Creative Writing: Four Places of Comfort

Photograph+taken+by+Carolyn+Bedell
Photograph taken by Carolyn Bedell

Photograph taken by Carolyn Bedell

Photograph taken by Carolyn Bedell

Carolyn Bedell, GW Staff Writer

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This is part one of a four part serial written by senior Carolyn Bedell. Influenced by true events, “Four Places of Comfort” will be a mixture of fiction and nonfiction, themed around cities, towns, buildings and areas that made a significant impact on the author’s childhood and teenage life. The reader is recommended to sit back, relax, and not take anything for face value but to rather enjoy the show.

 

Chapter 1

They say that the human mind is capable of creating billions upon billions of memories. These memories create who we are, places and people intertwining until we associate one with the other. We then place emotions with these memories, a strange mixture that separates man from beast. Certain memories may be stained sharply with these feelings; love and longing, emptiness, bravery and foolishness, and hope overpowering fear.

 

“Forever?”

The simple, one word question came out of nowhere. We stood in his kitchen, in the doorway looking out into his extensive backyard. Beyond the huge pine trees were the beautiful tree covered hills of Maryland, already changing their green summery coats for bright red and orange autumn ones. It would be absolutely paradise to live here, I think. The air is clear and the sunsets are absolutely brilliant. Much more different than the landscape of my hometown for the past four years of Westlake, Ohio. Things seem much calmer here, as if the world paused for a second to take a breath. His chin rests on my shoulder and his hands are curled on my hips. We are both dressed and ready for the busy day ahead.

“Honey, you know I love you for forever.”

And it’s true. He inches a bit closer and I can feel him breathe behind me, and this feels great. There has only really been a few times that I’ve ever felt content with life.

I remember the first time, two years ago, at the end of summer. My family took a trip to Put-In-Bay, a small island in Lake Erie, for a three-day weekend. It was the first time we ever ventured that far and that was the same trip that was the first time I rode in a ferry. We had to rent a golf cart- it’s just the thing that weekend visitors do to easily get across the island. And the island itself is quite small anyways, with one side dedicated for little shops and restaurants and hotels and the rest is forests, with a shop or museum strung across a singular cemented road.

We had spent most of the morning until the mid-afternoon getting into the island, to the packed hotel, and renting a golf cart once the dust had settled. My father drove the cart with me on the back seat, and we took off on one of the roads, surrounded by trees on both sides and a lighthouse at the farthest end.

An infinity lasts for forever. There’s this book that I read end of freshman year that talked about the world of infinities, where a kid lives his life wondering what life would be like if things never occurred. He meets two seniors, three years older than him, and they explain to him that life is too short to spend worrying. There’s this scene, at the climax, where he’s in the bed of their truck and they emerge from a tunnel and he stands up and the wind rushes through his hair. For once in his life, this character feels like he’s living- actually living- for the first time in his life and there’s nothing that could change that.

I don’t know why but as I sat in the backseat of that golf cart, going downhill, with the wind hitting my face and the forest zooming past on either side that I recalled this scene. And for the first time in a long time, I felt alive too.

Back to Maryland. My American History teacher used to tell us how impressed the British colonists were by the beauties of the Appalachian Mountains, but hearing about it and seeing pictures are nothing compared to actually seeing it in person. Although we were only in the foothills, it impacted the scenery of this town significantly and its rural backgrounds are still alive to this day. Farmland upon farmland, selling organic produce and meats fresh from the butcher’s block like one constantly open market. I could never imagine being somewhere that reminded me so much of my childhood home, a place so unknown you could easily lose it on the map, yet so welcoming and inviting.

And it’s this feeling that makes me want to stay, stay forever in this paradise, away from responsibilities and the rumble-tumble of city life. I want to make an impact in a small town that I know will never forget my name, something that I feel will someday happen here. I’ll become another name on a list of names of people who seem to belong together, but who never truly were.

But here, in Maryland, in this small town, there is always a sense of community. You may only be passing by for a day but the feeling’s there, a strong sense of being connected and being accepted. I know my boyfriend never felt that way toward his own schoolmates but he also grew up here, and I’m sure the shimmery dream faded away long ago for him. But it’s still present, somewhere deep inside of him, and I can see it in his actions and the way he speaks to them, and it’s a side I was secretly hoping to encounter.

I know he’s watching me now, playing with the two massive dogs that his family refers to as pets with a piece of knotted rope, observing my every move like a hawk. We don’t have much time together- this is just a weekend trip- and I know he’s trying to memorize everything about me before we have to leave. I don’t blame him. Video calls are rough at picking up the small details of a person, and being in a long distance relationship is hard for that very reason. We make it work. We have for the past four months. One of the beasts snatches the rope from my hand and starts to barrel run through the house, and I give up. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that, my family doesn’t own any pets and when we had dogs, they had to be adopted out when we made the move. I’ve missed them more than I realized.

I look up at him, his mouth curled up into a toothy grin- slightly lopsided, I note- and his right hand runs through his hair, ruffling it slightly, a nervous habit. We both know this won’t last for forever. I’ll have to leave. And life will go on, as per usual. I try not to think of that, we should be living in the moment. But I can’t stop thinking about his laugh or his smile or his eyes, dark brown, assisted by thin glasses; I think I’ll miss his eyes the most. Before I know it, I’m memorizing them too, and the rest of his body, and the way he looks when he’s truly happy and comfortable and confident and I wish he could feel that way all of the time. I wish the both of us could.

 

Chapter 2 will be published sometime in December.

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