This is a regular column featuring original poetry and fiction by and for teens, provided by Figment, the online community writing site for young readers and writers.
She's here. I can hear her. I can feel her. She's the whisper in the rustle of the leaves. She's the gentle breath of the summer breeze.
The first smile in seven months steals my lips. My eyes reflect the dreamy white clouds as I look up. My heart fills with relief. Looking down to my journal, reading what I've written, my lips pull up even further. Before I know it, I'm the woman that's laughing alone on a park bench.
My heart lightened, my pen resumes what it started.
I find my mind's straying to memories dusted with longing in the inconspicuous sounds of this park in the bloom of summertime. Sparrows twittering excitedly when they find crumbs in a bin. Pigeons cooing softly in the trees and waddling on the ground. Weary dog owners dragging their whining dogs. Somber joggers slapping their feet tiredly on the cracked-up asphalt. They fade from my mind staining with the past.
Sweet scented memories of honey and cream. Her favorite comfort food when she got dumped. My sweet little sister, huddled in a blanket in her flannel pajama, pouring cream into a honey pot, then sticking the spoon into her grief.
The scene changes, purple dusk streaming through the windows. With a face ready to burst, eyes shining, she put the telephone down. I was dying to hear the news, I begged and cajoled her. When she burst, her cherry lips cracked open from ear to ear and she started screaming. She grabbed my hands and I danced a crazy dance with her. Not until we crashed tired but rushed with happiness on the sofa, did I learn she had won a prestigious scholarship.
Autumn burns the landscape red. Dying leaves muffle our slow footsteps. I breathed clean air in deeply, hungrily. Her arm linked through mine kept me afloat. In my other hand, his leaving words flapped and crackled in the wind. As if they wanted to fly, to soar in the open sky. A five-year relationship, dissolved in a matter of minutes to nothing more than a drafty, ugly apartment, a piece of paper and a broken heart. She never said a word, but by being there she said so much more. She pulled me through.
Amplify the noise of a dozen chattering people and you are at one of our family's Christmas parties. Cooking was her passion, her escape, her way of making dreams tangible. Last year she had prepared a true feast, with roast duck and a whole back of venison with the most imaginative and delicious sauces. Oven baked potatoes only she knew how to make star worthy. And a pudding that stunned everyone to silence when they took the first bite. Everyone was merrily drinking, joking, exclaiming about her talent.
This year, silence gathered in shadowy corners of the room. A bowl of microwaved macaroni was passed around in awkward gestures.
How we would have laughed, had she been sitting here with me. She would have pointed out the hippie woman stretching and turning while slumbering in the daisies. And the middle aged rotund man puffing and sweating past us with dragging feet. Next her face would sadden when her newest ex cycled by, but then I would point out his baggy eyes and horrible shirt. We would sit and watch old Nellie feed the ducks circling in the pond while discussing the latest gossip.
They say the darkest hour is the one before dawn. To me, for the rest of my life, as I grow old knowing memories are all that is left, it will always be so. All it took for that darkness to scar my soul was a drunk driver and my sister, returning home after a party, crossing a road.
But there is no darkness that I fear. She will brighten my mind, my heart. Her smile will shine down upon me from a maze of memories.