t was a beautiful day. The grass was a brilliant shade of green, the water shone like a pool of crystals, the sun was warm on our faces and we were in high spirits.
It was summer, a time for wild, crazy adventures and picnics in the park, a chance to stay up late and watch movies and not have to worry about homework and tests. It promised fond memories that would last us a lifetime.
We were young and not afraid of anything back then. We used to pretend we were superheroes when we were younger, that we had supernatural powers and could fly high above the clouds. We spent hours dreaming of all of the terrifying adventures we'd have together and of all the stories people would tell their children about us.
That's what we did, Jimmy and I. He was my best friend, my other half. All of the memories I have of my childhood were of summers we had spent together.
I remember that one summer more than the rest. That one summer that promised us good times and laughter. That one summer that never brings a smile to my face when I think about it. That summer had lied to us. It had made all of these promises that it couldn't keep.
Jimmy and I lived in a small town where there wasn't much to do. We mostly had to make our own fun by inventing new games, exploring new places and occasionally getting ourselves into trouble.
That morning I awoke to the cheerful sounds of the birds singing. The sun was shining in through my open window and a cool breeze played with my hair as I dressed.
We met on the corner of Willowdale and Hasford, right smack in the middle of our houses. Jimmy and I were chatting away as young children often do, unaware of the events that would take place that day.
We talked about baseball and monsters and even old Mrs. Rumpford. She was the old hag that lived across the street from me. She always used to stare at us from her window and give us mean looks as we walked by.
It was a gorgeous day and we didn't want to waste it. We planned to go fishing in a small river down by the train tracks. It wasn't a very well-known place so there wouldn't be any cars or people around to bother us. It would be just nature, Jimmy and I. There was always good trout there too. We often went fishing there in the summertime. We were all ready with our tackle boxes in our hands and our baseball caps snug on our heads.
We spent a few hours fishing. I caught a few suckers that weren't worth keeping, but Jimmy, Jimmy caught a huge one! It was almost three feet long with big, wide eyes that stared right at you. It was as shiny as any fish I'd ever seen before. It was like gold. A fish like that one was what made it all worth it. Even if nothing else exciting happened that summer, we'd always have that fish to brag on about.
Jimmy carefully wrapped up his trophy and we started heading back home. Fishing would have to be enough of an adventure for one day. We were both exhausted.
It was already getting dark by the time we had begun to head back home. The sun had begun to set and dinnertime was fast approaching. We knew our mothers would skin our hides if we were late, so, instead of taking the longer way we had come, we decided to take a short cut.
All we had to do was follow the train tracks until we reached the street that led back to the corner of Willowdale and Hasford. This way was much more dangerous but we'd had taken it loads of times and we weren't afraid. We were superheroes after all. We laughed in the face of danger.
Our laughter soon turned into screams and cries for help. Jimmy had decided to be a little too adventurous and he had begun to run along the middle of the tracks. He had tripped on an old rusted metal beam and his leg had gotten stuck between two more.
I told him to stop joking around. I said it wasn't funny. It wasn't until I heard the sounds of the train's whistle blowing that I realized Jimmy wasn't joking.
I ran over to help him as the sounds of the whistle began to increase in volume. I tried with all of the strength I had inside of me to pull his leg out. It never occurred to me that I might not make it in time.
At last my superhuman strength had failed me. I tried one last time to free his leg, but it was no use.
That evening I made the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. It was either Jimmy or the both of us. At that moment I wanted to stay with him. If I couldn't save us both, then at least we would have died together.
Jimmy wouldn't let me though. He yelled at me to go, to run as fast as I could before it was too late for both of us. He was the bravest kid I ever knew. He really was a superhero.
The train came a split second after I had reached safety. It was all over. The beautiful summer days, adventures and picnics in the park, staying up late to watch movies. It was all over.
That summer let us down. It made us promises it couldn't keep. It never warned us nor gave me a chance to say goodbye.
I'll never forget that summer when I was 10. It was a summer I learned never to trust promises. It was the summer I learned that sometimes being careful pays off. That even superheroes die.
© 2003 The Richmond Hill Public Library Board