Opal's Love (Oliver 2)
If I could write in words, I would. Rather, I write in pictures and in emotions, in dances and music---never words. There have been so many notes to express what I might feel---notes in music that ravel themselves around the staff; there have been so many pictures---paint drops amalgamating into tacit words. Yet, you---you are a writer. I see you in class, two seats ahead, buried between the binding of your notebook. I never know what you write. Sometimes I wonder if what you write is what I paint---if they would ever live together in blissful harmony.
I remember what it felt to be motherly. I’d like to say that with you, I had this maternal instinct---out there to protect you from the world. Little did I notice that it was the opposite---that within your safe walls, my hasty actions seemed justified. Yet, you never lingered upon the fact that I was a girl, unlike other neighborhood boys. You were indifferent to my shorts and tee-shirts and waterfall hair.
I’m sure you don’t remember the day that I broke my arm. This was the only time I remember you boldly shielding me from the world, which, at that point, was irritating. Yet, today I look back upon it, and I don’t know where I would be. There was this oak tree on my front lawn, its bark worn from our horseplay, limbs severed as well. We used to jump up, pretend we were monkeys, laugh as if we didn’t have a care in the world. We didn’t. This one day, the branch broke as I jumped on it, and summer colors turned into black. I went spinning in circles until I couldn’t feel anymore.
When I woke up, I could smell the putrid hospital room, a smell that triggered memories of when I was there to visit your mom after your brother was born. It was never an appealing smell to me. Rather, it was the kind of smell that made my knees lock and simultaneously feel like jelly. It’s funny that I, someone who likes to take on the world, can’t even handle hospitals. After my senses had come back to me, I began to feel your fingers woven between mine. I knew the feel of your soft hands from all those times we were “married.” You had drifted off in the seat next to the hospital bed, and the only sound in the room was of your soft breathing. I could’ve taken my hand away, but I kept it there. I kept it there until I fell asleep too, and you never knew.
We changed that summer, Oliver. There was this invisible wall between us, and I like to think that it was all the hand-holding in hospitals. It was the fact that we had matured so much, that our indifference became more difficult to sustain. Friendship became feelings, at least on my part. And all this maturity was frightening---my fear began to take over, and before I knew it, I was the one creating the wall between us. When I finally took it down, you were gone.