The Final Death This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Charlie's istyrofoam cup of coffee with light cream and two packages of sugar was almost cold when he hung up the pay phone and brought it up with him to his dorm room. He felt better already and more inclined to study. It was frightening to think of what just Samantha's voice could do to him; it gave him a tingling chill, only making him long for her more, and now he exited the main building and plunged into the 9: 45 darkness and glacial cold wearing nothing more than jeans, tennis sneakers, and a worn, old high school track team sweatshirt. But the chilled air felt refreshing against his cheeks, his eyes, his forehead, and it awakened him more fully, and he welcomed it. The dormitory was almost too warm as he entered it after the walk across the immense campus. More than once the tropical temperatures of his own room had rocked him to sleepiness but tonight he had his caffeine and a noiseless environment (at least until eleven thirty, when John would return from his weekly Tuesday night poker game on the second floor) and the "I love you" from Samantha's lips ringing repeatedly in his ears.

His desk was exactly as he had left it, a cluttered sea of papers, tests handed back, and notebooks overflowing with his scraggly handwriting, which only he could interpret. He inhaled deeply, ready to hit the books. He placed his coffee cup in the upper right-hand corner, wriggled himself to comfort in his cushioned seat, picked up his yellow mechanical pencil from his left, and came face-to-face with the lovely, silver-rimmed, six by nine photograph of Theresa.

What had compelled him to look up, to raise his focus at that moment? Those heavenly, sky-blue eyes seemed to be fixed directly upon his face, taunting and scolding at the same time, questioning his fidelity. There was no doubt, she was beautiful. But that was then. She and her beauty did not exist now. She only existed as long as Charlie watched her watching him and the provocative white smile gleamed form behind the frame's glass and the ripples of her thick, yellow-blond hair provoked memories of him caressing it. It was a shame. But Charlie knew it was better this way. He was ready to completely free his life of her, and it could be done with a snap of the fingers.

Quietly, Charlie unlatched the picture from the beige painted wall and slid the soft black backing from it. He was gentle with the photograph, as though it were really a living person, as though it were really Theresa resting between his thumb and forefinger. With a feeling of relief and a twinge of sympathy, he leaned over toward the tin wastebasket and released the photograph from his grasp, letting it flutter gracefully to the bottom, face down atop a thin film of gum wrappers, crumpled paperwork, and one burnt-out sixty-watt light bulb. Goodbye, was his thought. Goodbye a second time.

Charlie cautiously replaced the empty, blank frame to its spot hanging on the wall and planned instantly to refurnish it with another picture of Samantha. He could always use another. He could certainly use the incentive to study if he put it on the wall right before him, over his desk. Yes, that's what he would do.

Charlie bent over his covered desktop to resume his work. He began with a sip of cold coffee, and then picked up his pencil again. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Def_Leppard_fan120 said...
Dec. 27, 2011 at 3:52 am
Come check out my article it is called THE BATTLE and leave a comment on what you liked or disliked
 
cassandra E. said...
Apr. 13, 2009 at 9:16 pm
EXCELLENT!
 
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