Strawberry Fields Forever

Strawberry Fields Forever

A Story by Hipster Detective

Aurora Jones and John Hamilton meet and deal with being stuck in the suburbs.

John walked slowly down the boardwalk, questioning its logic. It's in the middle of a swamp, he thought. Why put a boardwalk in the middle of a swamp? I know Ohio is boring, but a swamp? There's a lake not ten minutes from here. Why put it halfway through the swamp, then end it with a path that leads who-knows-where? He scuffed his feet on the weather-stained board as he swung himself onto the short railing protecting passerby from falling ten feet into the wetlands.
Twenty-five feet in front of him and past a curve on the boardwalk walked Aurora. She marveled at the boardwalk's simple beauty, at the small things that it enabled people to see. She stopped and rested her elbows on the railing, gazing out at the mid-western night. She kicked herself for forgetting her camera; the powerlines stretching out into the distance surrounded by trees and marshes would have been a groovy photo.
John sighed and realized he had to get going soon. He jumped off the fence and started walking back when he heard footsteps behind him. The only light came from the long gone sun still stretching pink across the sky to his right. 
"Hello?" he called cautiously.
"Hello!" a bright female voice answered and the speaker came into view.
What a peculiar person, John thought. She was tall and very skinny, dressed in a white pea coat and black turtleneck that hung on her small frame and skinny jeans that bagged slightly. White Converse on her feet and a sky blue bag and bass guitar case slung across her shoulder completed the eccentric, but neat, look. As she walked closer, he noticed she had big hazel eyes, somewhat pale skin, and a immaculate and clean cut dark brown mop top that came halfway down her ears. Had he only glanced at her from a distance (and had it not been 2010) he may have mistaken her for Paul McCartney himself. He couldn't decide whether or not that would be a compliment.
Aurora walked closer to the other kid on the boardwalk. He was short but muscular with a full head of blonde curly hair and blue eyes. He wore dark, ripped jeans and a black Under Armor shirt that contrasted his olive skin. He had a navy backpack on his shoulders and he walked towards her carefully. As he walked, she noticed a denim jacket sleeve poking out of his bag.
"Hello!" she called out again and smiled at him. Lordy, not another optimist, John thought. "What's your name?"
"John," he answered.
"Hey Johnny. I'm Aurora," He winced at the nickname.
"Hi, Rory." She, too, didn't care for the pet name. "Where ya headed?"
"I was just walking. You?" She slapped a mosquito off her arm. 
She looked at him with her big eyes. He could tell that she knew there was something more.
"Walk me home, Johnny?" she asked and held out her elbow. He took her arm and they walked down the boardwalk side by side.
"So, uh.... What's with the guitar?"
"Hmm?" She had completely forgotten about the bass slung over her shoulder. "Oh. I was going to practice, but it got cancelled, so I figured I'd just take a walk. It's nice out, hey?"
"It's barely 50 degrees."
"Well, it's Ohio. if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes." They walked off the end (or rather beginning) of the boardwalk and onto the gravel path that led the way from the park. The sky was now barely tinged with pink to their left and the full moon peeked through the trees to their right. A few stars had decided to come out tonight, the sparse clouds weaving their way through the sky.
John looked at Aurora. Up close, her neat appearance seemed to slip away; she still looked well-groomed and tidy, but something in her eyes gave the distinct impression that you were looking at a chronic daydreamer and hopeless romantic. He was close enough to see the few freckles that populated her nose, the stragglers staying behind after a long summer.
Aurora looked at John. He looked tired; he had dark circles under his eyes and a way of getting glassy eyed and looking to the side when he wasn't talking. His long fringe tried to conceal the bitterness and emptiness in his face that gave hints to something more below the surface. She readjusted her bags and decided to probe him.
"So." she said, breaking the silence occupied only by their sneakers on the ground. She tipped her head back and stared up at the sky. They were out of the woods and were now walking in the wide open park on the dark bike path. 
"So." John tipped his head back too and they stopped walking. Aurora pulled a towel out of her bag and laid it on the ground, her eyes never leaving the sky now freckled with stars. She sat down on it, gracefully laying the guitar and bag beside her. John looked down at her, somewhat surprised.
"Sit down," she asked, but it was more of a command. He sat down.
"Hi." She smiled and looked up at the moon. John directed his attention towards Orion the hunter, only dimly aware of what he was doing. "What do you think?"
"About what?" It was clear that she hadn't expected him to talk first.
He shrugged and looked at the sky yet again.
"Well...." He drew his knees up to his chest and fingered his ragged shoelaces. "Do you think we're alone, is what I guess I'm trying to say."
"But we're not alone. See?" She stuck her hand in the grass for a few seconds and came up with an ant on her finger. "We're never alone." She gently shook the ant off.
"You know what I mean."
"I do, and that was my answer. There may or may not be a god or gods or goddess or what have you, but does it matter? 'Cos in the end, we're here, and if it or they are really out there, they're not here." She pulled a small necklace from under her coat and showed John the symbol on the end. It was a wheel with eight spokes. He vaguely remembered seeing it in a history class; it was a symbol for Buddhism, if he remembered right.
"Buddhism?" he asked, just to be sure.
She nodded. "You?"
"I don't know. I could really care less. I could honestly care less." 
"Somebody's got anger issues."
"No, it's's everything, really. I can't stand being stuck here, I can't stand what's going on in the world, I really can't."
"Is that why you're running away?" It was a bit more abrupt than she had planned to say it, but the moment seemed right.
"Yeah. I guess. The grass is greener, right?" He exhaled slowly and chuckled. "Am I that transparent?"
"I'm just really good at reading people," Aurora said. She realized her teeth were starting to chatter; she looked at her watch and saw the time. "It's getting late. Quarter of 9." They stood up and Aurora collected her things. She noticed John looking at her like he was about to say something, but he never did.
"So, milady. Wherefore doth you live?"
"Uh...." She laughed.
"What? What'd I say?"
"You just asked me, 'Why do you live?'"
"Ahh. Well, not a big fan of Shakespeare anyway..." He took her arm again and they walked.
"Here." They turned off the bike path and onto the streets. They walked in silence now, John simply thinking about his rash decision and Aurora simply barely thinking, just walking along in the cool August air. 
"Here." Now they were at her house.
"Not much of a walk, eh?" He smiled.
"So where you gonna go?"
"Hurm." John replied. "Dunno. Maybe Cleveland, Columbus, something like that."
She just smiled sadly at him and turned to walk up her driveway.
"Hey, Rory?" She turned back again. "What, uh....What's on your wrist?"
She pulled up her right coat sleeve. Right beside her watch was a small tattoo in script: Strawberry Fields Forever.
"Like the song?"
"No, the fishing tackle brand."
"No need to be sarcastic."
"It just reminds me, you know....Nothing is real, and nothing to get hung about. It's nice to have when you're feeling down." 
She smiled at him again, walked up her driveway, and let herself in through the garage, her Beatles haircut and comically oversized guitar disappearing in the dark. John just watched her go and readjusted the bag on his back, then set off for home.

© 2010 Hipster Detective

Author's Note

Hipster Detective
I hope the ending works. I was planning on doing something more with them, but I dunno. Opinions? Does the photo work with it?

My Review

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I do like the ending--it has the sort of unfinished feeling that conversations with strangers tend to have. I think the physical description towards the beginning is a bit forced, but I really like the juxtaposition of the two characters.

Posted 11 Years Ago

I am a little puzzled, but I am intrigued at the prospect of having a runaway character in the story. Will there be a second chapter to give us some explanation?

Posted 11 Years Ago

What's the relationship between John and Aurora hmmm lemme think. This could really go somewhere if there was a chapter 2 or something. Nice introduction slash short story.

Posted 11 Years Ago

I like the photo, a nice simple addition to the story, and the ending works but it seems to be missing something, this feels more like the beginning of a story. I think you should write a second chapter, or add to your ending. I was able to see both characters and found them to be interesting people.

Posted 11 Years Ago

The photo works with it and this is a sweet little piece. I think you could certainly make something more of this, but if not, it's a nice ending. You did a good job presenting their views and personalities. I like it. :)

Posted 11 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on June 24, 2010
Last Updated on June 27, 2010
Tags: nighttime, suburbs, Ohio, teenagers, life, universe, speculation, runaways