Summer Is My Comfort
The icy chill of winter blew down my spine; pricking every hair on my body and making them stand on end. I yearned for the comfortable, comforting feel of the tepid summer sun on my lightly clothed back. The eerie silence of the jungle gym made me feel uneasy as I remembered the enormous uproar of the small children as they passed their time in the warmer months. Those children were wild animals, full of energy and desperate to join in the chase. They all wanted the chance to win the aggressive games they played. This is where we came last year after finals.

The sun was scorching hot and the birds were singing their sweet melody of joy. Everyone took a long, brutal walk from Heritage all the way to Arapahoe just to see me. Then, we all walked to Clarkson Park. My feet ached in pain, my body yearned for water to quench my unbearable thirst, but those memories will never be replaced. Little did I know how important those people would soon become to me; the complete euphoria they would soon bring me.

The grass was brittle and parched, a result of the summer heat. Everyone ran to the scorching play equipment that loomed before us. Travis, Stephanie and I stayed behind and sat on the dry, brittle grass. Travis tried and tried to come up with ingenious ways to get me to leave Stephanie and everyone else. Being stubborn and oblivious, I did not oblige. He finally took the angry route, pretending he was furious with me so that I would follow and see what was wrong. This time, his plan was successful. Finally alone, he and I perched on the hot, coarse cement, our light conversation thriving. Suddenly, the conversation took an unexpected twist.

He asked me if I would be his girl.

I was so unsure about his idea, yet completely sure at the same time. I would give it a chance, I accepted with a smile on my face, in complete bliss, butterflies flying through my teeth. Jump ahead one month. Stephanie, Travis, one of his friends and I took that same, elongated walk during one of the last weeks of June. This time, it was night. A darkened sky and a slight breeze saved us from the heat of summer. The night sky was completely peaceful. The stars twinkled, as if they were watching and enjoying our merriment. Travis and I sat on the smooth, red tire swing. We talked about nothing, but every single word spoken had incredible importance to me. I got off the tire swing and ran toward the jungle gym, Travis followed in hot pursuit. Stephanie and Travis’s friend watched from the swings, and swayed in the breeze. That’s when we all jumped up and rolled down the long, grassy hill.

Travis and I lay side by side staring at the stars while Stephanie and Travis’s friend went in search of my missing shoe. An excruciatingly bright light blinded us. We all shielded our fragile eyes and glanced over to find a stern looking police officer staring at us from next to her patrol car. She told us that parks were closed after dark. We all apologized and headed home. Stephanie got in her dad’s car and sped home, leaving Travis, his friend and I to take that long walk, in the opposite direction.

Fast forward another couple months, heartbreak had hit by this time. Travis and I were no longer together. He had meant so much to me; we had gone through so much. I dwelled on the fact that Travis and I would get back together. That thought constantly raced at top speeds through my head. I never knew for certain if that would ever happen again. All I could do was talk to Travis and make him realize I was something special. At that point I didn’t even care what his thoughts were; I needed him to be with me. He was like my blanket that I carried around as a child. Something that I never left behind. Something that I felt so passionate about. Something that I loved deeply.

Stephanie, her boyfriend, Travis and I walked to Clarkson Park. We followed that same long, meaningful path. Immediately when we arrived, I knew something was up. Travis was trying to get Stephanie and her boyfriend to leave. He tried to get me to walk away. The excruciating pain almost made it unbearable for me to even look at him, let alone walk away and be forced to sit alone with him, without Stephanie and her boyfriend who had become my new security blankets. Security blankets from the one thing that hurt most; Travis.

But he wouldn’t give up. Travis made many failed attempts before he finally got me alone. We sat in between two enormous, sturdy pine trees. The same pine trees that I just so happen to be sitting under right now. I fiddled with the sharp pine needles that lay under me. The warm sun was on my face, it gave me such a feeling of comfort and safety. That joyous sun no longer shines on my face.

Travis grabbed my hand and looked into my eyes. “I’m tired of hurting you,” he said, “let’s try us again”. My heart suddenly leapt into my throat. I wanted to cry and scream with happiness all at once. My heart in my throat didn’t allow me to do either. I was stuck in a middle ground between rejoicing and completely breaking down, so I jumped up and down without the ability to say anything. Later, I knew my actions would be embarrassing. I didn’t care. Complete euphoria pulsed through my veins.

A few weeks later, Travis, his friends and I came back to this park. We were a duo again. The inseparables. We frolicked around the park until we arrived at the port-o-potty that sits about twenty feet from the jungle gym. They went inside while I stood outside. I couldn’t bare that wretched, nauseating smell. They came back out and told me to go look at what they did. I held my breath and entered. I gasped and started laughing. They had all written their band names on the side of the port-o-potty. We all giggled like school girls and played on the equipment.

Another month passed by; Travis and I were having problems with our relationship. He came to pick me up from school one day; he drove me down to Clarkson Park. Rather than taking that long, meaningful walk again, he drove us. We parked on the street to my left and sat there for a couple hours. Well, we didn’t just sit there. We had a really deep conversation. That conversation meant a lot. We drove back down the street with smiles on our faces, everything had been fixed.

Now, those smiles are gone. They were swept away by the winds of change. Things ended between us for good not too long ago. Every time I come to this park I remember all those special times. Those special times have allowed me to heal.