by Jordan Lolmaugh

               Growing up, I thought I was happy. I can remember moments where I felt infinite, endless, strong, and beautiful. Nothing mattered, and that was heavenly. I remember running through my backyard, tripping over sticks and rolling in the grass. Everything felt real and fantastical all at the same time.
               Sometimes I like to think of the grocery store. When I was little, I would beg my mom to let me push the cart. It gave me a sense of purpose and adulthood. I imagined that pushing a cart around was a lot like driving. I would try my best to keep the cart away from obstacles. I’d steer it away from walls and displays. I didn’t want to run into anything and disappoint my mom. Sometimes I felt like running through the store, but had to remember that if I bumped into anyone, the metal bar at the bottom would hit their heels. From my understanding, that was not a good feeling. Sometimes when the cart would brim with food, it was harder to steer. The weight would pull it left and right, nearly knocking into just about everything. I remember how when this happened my mom would reach out and place her hand on the basket. She would slowly pull me forward, guiding me in the right direction. This is what I thought of when I was with you.
               You were the hand that guided me. You were steady. You were the waves of the ocean, dragging me back and forth, the current that led me away. You were steady and unrelenting. How could I not love you? You kept me on track.
               It was funny, but we seemed to fall in and out of love at opposing times. Of course, I could only imagine when you loved me, but it wasn’t hard to figure out when it ended. As we grew closer and closer, everything started to change. When you left to travel the world, I could feel my heart breaking. I had to say goodbye, but every step you took and every mile you drove, was like a knife digging deep into my chest.
               Everyone told me that technology would make the distance easier. Between video messaging and texting, everything would be okay. We would still be able to communicate, and the 5,000 miles of distance would feel invisible. They forgot to mention, that no matter how instant the message was, it was never the same as being within reaching distance. I still couldn’t reach out and brush my hand against yours. I wouldn’t be able to see, with absolute clarity, the way your eyes glowed in the sunlight. We spoke everyday. You would tell me of your adventures and how lonely you were growing. You filled my heart with all of your secrets and fears. We were never so close, yet so far away. The longer you were gone, the more in love with you I became. It took me months to realize that’s even what it was. I started to imagine how things would be when you came home. I wanted to be with you. I wanted to be the one you loved.
               The day you came home I was hopeful for a moment. We would see each other and it would be as if we were never apart. I was nervous and excited. I couldn’t wait to see you. I remember pulling into your driveway. I parked my car and stared up at your house. It was so familiar and foreign at the same time. As I unbuckled my seatbelt and went to grab my purse, your front door opened and you came outside. You yanked my car door open and wrapped yours arms around my neck. You held on so tightly; I could feel your entire body shaking. I wanted to cry with relief. Here you were. After months of distance, here you were. On one hand, I got my wish. It was like you had always been here. The distance and time seemed to slip away, but so did everything that happened with it. All our conversations, secrets, wishes, and dreams seemed to drift into the void. In that moment, with your arms around me and your body trembling, I knew what I feared. You had changed and so did your feelings. My hopes of us ever being together fell from my shoulders and crashed into the ground. When you finally pulled away, I could see it in your eyes. Suddenly the current stopped pushing me along; the waves stopped crashing into me. I was floating, lost at sea. The cart slammed into the wall, and my ankle twisted as I landed in the grass. This was it. This was it.


Author Biography: Jordan Lolmaugh is a senior at Clay High School
in northern Indiana. She plans to study psychology and women’s and
gender studies in college. Jordan enjoys writing, makeup, and yearbook.

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