The story is nothing special this time, but I did try to write in a different style than I usually do (using more metaphors, for example). Enjoy.
Under the vibrant green trees and bright blue sky, beneath the sun and the stars and the moon oh-so-bright, summer took hold fast and assuredly that year, our last year before college. And her and I? We were gripped, taken, just as fast.
It was only the middle of May when the heat rose to the 80's and 90's daily. Senior year had not yet ended, but you couldn't tell that by the students' attitudes. The senior slump had taken affect and there was no letting go once that taste of absolute freedom washed over our collective tongues. Attendance bombed quickly and most people only showed up for the graduation practices, if that. With nothing better to do I went to school and spent my days in the court yard, surrounded by trees and birds and bees and all that made nature in a modern forest. Namine joined me one day out of the blue and we took the courtyard for ourselves.
She asked me, the day before school actually let out and we'd graduate, what I was going to do over the summer – my final summer before I entered college and the real world, before I went down the rabbit hole into the wonderland called "adult life". For the life of me I tried to give her an answer, but nothing actually came to mind. What would I do? Sit around? Write a novel? Travel the country? No. So that's just what I told her.
"Nothing really comes to mind."
"The we're spending it together. We're gonna make the best of this summer."
"Fine by me."
Once the summer actually arrived, however, it was like she had no idea what she wanted to do. On that first week off Namine and I just sat in her room, me lying half on her bed, her painting at her easel, which looked out her window out into the woods behind her house. She quietly hummed the paintbrush created a picture in a seemingly magical way. Tall oak trees spread their leaves like a carpet above the ground and she tried her best to recreate that on her canvas. I looked around her room and took everything in; the light blue color of the walls bordered with orange wallpaper. The rug beneath me was bright pink and I could still see the faded yellow of the fan blades as the ceiling fan spun lazily above me, like a jellyfish that just coasted through the ocean. 3 of Namine's 4 walls were completely bare of any decoration and the 4th hosted some of her paintings. Each was a microcosm that easily could've been an actual world, an actual scene but wasn't.
We hardly spoke at all that week.
By the next week, I could sense Namine's free spirit growing restless in the boredom of summer in suburbia. She would fidget, tap her fingers on her leg, anything to distract her. Until all at once she leapt up, grabbed me by the hand, and yanked with all the strength in her skinny little arm until I was standing up. "Come on" she moaned "We have to do something".
I followed her out the door and into a world that seemed all together strange and familiar. Together we ran down down down to the park at the end of town, stopping only to catch our breath once or twice. Traffic wasn't an obstacle; we raced through the streets like gazelle's running from a lion. This time, however, the lion was called "boredom" or maybe "fear". Fear of losing the last 2 months of our childhood. I still don't know which it was.
Namine and I had done this a few years earlier, actually, when were 12 or 13 and leaving 8th grade. She was convinced that it was the final time we'd be children, before we were take seriously and respected and listened to. As usual I just followed along – Namine was a good guide in life for someone like me, who liked to float on life's waves to see where they carried me. She tended to get spirited about things, ambitious, and I couldn't help but allow her to drag me along for the ride. That summer she grabbed my hand for the first time, wrapped so strongly in such a small fist, and vowed to make this final summer of our childhood one to be remembered.
Unable to do anything grand, we spent that summer after 8th grade by adventuring all over town, discovering secrets and locations unknown to anyone else. We played "pirate" a lot, which pretty much boiled down to acting like the first mate to Captain Namine, who lead our expedition to explore the small town we'd resided for our entire lives. Sailing through the streets we made our way to our favorite stores, or our friends' houses, or our hidden spot where we'd spend the night on our backs, fingers intertwined, staring at the stars.
That summer ended – along with our childhood – when Namine's parents divorced and her father was arrested. It would be one thing had it been peaceful, but the man abused her mother and had hit Namine on more than one occasion. She'd come out with a black eye on some days, hidden behind some hair, or she'd limp awkwardly instead of run at the fast pace that her skinny legs managed to take her. I didn't question it – it wasn't my place – but it was noticeable. It always had been. And all it took was one drunken rage and the sickening way her mother's arm snapped so easily in her father's hands to end what together we had started. We didn't play pirates anymore that summer. We didn't play anything for a while; Namine went quiet and shut herself in her room and began painting. I couldn't go over for a week, but when she gave me her first picture (the both of us in pirate gear on an old Spanish galleon sailing the sea) we picked back up where we started. I still had that picture on my wall.
That final summer of senior year was quite like the final summer of 8th grade once the week long period of silent painting ended. Namine and I drove to the beach a lot to enjoy the soft sand and salty surf. When we weren't there, we were back at that spot where we'd watch the stars, and if not there, we were probably drinking and enjoying a swim in my pool. It was a pretty nice set up, being together all day everyday like salt and pepper shakers.
We had never dated, Namine and I, because we were on a level higher than that. I loved her like nothing else, and she loved me, but it wasn't a romantic love. I'd known her pretty much my entire life and she was my first and most important friend. We'd transcended small, unimportant things like dating and drama; those were never even an option. She'd been my first kiss but that was really only to be expected, since I was her first too. And in that final summer before college, we'd spend some days just lying in her bed, making love for no reason besides that fact that we could do it, and that we could be so intimate as to share something like that. It wasn't awkward. It wasn't romantic. It was two people who knew each other inside and out psychologically, and needed to know each other's insides and outsides in a physical manner as well.
On the last night we shared together before each of us had to leave for college, we went back to our special spot in the park to lie down and get lost in the stars, get lost among the countless galaxies and deep blackness of space. Eventually my hand found hers, her lips found mine, and we fucked right there and then in the great darkness that surrounded us and the world and every creature in the universe.
The next day we separated, heading to separate colleges to do separate things, with no promise that either one of us would return the same way we left. She hugged me, kissed my cheek and I returned both.
"See you over the holidays. I'll miss you." I admitted.
"Same – just promise me that you won't forget this summer we had together."
"Not in a million years, Nami. Not in a million years."
Thing is, I didn't see her over the holidays that year, or the next, or the next. She never returned back to the town we'd called home for so long. She stopped taking my calls and answering my messages and all of that. I didn't hear from her in 5 years.
And then, one day, I began to feel numb. It spread, like ink in water, around my entire body starting at the core and infecting everything as it extended to the rest of my body. The feeling was strange and terrible and unlike anything I'd previously experienced. With no idea what to do I began pacing and turned on the tv, hoping to gain some insight from my surroundings. What I found, however, was none other than a news story detailing Namine's demise. She'd been found dead in her home, a knife wound extending from her throat to the bottom of her abdomen, and there was no motive yet. A random murder, a crime that couldn't have had a targeted victim and it was Namine who ended up dead.
I just stared in disbelief and did the only thing I could do; down a shot in memory of Namine. I didn't go to her funeral, but I did visit her grave every now and then. We had a deep connection like that, one that transcended even death.
"Oh Captain my Captain" I said, downing a shot as I sat above the grave where her earthly shell was currently disintegrating.
It was all I could do as Captain Namine's first mate.
Be critical - I want to know what you think of this style of writing. I feel like I started strong, but ended up going back to my default style.