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Catalyst This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I still remember the first day I saw him He was like the rest of them, painted with a look of nervous anticipation and thinly veiled fear. The expression was illuminated by the soft rays of early autumn sunlight, whose particles waltzed gracefully through the row of opaque windows high above. Battling with the iridescent glow of the half-activated electric illumination, the sunlight fell like rain to the tiled white linoleum floor, throwing up fuzzy displays of dusty sparks.

In that sea of sparks were his feet, shuffling behind a whirling cloud of Converses and Vans, Nikes and Adidas. His feet stepped hesitantly, stopping periodically to let the cloud release a few wisps.

For a moment, I could not see him. But that was because I wasn't looking for him yet. At the time, he was simply part of the cloud, a wisp of cumulus hiding behind a sheath of cumulonimbus.

The cloud of others eventually dissipated, their wisps gone. He was left, still making his slow stride toward where I lay, motionless, observant, silent.

With naively blank demeanor, he came closer, hands outstretched. Now I could truly see him, see his pale, pockmarked face, see the parched thirst in his eyes.

Pausing for a brief moment, he looked at me almost quizzically, as if he was contemplating his present course of action. And he probably was.

Why me? Perhaps that's what he was thinking about. I know that the answer to life, the universe, and everything, is 42. But what he thought, what went through his mind in that moment, I shall never know.

But that moment did not last long. Before I knew it, I was in his embrace. His hands caressed my spine, moving gently and gracefully, handling me like a piece of Ming Dynasty porcelain. They weren't warm. They weren't infused with surging waves of unrestrained passion. But inside those frigid hands lay a catalyst for a dormant desire and longing that was about to slowly initiate its reaction.

I didn't know whether or not to be surprised. I guess I shouldn't have been. I had so many questions that didn't matter. Why me, out of so many like me? Why you? Why? Looking back, it seems that I really didn't have a choice, and frankly, I didn't care.

That afternoon, he took me home, holding me all the way, his attention never ceasing. He laid me down ever so gently, measuring, calculating, anticipating ….

The first time was like no other. I still remember when he approached me, a book for him to delve into, to learn with, to respond to. Seeping through the closed shades, the creeping moonlight tried to peek to no avail. Faintly glowing from above, the light bulbs strained to shed light upon our proceedings, but they fell short.

After that, I felt something new; it seemed that he did too. Something now bridged us, a seemingly immutable covalent connection that would transcend all other forces.

And I would cherish it for the next nine months.

The days began to grow shorter; the nights began to creep upon us faster than before; the air seemed to sing with a new chill. But both of us persisted.

Every Sunday night for those nine months I knew that persistence was true; I knew, or rather, so ardently believed at the time, that he would always be there with me.

Every Sunday night, he would whisper silently to me.

Every Sunday night, he would absorb whatever I had to say to him, every last word, every image, every concept – and all of it would be at the front of his mind.

Every Sunday night, I would cradle his head when he lulled off; I would feel his scratchy hairs, his chapped cheeks, the tiredness that had plagued him for so long.

Then, one day, when the rain fell softly while the sun still peeked from behind the clouds, something changed.

The night before, it seemed that things were still fine – in fact they were beautiful. He was by my side for what seemed like centuries, looking longingly at me with concentration and dedication. There seemed to be a determination in him; a look of final, desperate desire as he spent those last few moments with me. Perhaps he came to a realization – he had obtained information – he had a final epiphany nine months from that day. Maybe he finally knew.

When he returned after his day out, I would be where I always was, anticipating his unfailing embrace.

But that day, he failed me. He did not approach me like he had done for days and days before. It seemed that he no longer acknowledged me, no longer needed me.

The moon made the tides go in and out; the Earth continued to rotate at 465.1 miles per second; the sunrises and sunsets kept on coming. But after that day, he did not.

Except for the last day.

I still remember the last day I saw him.

This time, though, he was not like before. He was painted with a look of pained relief, an unfulfilled fulfillment. The expression was illuminated by the soft rays of early summer sunlight, whose particles tangoed gracefully through the opaque windows high above. Battling with the iridescent glow of the half-activated electric illumination, the sunlight fell like rain to the tiled white linoleum floor, throwing up fuzzy displays of dusty sparks.

In that sea of sparks were his feet, shuffling behind a whirling cloud of Converses and Vans, Nikes and Adidas. His feet stepped hesitantly, stopping periodically to let the cloud release a few wisps.

I had been in his arms all this time.

And when he walked slowly, as he did nine months ago, I could see the place where he first embraced me.

And that was the place his last embrace ended.

His longing and desire for knowledge quenched, he gently laid me down, exactly as he had found me.

For one last time, he examined me, a book that he had read from cover to cover.

Biology. By Campbell and Reece.

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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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

Hippiechick10 said...
Feb. 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm:
AWESOME! UNIQUE! GREAT! I like how you used the sentence, ..." shuffling behind a whirling cloud of converses and vans, Nikes and Adidas. His feet stepped hesitantly..." at the beginning and end of the story!
 
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SpringRayynThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 1, 2010 at 5:44 pm:
That was really awesome! I seriously didn't guess what perspective it was, but I guess you didn't expect that. really creative
 
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BeatleMania16 said...
Dec. 1, 2010 at 5:10 pm:
i LOVE this!! VERY creative point of view and the title fits very well
 
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i_am_nobody said...
Jul. 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm:
that was amazing! i totally didnot expect that perspective.
 
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