Places Gone By

The warm Carolina breeze kisses my cheek as I walk down the familiar road, now grown unfamiliar with intervening years. This is the place. Isn’t this the place?

Sunlight glints off the razor wire, at once menacing and comforting, as I turn into the woods on a worn path. I feel keenly the roots and ruts through my Converse, worn and faded like my memories of this place, this sanctuary of imagination.

We called it ‘Yoda’s Hut’, a hollow under sturdy roots. I smile, hearing in my mind’s ear our childish laughter. When did I stop laughing? I taste it again, the salty rush in the back of my throat. I choke it back. Real men don’t cry, nor do they sniffle.

There it is, looking so small and insignificant now. But the smell is there, earthy and moist. It smells like play, messy abandon for the sake of fun. It smells like childhood.

But I look around, no children here. Barely twelve, and I see that life goes on. You can’t go back. You can’t recapture youth, not even in this place, not anywhere.

View this story's 19 comments.