Pine trees rush at Brad like fuzzy green monsters as he flies down the bike path faster than he’s ever ridden before. He launches off a jump and glides down the rest of the hill into a massive field full of wildflowers. He bikes up a ridge that overlooks Hiddenfield Park.
Brad remembers how the smoke filled the sky that day, and how he could barely breathe because the fire was so hot. Smoke and sparks blew everywhere he could see, and flames shot up into the sky. The memories replay in his mind. Brad shivers remembering the blaze. This was the location of where his nightmare first began.
Brad shakes his head looking over the field. The landscape has changed so much since the fire. Six months ago everything was burned in this park, but now the plants have returned, and the flowers have covered the blackness.
But as Brad scans the park, the older trees on the perimeter tell a different story. Their trunks are still black, twisted, and scarred from the fire. Even though the new plants look healthy, the old trees still remember the day the fire tore through here.
It’s the first time Brad’s been here since that day. His heart pounds. He realizes he’s not a bad person. He just made a mistake, and now it’s time to leave these memories behind and move on forever.
Brad pushes off on his bike and he flies down the ridge. He rolls to the main parking lot, and sees his old friends standing in a circle playing hacky sack with their bikes on the ground.
His old friend, Tyler, stops when he sees Brad bike past.
Brad doesn’t know how to feel, or react. He feels the desire to be accepted, and the urge to join them. But then he sees the zebra-striped hacky sack and remembers the pain they caused him. He knows what happiness is now, and this isn’t it.
He nods to Tyler as he bikes by. Tyler nods back.
It is clear to both of them that they don’t have anything in common anymore.