GUEST POST: MEGAN & RIVER ROCKS
Hello, everyone! I’m Megan, one of Kelsey’s friends. Like Seward in the previous post, I’m taking over the blog this week because Kelsey is working on Super Exciting Writer Things, and she asked me to help out with the blog while she takes over the world. So, happily, I’m aiding and abetting the world domination.
Today, I’m going to share with you guys a bit about Kelsey, in the form of a memory. You should recognize some of the main characters: the dashing heroine (yours truly), Kelsey Day, and our friend Brie, who Kelsey has mentioned before. But, in any case, here’s the story:
It was the kind of cold that helped me breathe, that slapped life into my skin, made me draw my coat in closer, grin into a thick scarf. We were in Kelsey’s mountains, where everything is blue—blue as my glasses, as my bedroom walls, as blue as the university that I call home. Kelsey led us down a narrow, winding trail, Brie close behind her, and I followed in the back.
Confession: I am terrible at hiking. I think too much about where I put my feet, consider the most efficient path that will avoid getting mud on my boots. I’m painfully slow as I try to keep up with Kelsey and Brie, who trod forward with thoughtless ease, as if they couldn’t imagine anything simpler. But that’s just how they are—the world seems to unfold beneath their feet, throwing arms open in welcome. Impossible things happen to these two, my friends, my favorite writers. I’m not quite like Brie and Kelsey in that way, not brimming with soul, but it doesn’t bother me. I’m all brain; I drip with pragmatism and puns, and as we walk, I watch where I tread.
We stop at a creek, one of Kelsey’s favorite places. She bends down to pick up a rock from within the icy trickle of water. Something to remember this moment by, she says, for when the three of us are sprawled across different states, thousands of miles apart. Brie lets out a low hum, searches for a pebble, a kind of magic in the ritual. I’m a writer; I know the power of repetition. Three girls, two rocks stolen from a secret place, and--
And I can feel it, the weight, the author’s pen lingering in the air: Pick up a rock, too, Megan.
But I can’t. Don’t. Agonize over it for about thirty seconds. It’s the stupidest thing in the world, but—when Kelsey and Brie picked up that rock, it meant something to them. It was important, infused with memory. For me, who never thinks about quirky-lovely things like picking up rocks from riverbeds, I would just be gathering the pebble because I felt like I should. An action born of obligation. And that ruined the repetition, didn’t it? A narrative should be chosen, not forced.
So I shove my hands in my pockets and scan the trees like I’m not thinking anything at all, like I’m not jagged and irreverent and too stuck in my mind for my own good.
We walk back through the trail, winding back to the car, and my brain, which absolutely sucks at letting things go, is still asking: Should you have picked up a rock? Will you regret this? And Brie and Kelsey are talking, and I’m a few steps behind them, and in that moment I feel a little bit sideways, and then suddenly--
Kelsey falters in the middle of the path; Brie jolts to a stop beside her. I slow wary steps, uncertain. Kelsey bends down into the dusty trail below us, picks up a small rock in thin, long fingers, and hands it to me. I blink, closing my palm around it. The piece is dark and gutted, teardrop-shaped with a sharp edge.
I look from the rock back to Kelsey, shooting her an inquisitive glance. She shrugs, starts walking again.
“I don’t know,” she says, “It just reminded me of you.”
Kelsey and Brie are moving again, and I remember to pick my way along the path behind them, even as my eyes turn back toward the rock in my hand. Somehow, it’s exactly the right shape for me to run my thumb over the wide edge, the movement calming, repetitive, thoughtful.
I tuck it into my pocket, and I don’t say anything. But I smile, where no one can see me. Because now there are three girls, three rocks, and three different stories. And each of our narratives are chosen.
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kelsey day is a young award winning poet who grew up in the blue mountains of north carolina. she has received recognition for a collection of short stories, as well as two novels she published at the ages of 11 and 13. today she is studying creative writing in boston, massachusetts.