Wandering around my hometown again is like the beginning of a lucid dream—right before you realize it isn’t real and you can open a hole in the ground and escape to somewhere safe.
Everything is the same as I remember. Almost. There are little mistakes, little differences, as if my brain is sending me clues that it’s all a dream and I can fly if I choose. I don’t try. I do step into every still, calm puddle I can find, hoping that I’ll fall through it into the reflected sky… like you said we would as we walked along that flooded dirt road, taking care to avoid each glassy, perfect pool of sky.
Wandering the halls of my old school, I expect to see childhood friends around every corner… and I’m startled every time they don’t appear. The nearby library seems smaller than I remember it, and I can’t help but smile at a younger me, who believed that brick building held the combined knowledge of the entire universe.
The red bridge is exactly the way I remember it… from a distance. On closer inspection, it’s wider, newer, and the red paint is more fresh than I have ever seen. Its sturdiness makes me feel less safe than the warped, peeling boards of its rickety predecessor. Looking over the edge, I see the late afternoon sky, and all I want is to dive in and fly to unbelievable places until I can wake up wherever you are and be home.