Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Exotic (08/08/13)
TITLE: Far Side of the Hill
By Mike Newman
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Grace is strong, striking, and safe. She does not need him, adding to the allure. Her beauty is quiet, unknown to her, detached. Her embrace is ever there, comforting.
Given the road or the girl, he takes the road.
Fifteen months chasing and he has yet to catch fulfillment. Who knew it could be so elusive, slippery. A moss-slimy rock that after cuffing his jeans and wading in, does not yield itself a foothold. Every stop strange and new, whispering adventure into his eager ear, but it is the same empty promise his runaway dad was always so quick to offer up. <i>This time it will be different, this time it will last</i>.
Empty and lonely, with only the three folded twenties in the front pocket of his unwashed jeans to accompany him, he boards the bus back to Grace.
The road is uneven and in transition, in that odd preparatory state that road crews tend to leave it in for months at a time before they finally spend the half-day it takes to pave. As the bus dips through the rhythmic rough spots the passengers onboard bob their heads in unison. Thirty-one silent affirmations to an unvoiced question. With all of this free assent to be had, he wants to slip in some questions of his own.
<i>I had every right to go looking for something more ... didn't I?</i>
<i>I only did what every man needs to do. Sow some oats, dip my finger into a few different pots, take life on my own terms. Is that not the rite of passage?</i>
<i>The new has betrayed me, the exotic is only the mundane lived out on the far side of the hill. The grass is no greener, only distant and illusory. Don't all fall prey to that shadow?</i>
<i>Will Grace understand, will she be there?</i>
The answer I am after is not forthcoming. The bus has moved back onto even ground.
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