Our Childhood Happy Place

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As soon as we got home from school, my best friend and neighbor, Arianne, and I would dive off the school bus and head for our bikes. It was our daily ritual. Sometimes even our backpacks would suffer the consequence of being launched onto the porch of either of our homes.

We’d clench the handles of our bikes once we reached them. Mine was a glittery plum color, and her was red.

Though she was more a tomboy and I a girly girl, we were inseparable.

As we pedaled down the warm and colorful Miami neighborhood, I allowed the breeze to comb through my hair and the sun to toast my youthful skin.

We’d pass Paul Davis’ house on the left, and count the 12 cats that lined his porch. If one was missing we’d joke that maybe they finally decided they had enough.

Then to our right, before reaching the end of our block we’d always stop to admire the 1970’s Volkswagen Beetle that was immobile and rusting at the corner house. I envisioned us driving around in a car like that someday.

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Me (Left) | Arianne (Right), 1997.

We would then make a left on that corner, and follow the block down. Zipping by houses that, in our minds, would go unnoticed, until we were in front of Southwest Senior High.

Our brothers went to school here, and in a few years so would Arianne. This was our favorite stop.

Arianne was always more athletic than me, so she’d hop the fence swiftly, while I would cautiously place one foot at a time in the chain link fence. Finally at the top, I’d swing my legs over and hold my breath as I jumped to the plush grass below.

Our final stop was everything. The giant royal blue gymnastics mats that sat in the center of the vast field called our names each time we’d spot them in the distance.

Once on them, we’d jump and jump until we’d succumb to just laying there, facing up toward the iridescent blue sky.

That moment was what we craved after a long and exhausting day. Where all we both wanted was to quiet our worries, and day dream about the things we one day longed for.

xo, Mal.

[Top photo: Me (Right) | Arianne (Left), 2015.]