by Hailey Stoner
The air was sweet. Two robins chased one another from one tree to the next. Sunshine drenched the sky and the tree branches hung low, heavy with thick, green leaves. The tulips in the front flower bed swayed gently with the breeze. The mailman filled the mailboxes on the right side of the road, then moved to the left. I sat in the front window and waited for the mail truck to disappear around the corner. Then, I tore open the garage, hopped on my bike, and rode up and down the street, waiting for the other girls to join me.
Our houses sat in a triangle, my house on one side of the street, Hannah’s and Kassidy’s on the other, separated with an outsider’s home in between theirs. We didn’t see much of the people inside that house, but their lawn was always freshly cut and remained a deep, dark green almost year round. We never knew it was possible for grass to look that perfect. There were ten houses on our road. To the left of the triangle was the twin’s house, and the Hispanic house. To the right of us was the Lorenzen’s, the haunted house that terrified us, the old couple in the yellow house, and the people who always had cars coming to and from their house.
Our garages were always open, exposing all the internal organs for everyone driving by to see. They could see the tall, wooden shelves filled with lawn toys in mine, the couch and table in Hannah’s, and the seven foot tall Santa Claus in Kassidy’s. We would sit at the table and Hannah would teach us how to play blackjack or go fish. We tore down the toys from the shelves in my garage and hosted cornhole tournaments, but we avoided Kassidy’s garage at all cost. The Santa Claus never settled well with us. It felt like his eyes followed us, no matter where we stood.
This road witnessed many scraped knees and elbows. It was the trail that led Kassidy from one house to the next during Girl Scout cookie season. It was a canvas for our sidewalk chalk masterpieces and the road that lead us to school in the mornings. It was where we all met to start our night of trick-or-treating on Halloween. It was where we all met during the summer and ran around on the boiling pavement in our bathing suits before piling into Kassidy’s mom’s minivan to drive us to the pool. It’s where we could do whatever we desired.
Rolling down the hill in my front yard before the bees made their way to the sprouting weeds was the best thing to do. All three of us lined up at the top and layed down in the grass that was soft, yet somehow tough at the same time. Once we were in position, one person counted down. When we heard ‘go,’ we wrapped tight and pushed ourselves as hard as we could down the hill. The entire world spun around, and around, and around. We mercilessly crushed every poor dandelion that happened to be in our path and all the tiny bugs hiding in the tall blades of grass. It was only seconds, but it felt like minutes passed when we finally reached the bottom.
I shot up to make sure everybody knew I was the first to reach the bottom and it was a big mistake. As quickly as I was up on my feet, I was on the ground. The world still spun even though I stopped rolling. But once everything finally went straight, I stood up again to claim my victory.
I basked in the glory. My win made everything seem a little bit brighter. The grass looks greener, the sky bluer, and the birds sounded a little louder. A car drove by and we went silent, waiting for them to pass, making sure they couldn’t steal our secrets. Then, we raced to the top of the hill, ready to do it again.
We thought we’d be able to this everyday, for the rest of our lives. But we didn’t know that you’re not allowed to roll down hills after elementary school. Or jump in the rain puddles. Go on Easter egg hunts. Be excited for Christmas morning after Santa came the night before. I didn’t know that friendships would get complicated. Or the old couple a few houses down would die and the Lorenzen’s would move away. Or that my parents would divorce and we’d all go to different high schools.
I didn’t know my world would always be spinning out of control, even though I haven’t rolled down that hill since fourth grade.