Growing Up, There Used To Be This Bridge…

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back, everything is different.”
~ CS Lewis ~

Growing up, there used to be this bridge.

It was when things were different. You know, people just drift apart sometimes. Sometimes there’s bad blood and sometimes there’s just distance. Maybe it’s the distance that cuts deepest.

Anyway, growing up, there used to be this bridge.

I never swam in the stream beneath it but some of us used to wade there. I’m sure they weren’t the only ones. I’m sure hundreds of feet passed through those waters.

It’s funny how things look simple when you’re standing on the bridge, taking photos of your friends below. I guess you think nothing will change; that you’ll always come back to that bridge every year and take photos. But the weird thing is even as you’re standing there, snapping photos and thinking nothing will change, the moment’s already gone. Running away like the water flowing under the bridge.

Each day, another piece of that moment starts to slip away. Until you’re 75 and you’re wondering if you’d imagined the whole thing. If you’d imagined your friends laughing wildly, slipping on the wet stones in the stream, posing for staged photos and breathlessly just being themselves for the candids. If you’d imagined the sound of rushing water mimicking a million scattered voices in the wind. If you’d imagined the cold in winter, the heat in summer, the crisp in autumn, the sweet in spring as the bridge stayed the same throughout each season.

The moment fades even while you’re trying to grasp it, like a half-remembered dream you so desperately want to catch hold of upon waking.

So you snap another photo ’cause you don’t ever want to forget.

And now you’re holding that photo in your wrinkled, age-spotted, 75-year-old hands, however many years later; wondering how things could change so fast. Wondering how paths diverge, never to cross again. Wondering if the bridge still has the same uneven bit of pavement three-quarters of the way across. Wondering if the stream’s still running or if they’ve stopped up the source. Wondering whatever happened to the blurry people in that faded photograph.

Miles, perhaps states away, someone else looks down at their grandson and says “growing up, there used to be this bridge and one of us would always stand on it and take pictures while the rest of us waded in the stream below…I wonder where she is now…I wonder if she remembers too…I wonder if she still has the photo.”

And that someone else gets a far-off look in their old, brown eyes and half-whispers, “bridges always stay the same even if people change.”

Growing up, there used to be this bridge.

And I don’t know if any of us still think of that bridge just round the bend in the winding road. And I don’t know that it matters. Perhaps there’s bridges all around wherever we’ve found ourselves now in life. Perhaps we don’t take much notice of them.

But maybe there’s one bridge we walk across sometimes with an uneven bit of pavement three-quarters of the way across and maybe one day we trip a little over that uneven bit of pavement and everything comes rushing back in a flash of grey. The slippery stones in the stream. The way we used to always trip over that uneven bit of pavement three-quarters of the way across. The wild naivete of adolescence. The whispered and un-kept promises we made one another over the summer. The lop-sided grins at 2pm in the golden afternoon sunlight when we felt like nothing could touch us. Like we were invincible.

It all comes back and we stand there while people push past us with irritation ’cause they’re late for work and we’re having a Moment on a bridge with a bit of uneven pavement three-quarters of the way across.

It all comes back…and we stand there gazing off at nothing but remembering everything.

Then our phone alarm beeps and we remember that we’re supposed to be somewhere and we shake our heads and start walking again.

And with that shake of the head, the moment fades away just another inch. And next time, it’ll take more than a trip on the pavement to bring it back.

Growing up, there used to be this bridge.

And maybe, just maybe, one of us will come back to that bridge years from now but still way before we’re 75 and maybe, just maybe, that one will stand there on a cold, winter afternoon when the stream below has frozen. And maybe, just maybe, that one will pull out their phone with frigid fingers and dial a number they haven’t called in years.

And maybe, just maybe the person on the other end will pick up and there’ll be the delightful yet chaotic sound of children playing in the background and the faint strains of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. And the one standing on the bridge will smile, thinking of their own happy home waiting for them several hours away and the little sticky fingers leaving smudges on white walls.

And maybe, just maybe the one standing on the bit of uneven pavement three-quarters of the way across will say “I’m at the bridge. Was in the neighbourhood and thought I’d stop by.” And they’ll pause, waiting.

And maybe, just maybe the person on the other end will pause too and then ask, “Does it still have the uneven bit of pavement three-quarters of the way across? You and the other three of us used to always trip over it.”

And the one standing on the bridge will laugh and say “Yes, I’m standing on it now and we all tripped over it at least a few times, including you.” And then the laugh will fade and their face will fall in the sharp sting of the wind and they’ll say with a sigh “I wonder if the others remember.”

And maybe, just maybe the person on the other end will echo the sigh and breathe “we were going to change the world, weren’t we. But the world changed us.”

And a thousand dreams will shatter in the deep silence that follows. And a thousand bags of regret and guilt will finally drop open, spilling their contents into that silence. And the river will take them away.

And the one standing on the bridge will find water standing in their eyes as they reply “Golden summers were never meant to last but uneven bits of pavement will always stay.”

And the person on the other end will find water standing in their eyes as they reply “and that’s more than enough”. And they’ll think of their children and their spouse and their friends and how they’re glad those golden summers weren’t here to stay. And they’ll smile through the water in their eyes and they’ll say “come back to the bridge next week with yours and I’ll come with mine and maybe, just maybe the others will come with theirs.”

And the one standing on the bridge will nod and reply “Maybe they will. Merry Christmas, old friend. I’ll see you at the bridge next week.”

Growing up, there used to be this bridge and it had an uneven bit of pavement three-quarters of the way across. And the river ran below as if to say “golden summers were never meant to last but uneven bits of pavement will always stay”.

The bridge I saw while scrolling through Pinterest last night that instantly sparked this lil story πŸ™‚ Was there ever a real bridge growing up that may or may not have influenced this story as well?…Maybe, just maybe there was ❀

|We’re in a War, my friend, and we all need Courage on the Front Lines πŸ–€|

5 thoughts on “Growing Up, There Used To Be This Bridge…

    • Ahh, you’re more than welcome, Eliza!! I’m soo grateful the Most High used it to encourage your heart!! Thanks muchly for your kind, encouraging πŸ™‚ P.S. I miss seeing your lovely posts on Insta and I hope you’re doing well!! πŸ–€

      Liked by 1 person

      • I sooo miss being on Instagram!! I miss my friends and the lovely community on there. But aside from that, I’m doing well, thank you! I’m wanting to get back to blogging in the New Year, so *hopefully* I’ll be around a bit more, posting and commenting! 🀣❀️

        Liked by 1 person

  1. When I read this a week or so ago, I just started typing all my thoughts and then I never came back and finished it or sent it – But I know how hard you work at a project and then hear only crickets… So I’m sending my lose random thoughts that it’s sparked. I always appreciate your heart, Tabby! You’re gold πŸ˜‰

    That makes me think of “Nothing gold can stay…” and “the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep…”

    Now that I think of it, they’re both Robert Frost, aren’t they?

    The hopes and fears of all the years… One of my favorite Christmas songs.

    I have so many misc thoughts just floating around my brain but I know you get it because INFJs unite πŸ˜‰

    I was talking with my sister, Kitty, the other day, about how there are these books that are so absolutely gripping in the way they describe a season — they don’t just evoke they almost demand a visceral emotion.

    And A Separate Peace is that way to me. The way it describes a new england winter so strikingly, and this reminded me of that.

    And it reminded me of all the dreams and hopes I had as a girl – on the other coast, waiting to grow up and adventure in the California sun & forests and mountains and ocean… And now they feel so unreachable that I’ve pushed them further and further down and tried to convince myself that I didn’t really want them. But I see people standing in line at Trader Joe’s and envy the way they dress or interact and there’s a little tug at my heart like, “you could be that, too…” and then I think that I don’t still have that community around me. And I need people to aspire to be and something to grow towards, to thrive along the journey.

    “And maybe, just maybe the person on the other end will echo the sigh and breathe ‘we were going to change the world, weren’t we. But the world changed us.’

    *And a thousand dreams will shatter in the deep silence that follows.* And a thousand bags of regret and guilt will finally drop open, spilling their contents into that silence. And the river will take them away.”

    That line is like 😭😭 *those are cry emojis if they don’t show up right on your computer haha*

    I feel Ross and Demelza vibes a little, too. Where they feel life and let it just pass over them. They mourn and grieve and feel it all and just let it go. They take it at face value and keep living.

    Thinking of you this Holiday Season, Tabby!!! Merry Christmas, you bearer of light!

    On Wed, Dec 9, 2020 at 5:27 PM courage on the front-lines wrote:

    > Tabby Harris posted: ” “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but > when you look back, everything is different.” ~ CS Lewis ~ Growing up, > there used to be this bridge. It was when things were different. You know, > people just drift apart sometimes. Sometimes there” >

    Liked by 1 person

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