He may have been gone but it wasn’t the end. It was far from the end.
For years we went to the clearing, to talk, to have fun, to play, to imagine. The clearing was our own little wonderland. It was anything we wanted it to be. I remembered how we climbed the trees and built forts when it snowed. I remembered how we liked to play hide and seek amongst the trees. But mainly we would swing.
I looked around the dark clearing remembering all the fun times we had together. I remembered every detail and wished I could go back. He was my best friend, still is in a way.
I sat on the swing, hearing the creak of the old rope. I smiled, remembering how he would always push me and it would feel as if I were reaching the stars. There were so many memories here, so many wonderful moments spent between two friends.
Ryan and I sat inside the little tent. It was getting dark quickly and I was getting a little frightened but I wasn’t about to say anything.
Our parents had finally agreed to let us camp out in our hideout. We’d made the perfect place for us. It was our secret place that no one else knew about and it was fantastic. Ryan pulled out a flashlight and shined it under his face.
“Time for ghost stories!” He smiled evilly at me and I laughed. “Once upon a time there was umm…There was a murderer! And he uh…he liked to murder little children…like us!”
I started laughing. “Ryan, you are the worst at telling ghost stories.”
He handed me the flashlight. “Well let’s hear you tell one Spencer!”
I took it and thought for a moment. “Once upon a time there was this old woman. She was a witch and little boys were her favorite meal.” I continued on with my story, making it up as I went. I watched as Ryan’s face fell and he tried to pretend that he wasn’t scared. I finished the story and we both fell into an eerie silence.
“Spencer I hate you. That was the most terrifying story ever!” He shouted, causing me to laugh.
There was a crack outside of the tent and we both hushed. I stared at Ryan, my blue eyes reflecting the horror in his. “What was that?”
“I don’t know.” I unzipped the tent flap and shone the flashlight outside.
“No Spencer it’s the witch! She’s gonna eat us!”
I spun the flashlight around and didn’t see anything. I quickly zipped the tent back up to see Ryan in near tears. “What’s wrong?”
“I thought that the witch was gonna be out there! I though she was gonna eat you!”
I pulled Ryan into a hug. “I’m sorry I scared you Ryan, it was only a story. The witch isn’t real.”
I felt a tear slide down my cheek at the memory. It’s been years since that night. I got up from the swing and looked around, wishing Ryan could be here with me. Wishing we could reminisce on such fond memories together.
I laughed as I felt Ryan’s hands pushing on my back. This was how we spent our days. We would come to our clearing and push each other on our handmade swing. He was like my older brother, someone who could protect me when I needed it but he was also my best friend. Someone I could trust. He knew everything about me; my fears and my deepest secrets and I knew his.
Ryan stopped pushing me and as I slowed down he climbed a tree. He was good at climbing trees. I think it was because he was smaller than I was. He was like a twig compared to me. I hopped off the swing and followed after him.
“Spencer we need to build a tree house!” He called down to me.
I smiled and continued climbing, trying to catch up with him. “Let’s do it! We could have the greatest tree fort ever!” I laughed and reached the branch he was perched on.
I followed his gaze out past the trees. I could see the sunset and I smiled. I felt like the king of the world from up there and I knew that it wouldn’t have felt the same if Ryan weren’t right beside me.
We never did end up building that tree fort. Instead we spent the summer goofing around playing hide and seek. My memories with Ryan were some of the best I had and I would cherish them forever.
I looked down at my suit and tie and pulled one of his old scarves out of my pocket. I hung it around the tire swing and smiled. Ryan would be glad that I came here. He may have been gone but it wasn’t the end. It was far from the end, it was the beginning of a new era of my life.
I turned away from the tire swing, wiping the tears from my eyes. “Gonna miss ya buddy.” I whispered]