the long ride into the country, they always wished I had just made my home in the city like they did.

"I do too... Ya know, when I get bored" she added through a half-smile and a chuckle. "I mean, I only come see you because I wouldn't want our friends to feel uncomfortable."

That's the great thing about an inside joke. After a while, it stops being about the humor. After a while, an inside joke becomes more powerful than saying something sweet. It becomes a metaphor for everything you've shared with that person. Every laugh, every fight, every single moment, summarized in a few seemingly meaningless words.

"I can not even begin to tell you how stressful work was today. So many creepy old men came in and just wasted our time. They stood around making references that none of us understood and wouldn't leave, even when the store closed. It was just so frustrating like 'Oookay, lets just sit around and waste my time because I love being here when I'm supposed to be at home'"

I am crazy about the way she says okay. She always holds onto the O for an extra second. In a word that is constantly abused by abbreviations, she found a way to make it longer.

I don't say anything. I rarely do anymore. I love listening to her talk and she likes that I'll listen. It's a fleeting moment, but it's my favorite moment every week.

"Oh shit. Speaking of work, I brought you some Reese's cups." she gasped as she slid a few orange packages over to me. "This was a totally original idea. They're not on sale or anything".

She rambled about her day for a bit longer and I savored every syllable as I watched the storm pass. Eventually, beams of light began to pierce through the heavy clouds.

"Oh look, a God sky" she mused. "I always found it funny that you called them that, even though you aren't religious. I mean..." she paused and cleared her throat, "I always found it funny that you could feel so strongly about something and yet make little exceptions like that. You spend all this time thinking one thing, and something small like that slips out and makes you wonder what's really going on"

I opened my mouth to say something snarky, but then I realized that it wouldn't change anything. It wouldn't mean much.

"I really do miss you." she said, staring intently at her feet. "Not a single day goes by that I don't wish you were with me in the city. I think back to that day. I think back to the last things we said before you left and it hurts so bad. I was so angry. Over something so simple. A dog. A dog!" she laughed, "I knew I should've asked before I brought the damn thing home, but she was so cute, and I knew you wouldn't be able to resist. I sometimes wonder if we would still be together if I had just sent a simple text. I wonder if we could have had everything we always wanted..."

Several moments pass and I hesitantly reach for her hand, but at the last second she pulls away.

"I will always love you" she says. "You'll always be the best thing that ever happened to me."

As she does every week, she closes her eyes and quietly counts to three.
She hangs for a minute and then slowly walks to her car and drives away.

I don't blink as her car grows smaller and smaller and fades into the distance. The sun starts to set and I'm blessed with a beautiful rainbow.
I stand up and look at the ground behind me.
I can't help but chuckle a little bit.
When most people visit guys like me, they bring flowers or booze.
As I look at my gravestone, I see nothing but stacks and stacks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

I sit back down and admire the orange sky as it starts to fade.
I close my eyes and look forward the moment when she comes to visit me again.

© 2014 Ryan Smith


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