Every time the sun rises our lives begin. Within each beam rises a new life, a new journey, a new hope. I used to watch the sunrise every morning on Baker's Field, hoping that something would be rising up on those beams for me. I laid back on the dewy earth and watched as the face of God would paint itself onto the sky and rest warmly on me. But it rained a lot last summer, and the clouds blocked out the sun. Its beams were rolled into thunder and the face of God faded into various shades of gray. So when the school year started up again in the fall I began to drift. I drifted behind plastic smiles and weak laughs, noise and pointless chatter until I had drifted so far away I found myself lost in my emptiness.
I am not sure how I got there. I had drifted to so many places I never knew where I was. All I know is that in church that Sunday, after Pastor Wallace got filled and the choir sang Solomon Rigby passed me a note. I was listening to the choir and watching as Pastor Wallace danced up and down the pews when a sticky finger poked my neck. I turned my head and a little boy, whose name I can't recall, tried to shove a piece of paper up my nose. I slapped the boy's hand then his mother slapped me. The note was written on a crumpled up paper that had been ripped from an old hymnal. One side read the first few stanzas of "Bringing in the Sheaves", the other had the note. "Eleanor, run away with me. Be my Mrs.Rigby". Once service had ended I ran to the basement where all the teens hung out after service. Solomon was sitting at an empty table waiting for me. Solomon Rigby was the tallest boy in the eleventh grade and the richest boy in town. He had fair hair, dark rings under his eyes, and was two years my senior. He only talked to people he liked, and the people he liked were not people I was allowed to talk to. Solomon took my hand and spoke to me in a voice I had never heard before or since.
Solomon and I met like this everyday after church for months. Everywhere Solomon went I went, everything Solomon did I did, all his friends were my friends, and all his pains were my pains. I remember the day I brought Solomon down to Baker's field to watch the sunrise with me. I told him about how God would paint his face against the sky and send rays of light down to me. "God?" Solomon had chuckled. "My poor Eleanor Rigby, how lonely you must be. There is no God." I was startled by how nonchalant his voice had become. I turned to him, slightly frightened, and stared into his dark eyes. For a moment it was as if I was staring through him. His eyes were empty and the dark bags that hung beneath them grew larger. Solomon, who had been lying down, sat up and looked at the sky again. "If there were a God up there then we wouldn't be drifters."
"Drifters?" I started back and rose to me feet. Solomon looked up at me with a coy smile. His blue eyes grew dark with passion.
"Drifters are the people the world and God forgets. We are outcasts in a world that is void of pain and suffering. We see the reality of things while others wallow in ignorance. We see the world as it is. Empty and purposeless. Really Eleanor. Tell me what the point of all of this is, or better yet ask your God. Ask your God why people die or why we're here and listen as he doesn't answer you."
"But God does care. Remember Pastor Wallace's sermon last-"
"Pastor Wallace is a poor man who has nothing but a dilapidated church and the clothes on his back! Look around you Eleanor. Where do you see God?"
I looked around me. My eyes searched throughout the field and found nothing. I looked up into the sky hoping that some answer would come, but all I saw were the last rays of light before the clouds shrouded the sky in gray.
"I don't know where God is," the words creaked out of my mouth," but I know He's here. He has to be." Solomon looked at me with stern eyes. He knit his brow and for a moment all color disappeared from his face. Solomon rose from the ground slowly, as if he had aged since we had been in the field. Solomon posed one more question to me before I left the field that day, and I have turned his words over and over in my head throughout the years in search of the answer. I never found the answer to his question because it is a question that no one can answer except God himself. What took place after that day I can't recall. All I know is that I began to drift again. However, this time I wasn't drifting towards anything, I felt like I was drifting away. So when Solomon took me to the Riverside where other drifters lived and taught me how to escape the world through pipes and bottles, I did. I drifted with them in puffs of smoke and watched as my pain vanished into the air. They showed the scars they won from fighting the demons that taunted them at night and I earned some too. They taught me how to cloud out the world with noise and screams, and everything I had once believed about God and the world were all lies. And so I drifted until I found myself in Baker's field again watching the sunrise with Solomon as he smoked a blunt beside me. The day before Solomon had sent me a note asking me to run away with him, so we met at Baker's Field so we could plan our departure.
"Where are we running away to?" I had rolled onto my side and watched as long puffs of smoke drifted into the cool air and curled as they met the wind. Solomon didn't answer for a long time, but continued to puff out streams of smoke. He turned to me suddenly with a wild look in his eyes and told hold of my hand. His hands were much larger than my own. He would always curls the ends of his bony fingers over my own.
"Eleanor Rigby, do you love me?" the smell of smoke still lingered on his breath and he rested my head on his chest.
"Of course I do Solomon. I always will."
"Will you run away with me then?"
"Run away where?"
Solomon sat up and toyed with some grass. The rising sun glistened against the blades changing its color to deep shades of red and orange. Solomon looked at me with an unwavering gaze. He rose from the ground and extended his hand to me. "Eternity," he whispered. "Drift with me into eternity." He placed my hand within his own and I stood up. Solomon leaned forward and kissed my forehead gently. "Look out at the sunrise," is the last thing he said to me, "hold onto its beams and never look back." There was a loud bang and I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. I fell to the ground, the grass whimpered as it met the wind. I watched as Solomon lifted a small revolver to his head. The sun danced and shimmered in his hair, and drifted away in its rays.
I was lost in a realm of darkness. Solomon's question, the one I had been brooding over, repeated itself again and again in my mind. Why does God let people die? I awoke a few months later. Everything was dark before, then there was a bright light, I felt so cold. I tried to straighten up but my back was stiff. I turned my head and saw the frightened face of Pastor Wallace staring down at me. I had never seen a black man look so white. A few doctors rushed into the room and stared at me with startled expressions. Everyone around me was stunned, frozen in place. One of the doctors finally came to his senses and turned to his comrades. "Should we call her parents?"
"No need, she doesn't have any," all heads turned to Pastor Wallace. The color began to return to his face. "Her parents died last summer. Eleanor lives with me."
It was a long time before I could explain to anyone what had happened between myself and Solomon. Most people were shocked to hear that such a nice young man like himself had committed suicide and almost killed his girlfriend. They were even more in shock to hear that Solomon's parents, who were rarely in town, had made it to his funeral. People always asked me how two smart teenagers like ourselves could have acted so stupidly, as if we had nothing to live for. We had everything going for us, they'd sneer. If I had just stayed in church, or stayed in school. If I had let Solomon alone or if he wasn't high we could have been really good kids. They would mock and jeer at us, Solomon because he was dead and me because I was alive. They spent so much time blindly accusing and reprimanding us they never realized they were doing more harm than good. No one understood and they didn't want to understand. They said my scars were selfish, and his blunts were excuses. Whenever their shouting got too loud, or their scoffing too much to bear I would answer their endless questioning as if it were Solomon answering them. We were drifters. We wandered on the outer borders of society continually seeking and loathing the world we are apart from and the world we wished to possess. With outstretched arms we'd long for the joys of idle prattle and senseless laughter, but instead find ourselves lost in a sea of thoughts telling us otherwise. We cried out silent pleas that, like prayers, drifted into nothingness. On bent knees we'd lift up our hands in hopes that the world may see, or something more, or both. And so we vanish, the red wine of youth leaking from our veins, into eternity.