“The streets were ours that summer at least those two blocks.”
This lyric–in the words of my youngest sister–completely sums up this story.
Looking back on my childhood/adolescent years, I’m struck by the seemingly idyllic nature of it.
Three daughters, a beautiful house near the forest–I am incredibly blessed to have grown up the way I did.
From around 2006-2010ish, my sisters and I began to prioritize two things in our relationship to each other:
-Sister sleepovers every Friday night
-Biking/walking around the neighborhood during the evenings in the summer
This post is about the latter.
In the summer evenings, when the blazing, Alabama heat had somewhat calmed down; the sun had sunk beneath the trees thick with vibrant, emerald, green leaves. My sisters and I would venture from the coolness of the house with Elsie the dog and walk around the neighborhood. At first our walks started out as a venture to exercise–we attempted running, biking, even walking at a brisk pace. But eventually, our walks took on a slow leisurely pace where we’d laugh and talk and act like idiots together.
What we talked about wasn’t anything too important or exciting, but the kind of conversation that when looking back, you just remember feeling close to the people you were talking to. There was lots of gut-busting laughter where cars driving by would see us collapsed on the side of the road holding our sides from laughter. There were fights and tears. There were times where we got annoyed at each other. There was the house that looked like a vampire lived in it and we came up with a ritual when walking past it that way the vampire wouldn’t eat us at night. Sometimes we’d take our bikes and race each other down the streets; the warm, glowing, last rays of the sun painting long slanted shadows of us on the pavement.
You could hear our laughter echoing in the woods.
Sometimes there were moments where not much was said at all. One evening we took a walk after it had rained. The pavement was steaming and the air felt so thick with humidity you could have sliced it with a knife. Puddles collected in the dents on the pavement and our rain boots made sure to disrupt those puddles as much as possible. My dad was getting coffee with my now husband who wanted to date me. I was nervous and giddy, it was hard to keep my heart from pounding and a smile from gracing my lips. So we walked, and barely said a word to each other; but I felt so close and so loved by them.
One of the rare times it snowed in Alabama, all three of us decided it was prime time for walking. We put layers and layers of clothes on, played in the snow for hours and then began our walk. We didn’t make it very far, we went down our usual route and the wind picked up shooting icy flakes into our faces. Me and my middle sister huddled behind my youngest sister–her height was enough to shield us from the worst of it. (Yes, we are horrible older sisters for turning the baby into a human snow shield…) Before long, even she couldn’t stand it anymore and we turned around, fingers and toes numb, to the comfort of the fire our dad had waiting for us and the hot tea mom was surely going to offer us.
I think back to those times and I miss them. Before a boy stole me away; it was just us three against the world. We had so many hopes and grand schemes for our futures but the future wasn’t quite here. It was a quiet time of waiting to grow up–knowing it would get here soon but wasn’t quite here yet. And before we knew it, we’d grown older and life took us different places.
We will always have those walks in our memory though and for that I am so grateful.