I joined the high school newspaper in my senior year for one reason—so I could have my own comic-strip. It was called Dweezlebwob 634 and featured talking cheese and a sentient severed finger, amongst other oddities. Despite this, the newspaper staff also saw fit to foolishly give me my own column, “The Other Side of the Ditch.” I squandered this honor by writing about ludicrous conspiracies and other facetious topics.
Below is the sixth installment—this was my favorite (although it is overly sentimental and heavy-handed and inundated with quotation marks). Even people that hated my column seemed to dig this one. It was my last story before graduating.
The Other Side of the Ditch
5 May 1995
Just as summer must end and allow fall to kill what remains, so must I leave the banks upon the other side of this ditch and allow the entrance of its autumn.
Fewer than many have pondered what exactly lies on “the other side” and what exactly “the other side” is. Once when I was very small and on one of those journeys we find ourselves on when so young, I came upon a large chasm. It was the essence of this ditch we call life. All, as we know it, lies upon this side where we stand. Yet “the other side” was so vast, welcoming, and mysterious. This “ditch” was too large to cross and I sorrowfully left it, having not attempted to cross it.
Not so long ago I heard it calling to me in my dreams. I returned to it and the chasm had grown and all upon “the other side” had withered. Closing my eyes, I leapt and found myself on “The Other Side of the Ditch.” As I walked about I felt this presence. It teemed with life. It was more alive than anything that I have ever known. Its boundaries were only limited by the reaches of my imagination. Now that I had come, its withered land began to bloom once again. “The other side” is a parasite. It fed off me—fueling its magical land of imagination. Our relationship was symbiotic, for I learned and fed off it as well. I became the bridge which linked both sides of the “ditch.” I shared its wonders and lived happily as its host.
Alas, it could not last forever for the sands of time have pressed me. Time changes everything and I have grown. Now has come the time for me to leave “the other side” and return to the side that spawned me. We all must grow and leave our dearest things behind, for we must keep the cycle spinning. Perhaps, I am the one who has gained the most in our relationship, for “the other side” has shaped me. It will always be part of me, awaiting my return. Without me, “the other side” is dead. It cannot live alone. I shall go on to grow as “the other side” continues to slowly waste away. One day I shall return and it will still be waiting, my own little giving tree. I will be wiser and “the other side” will once again bloom and grow even more vast. For now, it must lie dead. Do not shed a tear. The summer always returns.