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The Walk

By Magdi Hazaa

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I still remember those mornings we skipped school to walk in the woods. It started when your dog was put down. You kept the smile, the jokes cracking. But deep under that facade, you would slip into long, spaced-out silence. It was obvious to me that your quiet grief was turning your world to mole.

"Me and Mom used to walk Abby here," you told me one day as we marched our usual path. "This was her favorite tree."

It was only in those mornings that you were pieced together, your silences were shorter. You laughter crowded with a need to be shared. And maybe it was my own selfish desire of making you more fun to hang out with, but I made sure to come with you here whenever you asked.

You buried her in the place she loved the most.

More often than not, we pretended we just enjoyed the mischief of what we were doing, the rush of skipping school to wander paths of green and grass instead of hallways and notebooks. Even when we got caught, when the school would call our parents, when we almost got suspended, we still kept coming here.

One day, we looked each other in the eye, a silent agreement of the obvious. This was a bad idea-we were inevitably getting in trouble. I think you knew you were pulling the strings all along, that I would always join you whatever you decided. "One last time," you said, that sadness of packing your things caught in your tongue. I nodded, and followed you through.

That morning, I let you take rest in your silence.
I let you breath in all the memories.

After almost an entire day of walking, we sat down.
Tired, our iris roaming our eyes in a slumber.
But still, there was pride in the air.
It felt like we just reached the end of the universe.