The white flags over our field weren’t raised by its rightful rulers


Kurt Race

“watch out jeremy wade.. they r ready for river monsters,” my dad captioned this 2014 Instagram post.

Where the fragile pair raked piles of leaves for dollar bills, they swam through each brown crunch just to have scraps of twigs and brush in their hair, leaving littered in the dirt particles. Trees in the vicinity always had more leaves to drop, despite the yard being under a constant brush cover. 

The plot where the twin rulers reigned was an urban treasure, a suburban scarcity. It was their very own playground with no equipment or structures, but rather a place where the simplicity of their youthful worldview can rove unconfined. 

And the old oaks landscaped their territory in the fall; the burns of autumn’s warm colors blanket the ground, bringing the siblings to fight for land only they could trespass. Movements of each leaf echoed throughout the acreage as the wind twirled them off their stems, and the kids awoke the neighborhood with their lively screams. 

In the few weeks that fall finally begins, the snow will present itself, and the twin footsteps will always be frozen into the snow until it, too, melts away from the home and disappears. 

We used to hate how vast and desolate our territory looked when the sun reflected the snow’s blinding image in our eyes, but we learned to superimpose whatever pattern or whoever’s coat print onto the snow with exemplary accuracy. From the view of us victorious, extremely hyper twins, trudging through the thickness of snow layers to utilize our land again was worth wasting our copious imagination spikes on snowball fights. 

The same tracks we established carry our childish creativity, just like the leaf piles we raked for some candy blocks away, extracting every sense of malign possible. 

The twins were raised in the red brick home with the neatest garden beds in the spring, and the home’s bold contrast to its surroundings complemented every season. A few minutes from the city was this home, having many parks within a 3-mile radius; however, no section of grass could ever bestow the fulfillment to which ours did—a present in which we shared until we threw the white flags and surrendered our reign. 

I see a wild-spirited girl in the photo albums—I’m still her, one of the twins who lost their valued sanctuary.”

Now that it has been years since our forced break, nobody will appreciate the domain again as we once did. There will be no kids that will feel the power of “ruling the world,” but rather a result of horribly measured property lines and no resolutions. It was our perfect little space—a pretty little escape, but we don’t play baseball anymore or throw frisbees for fun.

We’ve relocated, but the twins haven’t moved on, and so many little memories that gave the old home its beauty and the many battles I won were washed by reality’s warp, but the one with dreams bigger than comprehension and leaves blended in her waves hasn’t budged her stubbornness in years. 

To assimilate in Forest Hills is indignant to the ex-rulers of sacred land, and we’ll never fully feel the full circle moment of leaving our true childhood home to explore maturity.

However, the twins did belong on Coit Ave.; it was an open place exclusively for the curious wanderers we twins were. The numerous battles we’ve fought won’t ever diminish, nor will the searing realization that the home won’t ever be mine to call again. I see a wild-spirited girl with the same leafy, ratty hair expressing her natural independence in the photo albums—I’m still her, one of the twins who lost their valued sanctuary.

Because I am no stranger to change, I feel like I only ever shift, not settle, and since we’ve already grown way older, we dream wildly of the memories and sulk at the sight of the now, browning grass. 

I never meant to leave a stranger.