When I think of Ethan
When I think of Ethan, I hear muffled drum sounds and the smell of sweet grass floats in the air. He stands in front of me and looks at me with his dark eyes and his long black hair dancing in the prairie wind.
“Nothing in life happens without sense,” he says.
Then he takes the ebony disk, which he is wearing around his neck with a leather string, and breaks it in two. He keeps one half and puts the other half around my neck.
“We’ll meet again someday,” he says, and kisses me on the forehead, for which he has to bend down. I don’t answer and tears start to roll down my cheeks.
“Emily!” I hear my father call. “Hurry up, the plane can’t leave without us!”
One last time I see Ethan and I know I will never forget him. I feel sad, but I have to go with my father, as I am only twelve and Ethan is fourteen.
I never saw Ethan again. Time went by and the memories of that summer slowly faded away, making way for a new colourful life. Sometimes, I can’t help but remember Ethan and the last thing he said to me “Nothing in life happens without sense!
Many years later, I returned to Texas. I flew from London to Dallas and rented a car at the airport. This year’s family reunion was going to take place at my brother Billy’s house who lived in South Lake. My brother’s house is almost two hours away from the Dallas Airport. The journey took me through deserted streets that are flanked on either side by sometimes green and sometimes dried grass. The immensity was interrupted by low rock formations and power poles. The trees were not very high and looked rather like large bushes. Spring always spreads a rich green blanket that soon has to escape from the hot Texas summer.
I crossed South Lake, a rather small town. The houses were mostly colourful and pretty big. In the midday heat there weren’t many people on the street and the town seemed deserted. When I turned onto the road to Billy’s house, I knew that he could already see me from a distance, as the car left a huge red dust cloud behind it.
Billy’s home was one of those typical wooden houses with a surrounding porch. He had lovingly painted it blue and beige and had planted trees around it. The green lawn and the beautiful flower beds testified the regular irrigation. As I arrived, he was occupied with the decoration for the party. When he saw me coming, he climbed off the ladder and waved so violently that his green baseball cap slipped off his head and released the view of his nearly bold head. Although I smiled, I sadly realised that Billy was also starting to get old. This feeling, however, left my mind quickly as I got out of the air conditioned car and the hot sun burned my face.
“Welcome to Texas!” Billy hugged me and laughed merrily. We had not seen each other for a long time and had only spoken on the phone on holidays. We were so busy catching up on the past years that we almost forgot the party preparations. But when the day was over and the moon appeared, everything was perfectly decorated. Innumerable uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews arrived. We all joked, laughed, danced and played country music. The campfire was flickering and it illuminated one by one all of the members of the family. In the air there was the delicious smell of the barbecue.
It was after ten when a Jeep arrived. Dolly Parton was singing about lonely cowboys, and in the glow of the fire you could see two Texas Rangers getting out of the car. One was my cousin Anthony and the other was presented by him as his friend Jimmy Ray Parker. They were passing through and thought they should stop by and say hello.
Jimmy Ray was over six feet tall and had to be around my age. The sun and the wind had left their monograms on his brown face with high cheekbones. He was unmistakeably from Indian descent, and I felt a stitch in my heart. Vague images from my childhood went through my mind. It had been a carefree summer with horses, sun, wind, prairie and my friend Ethan. I clutched the amulet half in my jeans pocket and repressed those disturbing thoughts.
“Howdy!” said Jimmy Ray’s deep voice as he looked at me. The flames lit up his eyes and gave his face a golden glow.
I laughed so as not to drown in my dangerous mood: “I haven’t heard anybody say howdy for a long time!
“Did you miss it?” he asked me.
“Yes, I really did!” I replied.
“Have you been long gone?” Jimmy Ray asked.
“Way too long!” I said.
A split second later, words danced back and forth with the ease of snowflakes. An aura formed around us and a strange familiarity between us produced a magic spark when our hands touched accidentally. Slowly we removed ourselves from the hustle and bustle, to where a lonely fire was burning. The sky was dark blue and clouds framed a half moon. In the distance a coyote howled and soon after a second one replied. The air contained clear signs of magic and whispered melancholic memories to me. I didn’t want to admit it and I reached into my jeans pocket. My hand closed around the ebony disk that slowly warmed up. When I took my hand out of the pocket again, my ring got caught on the leather string hanging off the amulet and it was thrown in front of Jimmy Ray’s feet. He picked it up and looked at it.
“Where did you get that?” his voice was rough.
“From a friend named Ethan” I told him.
“Ethan!” he exclaimed.
“Yes, we never used our real names as we thought it was more exciting to use fictional ones. I was Mia and he was Ethan, we never knew our real names!” I explained.
“Nothing in life happens without sense” he said.
We were very close and looking in each other’s eyes. Then he reached with one hand into his shirt and pulled out a leather collar on which the other half of my amulet was attached.
“I told you that sometime we will meet again Mia!”
He took me tight in his arms, and I let it happen. Nothing else existed anymore. I had finally arrived at my destination.