We were 13 and I was scrambling down a steep river bank at the confluence of the Tuscarora Creek and Juniata River. Kim was agile and squirrelly, while I was tall and gawky at best. My bare feet slid too far in front of me and I fell backwards in a kind of slow motion onto an old log, traveling the length of it before I could get my feet under me again.
She turned back and laughed, “Did you fall, Hubler?” “No!” Then she laughed like she always did when I got clumsy. I’m sure I pondered that laugh longer than she did.
Kim resurfaced last night after about five years: her usual time between contacts. She missed me. She missed our childhood. I told her it’s practically all I write about, trying to keep hold, to trace that gossamer thread of innocence back to when we were young and free.
I miss you, too, Kim…I miss us. Our gang.
And how we felt back then.