It's been many years since I lived in Sandy.
I've lived away from Woodchuck Way longer than I lived on that street, and still it has more power than any place I've ever been, to pull me back.
It's barely recognizable to me anymore. The homes are older. The trees are taller. Even the shape of the streets themselves seem different. Only memories remain.
Places change, memories last.
And, I have to figure out how to end my story.
The story I've tried to tell, is the story of how my life has been shaped. It was formed, in no small part, by my childhood home. It was a magical place and time, and I don't use that word lightly. When I think about the streets I walked, and the friends I knew, and the adventures and experiences we shared, it feels deliberate. It feels like it was meant to be. It feels like it was written somewhere -- maybe in the stars.
It feels like magic.
And the most magical thing of all was finding a match and a compliment, to my own soul.
There are best friends, and then there are best friends. It's a hard relationship to explain to someone who has not experienced it. Aaron Ball changed my life. He shaped my life. He's not my neighbor. He's not just my friend. He's not my brother.
Those are inadequate terms.
Best friend is the best we've come up with, but it doesn't scratch the surface.
It's not enough to say I'd give my life for Aaron. If I get wherever we're going after this life before he does, I'll be saving his place in line, and he'll cross that threshold first. That's the way it should be. I owe him that.
The story of my friendship with Aaron will never end.
But, when you write a story, there has to be an ending...
Are we like Butch and Sundance, going out in a blaze of glory?
Are we Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, receiving accolades and applause?
Or, does this story end like the end of a Peanuts Special -- with Aaron and I standing at a brick wall, reflecting on what we have experienced, and what we have learned?
Or is it like Pooh and Christopher Robin, reticent to to leave, pledging our unending loyalty to one other?
Actually, there is a perfect ending.
It's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
White washing the fence. Or chasing pirates on far away islands. Or lazily dangling feet off of a raft, in a cool river, on a lazy summer afternoon. Pledging blood brotherhood. It's mischief without the mayhem. It's never ending loyalty. It's forever looking at horizons, and dreaming of the next adventure.
Tom and Huck, barefoot on a dusty backroad...the sun shining bright...the sky deep blue...walking toward the future, and never quite stepping out of the past.
Leaving one story behind, just in time to start writing the next one.