The little blond haired girl hops on her bicycle. She rides up the huge hill...pedaling, pedaling...until she reaches the top. She rides in big circles, around and around and around. The garage door opens and there is her friend, her best friend. She hops on her bicycle and rides out onto the street.
The girls smile and laugh, ride around in one more big circle then down the huge hill, side by side. Best friends. At the end of the block, they leave the road and ride up a driveway onto the sidewalk and then glide down the grassy slope, feet off the pedals, legs outstretched. Wheeee! Around they go to do it again. Wheeee! Then one more time they ride up onto the sidewalk, but this time they eye one another and the dare is on. They take turns and ride down the three big concrete steps at the corner. Bump, bump, bump! They laugh and continue on their way toward the river. Ah, the river....the dirty, muddy, cool and refreshing river. They are going to the river for a day of splashing and fun.
I drive down the main road, but as I always do when I pass this neighborhood...I turn down the street. That street. My street. I come upon the hilltop and immediately slow the car to a crawl. I smile when I see her house, my best friend's house...then as I come down the huge hill....that is really hardly a hill at all....slowly, slowly the car creeps along and then comes to a stop. I stop right in the middle of the street.
There is THE house. MY house. It pains me to see the condition it is in, but it doesn't surprise me. It has looked that way for decades. My dad built that house for us. It was his pride and joy. I close my eyes and I can see my house how it looked back then. The bushes all trimmed to perfection. The red geraniums that he loved so much planted all around the front of the house. Beautiful, beautiful house.
I open my eyes and quickly look away from the house and focus down the street. I press ever so slightly on the gas pedal and the car rolls on. I smile again when I see the grassy slope....not much of a slope to the eyes of an adult, and the concrete steps.....three tiny little concrete steps! Oh, how big it all looked back then. How big everything looks through the eyes of a child.
I drive on and stop when I reach the beach.....I close my eyes yet again. When I open them....I see the little blond haired girl jumping off the pier into the dirty, muddy, cool and refreshing water.
Tears start to well up in my eyes and I blink them away. When I open them, the little blond haired girl is gone, but she will be back...the next time I come home.