The Hill: a short story


Staff Writer
I parked the car in the old spot where my mother used to park, and I sat and reflected for a moment before getting out of the car. There were so many memories that I had as a small child sitting in the car in this exact place. My younger brother, now eleven years old, but then an infant, babbling in the carseat as the radio played. Little me sitting in the backseat, putting all of my worksheets in the proper folders before school.
I turned off the air conditioner and wiped the sweat from my brow. I had forgotten how hot it could get in this town. I scanned my brain again, trying to think of what had compelled me to come here, and again I came up with nothing. Looking back, it could have been boredom or loneliness, but I remember having a feeling within myself that was inexplicable. As I walked past my old house, seeing the stucco walls outside brought back memories of my best friend and me playing handball against the wall. Near the front door, I saw the same windchime hanging outside that I had passed numerous times entering and leaving the house. A sad, longing feeling overtook my body as I remembered the simpler times of childhood. I pass the neighbor’s house, with the older girl who would play tetherball with me outside after my tennis lessons. I walk down the street toward the leasing office and the swimming pool, where I would spend countless hours playing games in the water during summertime.
But a little ways past that was the place I really wanted to see. When I was younger, me and the two girls that lived down the street on Foxglove Drive would take our pink, red, and blue Razor scooters and fly down the huge hill that bordered the complex.
I remember the exact feeling that I would get when I raced down the hill on my scooter. I would pump one leg, feeling the wind rush through my hair. My surroundings would whiz by and melt into a plethora of colors. I would see the light blue of the sky, the white of the puffy clouds, the light gray of the road, and the green of the field across the street, all blurred together. Our mothers would occasionally stand off to the side and and yell frantically at us to be careful.
I remembered that the first few times that I scootered down the steep hill, I was terrified of it. I recalled my mother’s warnings that I would fall the wrong way and knock my front teeth out or split my head open on the concrete. My biggest fear was that I would lose my balance, fall into the street, and get crushed under a car. However, my friends comforted me and cajoled me into it, telling me that I would never lose my balance that badly because of all of the gymnastics that I did. When I was eventually convinced, I fell in love with the thrill of racing my friends at the high speed that I would be moving at.
Having these fond memories in my mind, it was my desire to go back and see the the hill. When I walked up the bend it took a second for me to comprehend where it was for a moment. I was baffled before realizing that the hill I once perceived as monstrous and extremely steep was barely anything but a sidewalk with a small incline.
For some reason, ever since I saw the hill again, I’ve constantly reflected on it. I am amazed at how your perception of the size of physical objects or problems is all dependent on your circumstances. The main thing I took away from the ordeal is that time provides you with new perspectives on your past.