Dee's Journal



Entry #18: Looking for Miguel.


Marita told me where I might be able to find Miguel so I went up this trail into the hills not far from his house. I'm not much into Nature, I mean, it's not that I don't like it, I just have always felt safer in cities and stuff. Probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, considering the bad stuff that happens in cities, but all the wide openness of nature, just makes me feel, I dunno, overpowered.

I used to think the black people didn't get into the hiking and camping stuff like white people because we've just spent too much time living in cities. But then when you really think about it, where are our people from... Africa! Probably the most natural Nature spot on the whole planet. That's where we're from. And all those generations in the south... we'll sure, we were exactly backpacking and roasting marshmallows around a campfire, but we certainly were living close to nature.

I remember listening to Grandma Webster tell about different plants she knew that had healing powers. And how she could tell each morning, which animal had visited during the night by looking the tracks in the yard. And where was the best place to find running water when you were in a forest. And how to tell what direction north was by which side of the tree the moss was growing. She didn't learn any of that stuff in a city!

So as I was walking up this trail and feeling a little scared by the quietness all around me, I tried to keep telling myself that I was descendant of a people who lived close to the land. And that there was nothing to be afraid of, because the land always provides... food, shelter, and comfort.

I was starting to feel the comfort, or at least less of the nervousness as I breathed in the wet moisture of the trees lining that trail. I remember Miguel telling me about this place, and how much he liked coming up here by himself, especially when he needed to clear his mind.

All of a sudden I heard someone singing. It was a guy's voice. I couldn't exactly hear the words, but it sounded like it could have been Spanish! I looked up on the ridge above me, and I saw guy, standing on a rock, overlooking the trail below. I ducked behind a tree so I could get a better look without him seeing me. I peeked out and saw a familiar black sweatshirt. It was Miguel. And he was singing. I wish I knew what the words meant, but even without knowing, I could feel the sadness and the love in the song.

I spotted a small trail off the main one. It was way steeper, but it looked like it would take me up to the ridge where Miguel was standing. If I could climb it, I could get to him without him seeing me. I figured I'd just stand there next to him, quietly. And then when he was done singing, he'd turn to leave and he'd see me.

The trail was a lot steeper than it looked and like I said, I'm not really into Nature. But while I was climbing, I kept thinking, this is kinda fun, being here, and having to count on my own strength along this trail. And all the while I climbed, trying to grab on to whatever I could to pull myself along, I could hear Miguel's sweet voice, and I felt like I was climbing to heaven or something and Jesus was singing out to encourage me along the way. I was pretty close to the top of the ridge when I stepped on a loose rock and lost my footing. I must have yelled out or something (I honestly don't remember) or maybe it was the sound of the rock, crashing down the trail, but whatever it was, Miguel stopped singing and said, "Who's there?"

I wished I was able to see his face when I shouted out, "Miguel, it's me! Dee!" the next thing I knew, Miguel appeared over the top of the ridge and he was reaching down his arm and offering me a hand. I grabbed his hand, but by then I had gotten my footing, so even though I held on to him, I climbed up to the ridge on my own. When I was standing next to him, we didn't say anything, we just hugged.

He told me that he had gotten suspended for fighting with Juan. I told him I knew. He told me he wasn't looking for trouble but when Juan called me a slut, he just couldn't control himself. He just had to smash him in the face. He asked me if I forgave him.

I told him, of course I did. I just was upset because I didn't want him to throw away any of his future because of a creep like Juan. And he said that the only future that made any sense to him was one that included me! We stayed up on the ridge for about an hour... watching the clouds and the birds and the trees and just being together. It was the nicest time I ever spent outside.




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