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Freckles

This was my final story from my Creative Writing course this semester. I had a lot of fun with the repetition, and even though it’s short and to the point, I feel it was one of my best pieces from the class. Enjoy!

I let myself imagine she was you.

Her hair was not the same chocolate brown as yours, her eyes weren’t your bright blue eyes that dueled the summer sky. She had freckles, a lot of them, scattered unkindly across the bridge of her nose. Your face was a blank canvas, the color of coffee with a little too much creamer mixed in. Her hips didn’t slope in like yours, but to be honest they pressed against mine a bit more eagerly.

We were walking through a field of tall grasses, the wind chasing itself through the reeds and making music like the ocean. She looked at me and knew. She knew where I was but she accepted it and just took my hand, slowly, carefully, and apologetically. The sunset bounced off her curls that refused to lie tame the way yours did.

I let myself imagine she was you.

More than a year has passed with her talking me through it, making me laugh, taking me to carnivals and movies and all the other things I didn’t want to do but had to. I almost hated her for it. But whenever I yelled and tried to tell her to “just leave me alone,” she waited patiently until, for whatever reason, I showed back up at her doorstep.

It was that day when we were walking through the field, looking for a place to unpack our picnic, that I realized how I despised her. I despised her milky white skin and freckles that actually made a pretty pattern across her nose. I despised her voice that sounded like bells and made me smile. I despised her. I think.

Four years you’ve been gone, leaving me to talk to the birds as they fly over me while I lean against your stone. Somewhere deep inside my mind I know four years is long enough.

So  I let myself imagine she was you.

I wasn’t meaning to be rude or ungentlemanly, but I tried not to drive her places. She accepted my fear and graciously sat behind the wheel instead, never complaining, always offering. Why would I do to her what I did to you? I wanted to take care of her, despite those unsightly but heart-melting freckles that danced across her face like fireflies.

That day in the field we found our spot beneath a scraggly tree. Its branches dipped low enough to give us some relief from the setting summer sun. I took the picnic basket from her and wedged it between the gnarled roots of the tree, whipped a blanket out and spread it on the ground. Before she could sit I scooped her up and folded myself down onto the blanket, cradling her in my arms. She laughed, a clear sound of water running over rocks.

“Food can definitely wait,” she whispered, her lips dancing across my neck and into the hollow beneath my ear.

Later, as we were splayed out on the blue and yellow quilt feasting on fruits and cakes and soda, I thought about how I didn’t despise her as much as I thought.

She closed her eyes and collapsed onto her back, soaking up the last of the sun. I breathed deeply and turned to her, taking in her radiance and those perfect, perfect freckles.

But I didn’t let myself imagine she was you.

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