Grand Lake Colorado Series - Alexis Winter


Pearl-6 years ago…

The day I met my best friend Trevor Winthrop was the day I fell in love with him. We were barely seven years old and on the playground during recess. I complimented his Empire Strikes Back T-shirt.

He threw a rock at my face.

Later, he apologized…or, rather, he showed up at my house with his mother forcing him to apologize. By then, I had developed quite a shiner, and I partially hid behind my mom so he couldn’t see it. A few years later in middle school, he confessed to me that he had a crush on me, and his friends had teased him about me. That’s why he threw the rock. I guess it was his way to prove to them that girls were nasty.

“I can’t believe you’re going all the way to Chicago for college. You totally bailed on our plan to study at UC Boulder.” I flop back on his bed, sending a pile of his neatly folded graphic T-shirts tumbling to the floor.

“Do you mind? I recall you saying you were going to help me pack, not make more of a mess,” he teases as he bends over to pick up the fallen shirts. I sit up and begin to refold the pile. I smile as I look through them. Each one tells a little story about a time and place.

“Hey, remember when we went and saw this movie?” I hold up the battered X-Files: I Want to Believe tee. “We bought fake IDs because we thought they’d toss our asses out!”

Trevor shakes his head and chuckles. “For the record, I wasn’t that worried, but you were so certain they would know we were only twelve, you had a constant line of upper lip sweat the two days leading up to the show.”

I wipe away tears of laughter at the memory. The attendant didn’t even ask for ID. He was barely sixteen, and I’m sure he couldn’t care less two twelve-year-olds were going to see a PG-13 movie.

There wasn’t a lot to do in our small town of Grand Lake, Colorado. We spent the majority of our time at the movies, one of our houses, or the local hobby shop looking for comic books we hadn’t yet read. With a population of just over 500, everybody knew everybody in this town.

Trevor and I had become inseparable after sixth grade. He had outgrown his shyness of being friends with a girl, and it certainly helped that I was just as big of a nerd as he was. We spent our summers building forts and pretending to hunt elk with our homemade bow and arrows. We’d swim in the lake and look at the stars at night as we lay out on my giant trampoline. No matter what was going on, Trevor could always make me laugh. He’d point out a cluster of stars and tell me some ridiculous story about how it was a recently discovered constellation in the shape of a donkey named asseus major. The truth is, though, he was incredibly smart. He would teach me all about space and black matter, how intricate our solar system was, and how insignificant it made him feel. I knew from a young age that Trevor was destined for great things.

“What are you thinking about?” I didn’t realize that I was lost in my memories, staring at the floor, an unfolded T-shirt wadded up in my hands. Apart from the few girlfriends he’d had in school growing up that took away his time, we’d spent almost every day together, and now, he is moving over a thousand miles away. To say I am struggling to cope would be an understatement.

“Oh, nothing. Just excited for you is all.” I try to choke back tears, but one escapes and trickles down my cheek.

“Hey, P, don’t be sad.” He wipes the tear away and pulls me in for a hug. I love that he calls me P. Nobody else does. “I know we always talked about going to college together, but the University of Chicago has one of the best mathematics and statistics programs in the country.”

I pull away from him and smile sincerely this time. “I know, Trev. I meant it when I said I’m happy for you. You’re way too damn smart to be stuck in this town. Besides, you’ll come home to visit and we can spend summers together. Hell, maybe I’ll get out to the big city and visit you.” I playfully punch his arm before making Copyright 2016 - 2024