A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY SARA HOLDEN
I am silent these days, though I used to be loud. I can still taste the sunshine like it had just washed over me moments ago, while I joyously tumbled down hills as the wind twirled my hair. Adeline and I would sip lemonade near the rushing stream, bickering about who won a foolish game. We were too innocent to sense what this practice would soon bring us.
“Ha! I won, now you owe me something!”
“That’s so unfair! Last night you didn’t let me watch T.V. after I won a game of cards!” I gulp down my way-too-sweet lemonade to hide the frustration pasted on my face. She had obviously won.
My sister crosses her arms. She may as well have said, Lisa, stop being stupid and give me what I want. I roll my eyes.
“Fine, what do you want?”
“I want to join your club.”
My eyebrows jump up, “You like our club? You clearly said yesterday that you wanted nothing to do with it.”
“No questions, but I want in.”
I open my mouth to protest, but no words escape. There’s no way I’m getting out of this one.
I sigh, redirecting to the path beside me. I stroll along, only stopping at the creaking bench beside the path. I have no choice but to notice the fallen tree, with its bark splayed out across the area, reaching out to replace the memories that were temporarily lost.
“Fine, the meeting place is at the old tree in the park. If you’re late, you’re out.” Her lips spread into a toothy grin, revealing her slightly-yellow, crooked teeth. However, I reveal no smile. How was I going to tell my friends this? They don’t even think I talk to my sister!
I spring up, for I am unable to sit on the bench that is only a heartbeat away from my past. Suddenly, I am running, no, sprinting out of the park. It was as if my childhood was chasing me. I could not, would not let it drag me back into darkness. I finally reach my vehicle. My hand swings open the door and I plunge into my seat.
The roads are mainly empty, for most civilians are at school or work. I travel the roads and urge my mind to stay set on the road ahead. But the mirror catches a glimpse of the backseat, revealing the spot I would always claim. My mind starts to wander, with the mental efforts from earlier slipping away.
As we are driven home, no voices echo through the vehicle. I see Adeline smirking from the corner of my gaze. That little twit.
“Lisa,” my mom chimes, “Cora and Brinley will meet you at 6:00. Is that okay?” Excuses rattle my brain, but there’s no escape from the scene.
“Yup,” I squeak. Adeline grins mischievously. She knows that she won.
My mind somehow snaps back into place. I gasp at the sight of a tree growing nearer and nearer. I whip the steering wheel around, sending my car swerving to the side. The side of my car smashes into a tree, causing my airbag to explode in front of me. I grip the door handle. Sweat soaks my scalp and my lungs fight for air. I hurry out the door, my body miraculously almost unscathed. The cars begin to build up, everyone shocked at the sight of the incident. With my mind too unstable to absorb the scene, I jog away and into the woods.
“Come on, Adeline! If you’re gonna come, you can’t be late!” I am aware that it’s not her fault that she’s slower than me (she has shorter legs), but it’s vital to be on time, especially when you’re bringing an uninvited guest.
“Coming, coming,” she pants.
We finally arrive at the fallen tree in the park. Cora and Brinley are already there. They perk up when I catch their eye, but it dissolves as they notice Adeline panting beside me. Adeline squares her shoulders and stands a bit taller at their gaze.
“What’s she doing here?” Brinley snaps, glaring at Adeline. Adeline shrinks at the sharp tone in her voice and the nod in agreement from Cora. It would be nice to play along just to prove a point to Adeline, but something urges me not to.
“She wants to join,” I say as nonchalant as possible.
Cora smirks. “Fine, as long as she pays for ice cream.” I could tell they weren’t serious about letting her stay, but the swelling of joy in Adeline’s eyes was enough for me to keep my mouth shut.
I continue at a slow jog, for I’m in no rush to go anywhere. I never have anywhere to go. I hear sirens from the road. I tune them out, focusing on the soft hum of nature.
My feet pause before me; it was as if there was a barricade before them. The rest of my body is left plummeting to the ground, but that is not why I am left silent. A familiar jingle vibrates through me. It is the jingle of an ice cream truck.
We sit and talk for a while, Cora and Brinley constantly whispering to each other, most likely making fun of me for bringing my lame little sister. If Adeline notices it, she doesn’t acknowledge it.
“Hey, you. Little girl.” Cora says. “Since you’re the newbie here, you should buy us ice cream today. It’s, um, tradition.”
Adeline springs up as she hears the truck’s jingle echo closer. She scrambles to get her money out of her pocket and hurries to the street.
“What a moron,” mutters Brinley, making Cora laugh. I let out my best not-fake-sounding-fake-laugh and plead that they don’t hear my grim tone.
“Why did you invite her here? That midget better not come to the next meeting.”
“Oh, Brinley, shut up,” says Cora. My heart warms at the idea of Cora stepping up for Adeline. “Let her come to the next meeting. We can use her for ice cream, then get rid of her.” My heart turns stone cold. They both snicker again, and again, I timidly join.
I turn to see Adeline trying to flag down the ice cream man, though he shows no intention of stopping. He continues at full speed. In another attempt, she runs into the road, waving her chubby arms high into the air. The driver continues, clearly distracted. Adeline does not move, even as the truck comes nearer, and nearer…
I am now dashing through the woods. My muscles ache from the previous fall, but I ignore their pain. More horrors await me as I exit the wilderness. I dart past a screeching ambulance.
The ambulance has never taken so long. They seem to always appear in the blink of an eye, but as I sob alone (Cora and Brinley had fled soon after the incident) it takes ages. They finally arrive, quickly escorting us to the nearest hospital.
My feet pause again, for the shock of years ago has not yet thawed. I can still feel her slipping away.
Hours pass. I stay with Adeline as they work to revive her. I refuse to leave her side. Why had I not stopped her? Why had I not stopped her!?
My feet finally carry me away from the vehicle. It is too much. Tears roll down my cheeks, though I quickly swipe them away.
Adeline’s faint, shaking breath brushes over my shivering neck. I clutch her closer, the horrendous melody replaying in my head, drowning out the repetitive beeping of the machines. A drizzle drips down my cheek, the remains of the tsunami which had erupted moments ago. My hand strokes her chocolate hair, finally allowing her hands to drop.
Maybe I’m going crazy, but part of me laughs. It’s funny, it really is. We may see something, but we never truly look until it’s gone. I had always seen Adeline as my foolish sister but never looked hard enough to see her as my best friend. I sob again. And I hadn’t even had the courage to stand up for her.
Fourteen year-old Sara Holden of New Jersey attends Northern Highlands Regional High School. She can’t get enough of the satisfaction she gets finishing a piece that she’s proud of.