By LOGAN FALKEL
In the two weeks since school stopped, my feet have walked thousands of steps on the same trail, a trail that climbs from my home to a place my neighbors call the top of the world, where a fort looks over the ocean. It is the highest peak, from which a person can see miles in every direction.
Everyday at 3 o’clock, I walk to the top of the world with my neighbors, each household six feet apart, but content to simply be around other faces. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we are quiet, but without fail, it is the highlight of our day. It is a new form of gathering for everyone; we have families with ages of every kind, so unlike school or work, but more of a tribe than nine days before.
Each day the wind rips through the tree line, noticeably louder without the scream of sirens racing down the coast. And each day we seem to find more to talk about, comparing reports from the radio. Everyone’s eyes worry, but no one regrets that we’re here.
Fifteen minutes past the crest of the hill sits the fort of stone. It’s merely three plateaus on a rocky mountain, but if you look hard enough, you can see the castle it once was. I like to think that its stones were laid 300 years ago, before my ancestors ever knew of the west. And I swear, once when I was little, I felt the ghost of a girl sitting beside me, staring at the same coastline.
I have not played in the fort for years, but in the last two weeks, I’ve spent hours sitting on its walls, simply thinking. My life has been put on pause, the press of a button and all the motion around me stopped. With no momentum pushing me forward, it has become hard to find motivation.
But if my days have one goal, it is to make it to the top of the world to sit with that ghost every afternoon. The rest of my day can dissolve into nothing, but when the guilt hits me tomorrow, at least I made it up the mountain to stand on the fort that has watched sickness sweep over the world a hundred different times.