Grace loved to listen to cassette tapes. I used to tease her about how much of a hipster she was, but she’d hit me back and say something like, “Yeah well, at least I’ve got taste.” And it’s true, Grace had a high opinion of music. She had a high opinion of art in general. She was a part of this group I was in back in high school, and on some weekends, we’d go see a movie. This one weekend we watched some sort of superhero movie. Fantastic Four or something like that. Most of my friends liked it a lot, but Grace didn’t say a word. I kept asking her what she thought, and she’d say, “I don’t want to bring the mood down.” But I was persistent, and soon everyone else joined in. Finally, she said, “I never find any joy watching something so unbelievable.”
I think it was around that night that I started to fall in love with Grace Frankowski.
It’s hard to approach someone you’ve known for so long and ask them out. Grace didn’t have her driver’s license yet, so I would often drive her home. The two of us would sit quietly, commenting on something here and there, but usually just watching the road or the houses passing us by. In those moments, I psyched myself up to ask her out and just as I built up the courage- she’d say, “You missed my house again, Jake.”
Sure, it all seems so simple now, but it’s a totally different ballpark when you’re there in the moment. All my resolve melted, and doubt crept back from the corner of my mind. What if she said “no”? Would things be weird? What would everyone else think? Would I like being with her? Did she even like me? It never did me any good. I’d watch her get out and walk to her house, her denim jacket and brown hair catching some wind before she walked inside.
I remember Homecoming was around the corner, and it took me a week to build up the courage to ask Grace to be my date. But she said, “Sorry, Jake. I’ve already got a date.”
I watched them dance that evening. He was a nice guy. A bit slow but nice. He drove all the way out to the mall just to pick her up, when Grace darted to the bathroom to fix her makeup. The two of us stood out in the cold waiting for her. We didn’t have much to say. Then he chimed in, “Man, she takes a while to put on her makeup.”
I chuckled. “You can say that again.”
He scratched his nose. “You’d think she would’ve done it when she was at home.”
I could’ve sworn the two would have made a good couple, but then Grace took a walk with me in the park. The leaves were turning red and yellow and brown. She glanced up at them and sighed. “Blake’s been asking me about going serious lately.”
I glanced at the water rippling across a lake in the distance. “Do you like him?”
“My mom likes him,” she snorted.
“I like him alright,” I said and shrugged, “Why are you on the fence?”
“I’m not on the fence. I think he’s an idiot. But I don’t want to tell him that…”
“He’s like a stray pup.”
“Exactly! I can’t say ‘no’ to him. He’s a self-pitying son of a bitch.”
“I don’t know why this is so hard for you.”
“It’s a lot more complicated than that.” She stopped by the lake shore and kicked a pebble into the water. She looked back up at me. “What do you think I should do?”
“You really want to know?”
A light fog escaped from my nose. “I’d tell him the truth.”
She narrowed her gray eyes at me. She walked closer to me. “Do you like me, Jake?”
I wish I could have told you I said “yes”. But fear dominates the mind of a high schooler, especially the fear of girls. I think Grace knew what I really thought. After I answered, she studied my face then walked away. She said, “Fine.”
We walked to the other side of the lake and sat on a bench by the shore. We watched the leaves glide down to the water. We didn’t say anything to each other. Then, Grace turned to me and said, “I want you to make a promise.”
“What kind of promise?” I asked.
“Let’s meet back up here in ten years. Exactly ten years from this day. And I can tell you about how shitty my husband is, or you can tell me how shitty your wife is. Or we can talk about how crazy the next decade is and how weird people dress or how bad the music is.”
I smiled. “Sounds like fun.”
After high school ended, we all went our separate ways. Grace left for Indiana, and Blake ended working with his dad in his auto shop. I became a telemarketer after college. I was the top seller in my company, because I could always talk like I was smiling even if my face was totally neutral. I was good at telling people what they wanted to hear. But, after all those years, I never forgot about Grace. Sometimes, I’d look online to see if I could find her. But I knew she wasn’t the kind to conform to social media. It seemed so childish back then, but even as I grew more each year, I still hoped that we could meet again.
The day came. I found the old bench and sat. The wood had turned dark and soft. I waited for an hour or two, wondering if Grace remembered or if she was even alive.
Then, something amazing happened.
I hadn’t seen snow in autumn in years, but it began to snow across the lake. The white flakes mixed with the crimson stained leaves and melted. I tried to catch one on my tongue, but they were too small. I laughed, and decided it was about time I headed back home. And as I walked to my car, I saw a figure emerge from the snow.
Her hair was now short and shaved, her face worn from the years, but I still recognized her in an instant. She saw me. She smirked.
“Well, hello there, stranger.”
I smiled. “Hey.”
“Some weather today, huh?”
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t think you’d make it out here today.”
We talked about what we were up to for all the years. I told her about my job, and she told me about how she rented out an old RV and drove around from city to city doing odd jobs where she could to pay for gas and food. I shook my head and laughed. “That sounds about right,” I said.
She invited me into her makeshift home. It smelled like lilacs and burnt incense. I sat on a beanbag in her bedroom, and she sat up on one of the pillows on her bed. “You ever had anyone else in here?”
“Not many. Men suck. But I’m sure you already knew that.”
I smiled. “Did you ever run into Blake around here?”
“To be honest… I only came back to see you. I wanted to get as far away from this cesspool as possible.”
She glared at me. “Don’t tell me you actually like it here.”
“What’s to hate?”
“Too much,” she mumbled.
“It’s not so bad.”
“So, you say.” She paused and ran a hand through her hair. “You know, I’m curious.”
“Way back when, I asked you if you liked me.”
“You said you didn’t.”
“I don’t think you need me to tell you it was a lie.”
She laughed. “I was wondering more why you never asked me out.”
“Oh, I was a kid. I was nervous. I didn’t know if you liked me or not.”
“Well… looking back, I know you didn’t like me.”
Her eyebrows narrowed. “I had a crush on you back then.”
“Yeah. I always wondered why you didn’t say anything.”
“Heh. Well. Now you know.”
She smirked at me. She leaned close to me and stared in my eyes. She brushed her soft hand by my cheek.
“I’d be careful, if I were you,” I said.
“Why? You have a girlfriend?”
“No. I just wouldn’t make promises I couldn’t keep. If I were you.”
She looked down at me confused.
“Could you ever stay here?”
She bit her lip. “Would you ever leave?”
“I’ve got a job now.”
“But what does that mean to you?”
“Well, it’s my livelihood, for one.”
“You ever thought about what it would be like out there on the road?”
I nodded. “But I’ve got my reasons for staying.”
She drew her hand away from my face. “I don’t think I’ll ever understand you, Jacob.”
“I don’t think I’ll understand myself either.”
We exchanged pleasantries, and she said she had to get back on the road soon. I watched her drive away. I watched the snow drift from the grey sky. I let the cold wind blow through me.
The RV was turning from the park onto the country roads. It wouldn’t be much longer until she was gone again. I waved goodbye until she was out of sight.
Über allen Gipfeln
In allen Wipfeln
Kaum einen Hauch;
Die Vöglein schweigen im Walde.
Warte nur, balde
Ruhest du auch.
-Johann Wolfgang Ghoete
Remember that time that person from Melbourne went to New York, worked for a few months came back and then went to berlin via Japan? They’re so unique don’t you think.
Experimentar libertad y cimentar la mente abierta.
Our rugs are so mesmerizing 😍😍 tell us what you think!! #bohemianstyle #bohemianstyle #wandertheworld #lifeisgood #casa #bohemia #bohohome #lifeisgood #lifeiscolorful #kilimrugstore #kilim #interiordesign #interiordecor #apartmenttherapy
“When I say I want to travel I don’t mean I want to stay at resorts and go on tours with tour guides or buy key chains from souvenir shops. I don’t want to be a tourist. When I say I want to travel I mean I want to explore another country and become part of it. I want to discover small coffee shops in Germany and Italy and France. I want to walk on beaches in Australia and browse the book stores of England. I want to hike the Great Wall of China and go cliff diving in Hawaii I want to meet people who are not like me, but people who I can like all the same. I want to take pictures of things and places and people I meet. I want my mind to be in constant awe of life on earth. I want to see things with new eyes. I want to look at a map and be able to remember how I was transformed by the places I’ve been to, the things I’ve seen and the people I’ve met. I want to come home and realize that I have not come home whole but have left a piece of my heart in each place I have been. This, I think, is what is at the heart of Adventure and this is why I plan on making my life one.” – Becca Martin
#instasunday #luxurytravel #buttlerrobot #travel #wandertheworld #wanderlust #Travellifestyle #instadaily #photographylovers #wonderlust #igers #instagood #travelblogger #travelphotography #photooftheday #travelblog #voyage #passport #getoutside #lastingvisuals #lonelyplanet #travelstoke #nyc #roamearth #stayandwander #traveldeeper #passionpassport (at Aloft Long Island City-Manhattan View)
Once a year for nearly a month, Germany erupts in traditional festivities that incorporate not only today, but also yesterday and tomorrow in regards to how Christmas was, is and might be celebrated. This particular one was internationally themed; for example, we had shops and food from Denmark and Israel as well as Germany in the middle ages. Super fun with delicious smells to be had.
I have made it one of my life goals to quality check as many as possible. 🤗🎄
#Germany #christmas #festival #travelblogger #wandertheworld #tastetheworld #inspiration #winter #dailyescape (at Essen, Niedersachsen)