I grew up on a small farm in the woodsy, wild, river bottoms. I was the youngest boy of nine kids. By the time I was big enough to help with chores, my father and older brothers had the farm well at hand. That left me with time to explore the countryside and feed my real passion. The passion of writing. I would read anything I could get my hands on, then emulate that author's writing style. That process allowed me hone my own skills and figure out what my strengths were. My mother loved my writing and encouraged me. My father was too busy with the farm and too tired to read my "stories". However, my childhood was magical. The magic didn't come from my books or writing, but from a nine year old girl that moved to the river bottoms when I was ten. Her name was Lindsay.
Lindsay's father was a writer, photographer, and artist. He moved his family down the road from our farm; last house on the road. He moved there to put together his latest book and to get his family out of the busy city. He was a huge man with a thick brown beard. He smelled of sweet pipe tobacco and scotch. His shoulders and chest were broad, but his hands were delicate tools. Not like my fathers hands; stained with the earth and oil and rough as an emery cloth. Lindsay's father amazed me and I began going to see him as often as I could find suitable reasons to do so. He always showed great interest in my writings and would help me edit them. Lindsay would dance and play music loudly when I came around. Trying to show off I assumed. It annoyed me a bit, but her father encouraged everything she did. Therefore, I smiled and feigned interest as well.
One Saturday morning I rode my bike to Lindsay's house. The neat thing about getting to their house was the bridge. There was an old, one lane, covered bridge that spanned a wide creek on the way to her house. It was actually their bridge. Her father had it repaired and painted before they moved in. When I arrived this one Saturday, Lindsay's father was away. He had gone back to the city for some meetings or something. I was ready to turn around and head home, then I heard, "HEY! Why don't you come and talk to me for awhile you creep!" I turned around to see Lindsay standing on the porch in her jeans, t-shirt, and pigtails. I groaned a little and said, "Sure kid...Let's go climb around on the bridge." So we walked down to the bridge. "I'm only a year younger than you ya know?!" she quipped. I nodded and said, "I know, but I am very mature for my age." She laughed and rolled her eyes. We got to the bridge and climbed all over it, waded in the creek, and discovered you could climb underneath the bridge as well. It was a really fun afternoon. Lindsay had a fascinating perspective on life; at least for a nine year old. I decided she was mature enough to be my friend.
When school started that fall, Lindsay moved up to my class. She had been at a very prestigious school before moving here and she was permitted to jump into 5th grade. The more we hung out, the more I liked Lindsay. We did all of our homework together, hung out after school, and sneaked out at night to meet at the bridge. We were very much the best of friends. I still had discussions about writing with her father, but they were less often. His travels kept him away a lot anyway. Lindsay depended on me and I depended on her.
As a couple of years past we began to see more in each other. We would lay under the bridge at night, our arms outstretched, holding hands, and listening to the creek run under us. We shared our first kiss on a cold fall night on the bridge. We discussed all of our fears, our dreams, and our needs sitting Indian style in the middle of the bridge. Lindsay and I grew up on that bridge. She loved me and I loved her.
During the summer break before our senior year, I was walking down to her house when I see Lindsay running towards me. Her eyes were red like she had been crying. I asked, "Are you OK? What's wrong?" She smiled, grabbed my hand and assured me everything was fine. We walked down to the bridge and I started talking about college. We had several dreams about attending college together. I wanted to become a writer and she an actress on Broadway. I teased her about writing the perfect play for her and give her a ticket to stardom. It always made her laugh, but deep down we both wanted a story book thing to happen. That day she shut me down on the college talk. She pulled me down to a grassy area on the creek shore. She kissed me differently that day. There was more passion, more lust, more urgency. I followed her lead and we made love for the first time. She was so beautiful laying there in the sunlight. I found out later on that evening what was happening. Her father got a new project in Canada. He was photographing and writing a hunting book. The family was moving. Lindsay and I were devastated.
We promised each other we'd write and we did. We still planned on going to college together. As the months passed, her letters became less frequent and more about her new passion for photography. She spent a lot of time with her father in the woods and she was getting to learn about his work. She wanted to follow him into it. She was putting off college. I was happy she found a new dream, but sad we wouldn't be going to college together. I went away and majored in journalism. Lindsay and I talked quite a bit my first two years in college. She was enjoying life and so was I. I thought we were still in love. Shortly after graduation, I got a job writing for a weekly magazine in New York City. The life was fast and I yearned for Lindsay to be with me again. I had tried getting back in touch, but they had moved from Canada and were back in the states. I didn't know where.
One afternoon, my mom called and said I needed to come back home. My first thought was that my father had died. My mom told me it was about Lindsay. Her family came back to town for a few weeks. I lit up for a moment. My mother then finished the story. Lindsay was getting married and the ceremony was on the bridge. I felt like dying. I hung up and debated on what to do. A week passed and I decided to drive back to the farm. On the day of her wedding, I waited until it had begun. I walked down towards the bridge to spy on the proceedings. My heart sank seeing her in the weeding dress. She was amazing. Her husband was a huge man like her father...probably smelled of pipe tobacco and scotch as well. I was sick.
I went back to the city and tried writing. I quit my job and attempted to pen the great American novel. The only thing I produced was months of drunkenness and tears. I was out of money and out of hope. I moved back to the farm. On a fall evening I walked down to the bridge and crawled underneath where Lindsay and I used to lay. Several tears ran down my cheek as I thought about the events of my life. Then I noticed some carvings in the wood under the bridge. It said, "Dear Lindsay, always and forever this bridge will lead me to you. Never shall we part or give up the dreams created on this bridge. Always and forever, Roman." I smiled, crawled out from under the bridge, and began writing my first novel; "A Bridge From Me To You".