Looking for My Citadel of Silence

Here is episode 15 of Looking Back. I am hoping you are enjoying this story…

I try to keep busy. It helps fend off boredom. I was thinking about summer time. That happens when it is the dead of winter and there is nothing but snow and ice and grey skies. So as I was washing dishes, it occurred to me that summers comprised the most enjoyable parts of my childhood. We lived in a subdivision that abutted a nature preserve. I spent as much time as possible exploring the woods and fields. It was a daily routine to slip outside and vanish into the trees. My one friend from first grade would meet me in a little clearing. We would pretend that we were wild horses and go galloping through the prairie grass. She moved away half way through 2nd grade. It was OK because she’d already pulled away from me and joined the rest of the kids ridiculing me. Superman had a Fortress of Solitude; I had a Citadel of Silence. It was a well concealed hideout. You could only access it by following the fence until it reached the bridge and then crawling under the bridge. Once beneath the bridge, there was a poured cement footing that had split. I excavated that crack into a tidy little cave. It took me over a week but in the end it was large enough to accommodate a makeshift bench to sit on. The soil had a lot of clay and so the walls and ceiling didn’t flake or crumble. I made a niche in the wall to hold my treasures. Perhaps I was always strange but I had found a small skull, probably from a squirrel, which I displayed. Some kids would have been frightened but I thought it fascinating. I had a geode too. It really would sparkle whenever I brought a flashlight to my Citadel. I would visit that hideout constantly during the summers as a way to avoid the other kids, at least until I got too big to squeeze through the crack. One time a couple of boys followed me through the woods intent on making my life more miserable. I could hear them struggle through the undergrowth. I purposely walked through the mud and then scrambled over the bridge. Instead of jumping down, I took off my shoes and went back the way I came. I slipped under the bridge and into my cave. They followed my muddy tracks across the bridge and then plunged off the other side. I had to hold in my laughter as they howled and fought their way back to the bridge through the stinging nettles and poison ivy. Doing dishes is so much more enjoyable when you can recall pleasant memories.

8 thoughts on “Looking for My Citadel of Silence

    1. Merit is open to friendships. She doesn’t want to feel obligated and she definitely would be selective… I think she is a lot like a stray cat used to her own company – open to a friendship but very very wary..

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