Last Night Atop This Hill

Author: Julian Shaw

Moonlight bounces off puddles, casting shadows on the wrinkles of my skin. Sadden stars proudly pierce my retina, birthing an image within my head. I see the reflection of an old man, the identity of some stranger which I inhabit. The hollow cast of what once was, a memory of what could have been… 

I walk to sit atop a hill. Struggling, my silent silhouette lays on its wet grass. My troubled trembling legs remind me about last night. A time where my battered back didn’t hurt, where my hands did not shake. A time I onced lived in, yet now seems too foreign of a land to even fathom. As this old man recalls its past, the many last nights proudly parade through my memory. 

A warm last night, atop this hill, small legs ran, jumped, and galloped as my youthful lungs left giggles lingering in the air. Free shins filled with mud cut, fly, and stumble through the summer’s soil, as in the distance mum calls for my return home. 

A chilly last night, atop this hill, the dog and I walked amongst shiny snow, leaving tracks behind for the entire world to know. Howling at the full moon in the sky above, a happy feral child and his dog go back home once more. 

Full moons passed, a child grew up, a dog passed away, and grey hair grew upon a mom, all of it just last night. Now, I wonder if these hands remember pushing her wheelchair uphill? Have these eyes forgotten about that one last night? When the same sad stars that looked upon me tonight, glittered callously at her – for the last time. Does this old man remember the last nights that followed? Where a hill made for two stood half empty in her absence. Yes, that one last night… 

Then on one jolly last night, atop this hill, I fell in love. A floral fragrance flowed freely from wild whirling winds which wrapped around him. His hair glamorously glowed upon the star’s lights. And as lightning shone and thunder struck, we sought shelter upon the canopy of the oaks nearby. Atleast, for the last nights to come, a hill made for two was now full. 

The moon ran in laps across the horizon, we grew old together, got married, fought and loved. Until one lonely last night, atop this hill, I stood here alone once more – staring at sorrowful stars shining so distantly, staring at a void. 

Tonight these stars stare back at me. Tonight, cheap tobacco now fills the void of his fragrance, while the scent of whiskey masks the memory of the many others who stood beside me upon this hill. Tonight, I remember all those nights, for every one of them was once a last night of its own, well, until they were no more. As my old lungs inhale tobacco for the last time, and my consciousness falls into oblivion, I leave my old, rugged, and hollowed body atop this hill. As a testament to the world, one which speaks about last night.

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