A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY KEYA SHAH
I drive my bruised fingers and short clipped nails deep into my palm, slowly drawing in big gulps of the musty summer air. I’m counting to ten, grinding my teeth together, and fighting the rising urge to scream. My eyes snap up to the passage in front of me, and I watch the inked black notes reform themselves into a colossal, looming mountain of horror. Fear squeezes at my chest and threatens to take control of my arms to tear the music into pieces. Release. My hands drop loosely to my side and I lean over and pick it up, setting the polished, worn wood under my chin for the millionth time. The passage lies, unassumingly innocent before my glazed eyes.
Just before I begin, voices start to bounce around in my brain. Arguing back and forth. Anxiety is dressed kindly, in a simple summer dress, however it doesn’t take long to realize you’ve been letting her follow you around for days and days, whispering unkind words into your ears. When you finally turn around to face her, her eyes are ugly black pits, sharp knives that stab you in the stomach and twist back and forth, causing you to crumple at the knees and succumb.
Confidence is harder to grasp. You think that you’re holding onto her, but she’s dressed in a slippery silver cloth. For some, she is simply a part of them, integrated into their person. But for others, oftentimes your hands will slide straight through her, only to find her dissipated into mist and replaced by two ugly black pits staring right back at you.
The two turn to face one another and Confidence speaks, loudly and firmly.
“How could you have let this happen? They’re just blots of ink on a page”
Anxiety replies lazily, filing her jet-black nails into razor sharp points.
“She should have realized that she’ll never get there, it’s better she quit now than later”
“You know, one day she’ll pick up her instrument, glance around her in search of your foolish mountain, and she’ll realize that the mountain is finally under her very own two feet.”
Anxiety simply glances away. I press my fingers firmly to my temple, commanding the voices to cease. Taking yet another deep breath, I smile to myself. Within moments, brilliantly pure sound floats into the air. It dances around the room like millions of sparkling fairies with colorful ribbons twirling in their wake. It wraps around the bookcases, under the bed, and bounces off the freshly painted walls. The musty breeze in the room slips out from underneath the door, replaced by the magnificent sound of music. Before I know it, I find myself among these fairies and their ribbons, with my own music as a warm blanket wrapped around me, filling me with an incomparable euphoria.
Keya Shah is fifteen years old and lives in Allen, Texas. Her work serves as an outlet for her feelings, and a way to get her inner tornado of thoughts and emotions out of her head and on to paper.