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My name is Elizabeth Raven Allen, but I prefer being called Beth. Some people may call me the strange one, the abnormal one, the mute one, or in some cases the “major therapy-needed” one, but then again when did I ever care what people thought of me? Every Friday I take a long bus ride across town. I walk through this mostly lifeless neighborhood to find my refuge. It’s a really old park where no one ever goes to. It’s my very own Abandoned Park. It’s on this little hill across the street from a gloomy cemetery. I find it a bit ironic and droll that they build a children’s park across the street from a place they bury the dead.
I don’t talk to many people, I don’t even have friends. It’s not that I can't talk, because I can, but that I have nothing to say. I avoid any contact with other people as much as possible. I sit at the very back of the class room. Most people don’t know my name. Most people don’t even know I exist, and I like it that way. I don’t go to parties, pep rallies, dances, not even field trips. Though, if it’s to a museum of some sort then I will go, because I love them. I love learning knew things, so museums fascinate me.
My parents used to take me to museums all the time when I still lived in the city. Every week on Friday, it was our tradition. They would pick me up from school and go straight to the museum, and we always took the tour even though we knew the place from the front to the back. My parents and I would joke around and say that we should be the ones giving the tours because we knew it better then the tour guides. We would spend a couple hours at the museum then leave at five because the museum closed at that time on Fridays. Then we would go to this park that was a few blocks away from our house. It was a simple small park that most people went to for walks. We went there to swing. My dad would run back and forth from my mom to me, and gave us little pushes. We would have so much time having fun and laughing we wouldn’t notice the sun go down.
My parents are dead. They were killed in a car crash that could have been prevented. I don’t blame the drunk driver, I blame myself. You see, the routine was messed up this one Friday morning. My mom’s boss called that morning for her to come in because of a mandatory meeting for all employees, even thought she was usually off on Friday. My father had to go to a company conference in the city and would be back the next night. So they told me we couldn’t have our family Friday.
I was angry at them and demanded for them to stay. My parents tried to reason with me, but I wouldn’t listen. “Baby, we’ll just go next week,” my father said. But I started to cry, because I wanted to go so badly. Then my mother made a deal with me. If I would stop crying and get ready for school we would go after she picked my dad up from the airport. So I agreed.
The next day my dad’s flight came late. We missed going to the museum. I was upset but I was still looking forward for the park. Before my mom left she said she loved me and that she would be back with my father in an hour. She kissed me goodbye and told me she loved me. Then she was gone. I went into my room to change clothes and put on my sneakers. Then I sat down to watch some TV. Half an hour later my mom calls and says they were on their way. I pleaded for them to hurry before it got dark, because I wanted to see the sunset. They said they would be there soon and told me they loved me and hung up.
One hour. I'm impatient….
Two hours. I'm angry because it’s dark outside…..
Three hours. I'm worried so I call, but it goes straight to voicemail…
Four hours. Blue and white bright lights flash outside the living room window…
I opened the door for the police men. They look down at me with shock in their eyes that quickly changed to empathy. Guess now that I think about it, it was probably because how young I was. I didn’t understand what was going on, I was confused.
“Young lady is there anyone older in the house I could speak to?” one of them asked.
“No it’s just me, but my parents should be home any moment but if you could wait a…..” I didn’t finish the rest. The police men gave it all away with their eyes.
“I'm sorry to say,” an officer began. “But your parents were in an accident…”
Numbness crept to me. I didn’t hear what he said next. No. I think to myself. Mom and dad are okay. They must have just gotten a few scrapes and bruises and are being patched up at the clinic. They’ll be home soon. I’ll apologize and it will be all better again. They can't be… they’re alright!
“Miss you have to come with us,” the officer said, while reaching for my hand.
“Miss I’m sorry but we have to bring you to—“
“No. No. No! NO!” I started to scream. I backed away from them.
“Please, just give me your hand it’s going to be alright,” he said, walking a bit slower to me.
“No! My mom will be worried if she comes back and finds me gone. I have to stay!” I reached the door.
“I'm sorry but they were killed—“
“No! Shut up! Shut up! Just shut up! They’re probably waiting for me at the park,” I cried. “That must be it. I was probably mistaken. Maybe I was suppose to meet them at the park.” I opened the door and ran. I heard them behind me yelling for me to stop, but I just ran faster. Down the street, around the corner, past the Walgreens, past the school. I didn’t stop running. Even when my sides started to ache, when my lungs were tightening, and when my legs felt wobbly. I didn’t stop running until I got to the gate entrance of the park. I started out for the swings; they were a little bit away. I walked faster, then I started to jog, pretty soon I was running again.
I tripped on a rock and skinned my legs, and scratched up my face a little. I could feel blood running down my knee, but I didn’t care I got up and started again. I finally got to the swings and broke down in sobs.
“I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I didn’t mean to be angry. It’s my fault! All my fault! I'm sorry!” I don’t know how long I cried for but I eventually stopped and lay on the ground and curled into a small ball next to the swings. I silently cried myself to sleep.
I woke up the next day in a hospital. The cops must have found me and took me there. The nurses were friendly. The food looked edible but I didn’t eat anything. I only accepted water. Eventually my Aunt Lydia burst into the room sobbing and pulled me into her arms. She smelled like cheap perfume and cigarettes.
Everything happened so fast. I moved away from my city to my aunt’s town where I now live with her in a “modern” home. That was five years ago when I was 10. I'm 15 now. So here I am sitting on a rusty swing looking over this town that I'm suppose to call “home sweet home”. The only place I call home now is this park I found three months into moving in with my aunt. It’s my sanctuary. The place I can think of my parents. It’s my home. My Abandoned Park.