Here, Where the Hollyhock Once Grew Tall

It was here that we learned to love;
not the kind of love that brings a blush to the cheeks,
no, not the kind of love which is all too often confused with the lust that leads to hasty marriage that leads to depression that leads to divorce,
but the kind of love that is formed of the unbreakable bond between those of the same kin,
the kind of love that only deepens with time and leaves us longing,
not for one another
because sharing the several pieces of the same bright soul, we are never truly apart,
but for a time when we were able to feel and show it freely without the burdens of the fog that other manifestations of love place on us over time.

It was here, where the lilac bushes seemed to tower above us and in doing so formed a cathedral in which we worshipped the dirt and the worms,
where the roses lined the driveway and always filled the air with a fragrance as we walked towards the now-decrepit wooden gate,
where the stones on the mountainside gazed down like pre-historic monstrosities, where we would gaze in awe and dream of the day we could freely climb to meet them,
here, that we came to know what the word “unconditional” meant.

For it was elsewhere,
many miles away, where the peaks we knew so well ceased to be and in their place we found deep pools of clear water filled with frogs and fish and all manner of turtle, which we would capture and hold between our hands to be proudly and lovingly displayed for the camera or the curious passerby,
where the timeless movement of the wind through the sagebrush and the winding flow of the Portneuf river through the valley gave way to the ceaseless and increasingly desperate droning of the automobile and overhead aircraft,
here, that we came to escape the misdirected and misunderstood love turned anger of our father with our mother in a white van filled with only the essential belongings.

It was not here that we had our first kiss, our first dance, our first foray into addiction, and our second, and so forth until numbers no longer made sense for a system of counting and instead we just prayed;
No, it was not here that we stopped talking and stopped listening and started seeking the love of others to fill a void we did not understand but knew we could not abide.

It is here, where the hollyhock once grew tall, but do not anymore,
where the rooms we once shared are now filled with boxes and piles of forgotten memories,
where the treehouse our father built, in which you, brother, once stayed for an entire year of your life, has now fallen to the ground along with the tree which housed it,
here, that we are fated someday to return,
the innocence of youth far removed our frames,
but the pure love which first blossomed on these grounds only stronger for what has taken its place.

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