At a Place Named Beautiful Dream

Part IV.

Sing with me. How we had sung, filling the forests with sounds as pure as birdsong and as clear as the summer air. Ours were the high, sweet voices of children, I am the girls who feared nothing and believed in all dreams…and you were the boy, fearless, too, who believed in nothing—except these moments of paradise with me.

We sang an acapella in our emerald chapel. We needed no instruments beyond our own voices , no orchestral support beyond the symphony of the bayou. Still, one day, I arrived with a guitar. It was mine, a gift from Aunt, and now, I told you, it was yours.

“It was too big for me.” I explained, “And besides, it hurts my fingers too much to try to play. You have to press the strings very hard against the frets. Eventually, supposedly, you develop calluses. But I’ve decided I’m just going to stick with the piano. So it’s yours, if you want it.”

You wanted the guitar, this gift from your generous, joyful little friend. You didn’t mind the pain to your fingertips, you played right through it, familiar melodies and new ones, haunting strains of your own creation, for which, together, we added words.

The magical–and so innocent–friendship of ours lasted almost two years. But during the year when you turned fifteen, you stopped coming to our enchanted forest. You were changing, a boy becoming a man, and I was still a little girl. Even before you stopped choosing to be with me, your singing voice forewarned the impending separation. The pure, clear, glorious harmony we had known as children vanished as your voice began its descent to the deep, sensual richness that one day would enthrall the world.

For the next years, you and I passed each other almost daily in the hallways at school, seeing but not acknowledging, and truly looking only when it was safe. And when we did look? we saw changes, and ached for the lost innocence…until the day when I, too, began the journey toward adulthood.

It was then that you had to stop looking altogether. And you did. your longings were far too dangerous–and far too elfish.

The little girl who had been your friend was becoming a young woman, blossoming before your eyes, a brave flower opening joyously toward the sun. For my sake, for my sake, I must remain a stranger to you.


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