You’ll Never Be Anywhere If You Don’t Go Somewhere

January 23, 2011
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She sat still with her delicate hands folded in her lap; her slender arms twined around the ropes fastening the swing to the giant oak tree. Her legs were still, yet the swing swayed in the wind. The ropes were creaking in protest. This grand oak was where she could think. The rose bushes that surrounded it engulfed her in a twisting and tangling fence of thorns. In this quiet little rose garden, she was safe from the world with only the butterflies to remind her that other life existed beyond her tiny paradise.
Sadie Mai Harper was a pretty girl with a pale round face. Her eyes matched the aquamarine crystal hanging from a thin, silver chain around her neck. Her lips were plump, and her button nose was peppered with freckles, kissed by the sun. She had her mother’s honey colored curls and her father’s high cheekbones; together, it was a striking combination. There was no doubt she was beautiful. Her mother had been beautiful too, tall, slender and proud. Sadly, beauty means nothing. It cannot save you, protect you from harm, or help you when you most need it. Cancer doesn’t care if you’re beautiful or not. It takes you whether you’re ready or not; whether you want to go with it or not. True, after her mother was gone, her dad tried his best to fill her mom’s shoes. Men were not meant to wear high-heels; their job was to wear their spiffed and shining Oxfords. She knew it was hard for her father to play the role of both mother and father, but once he hired their multi-hat wearing nanny, cook, and maid, Demelza, it seemed to make things easier for him. Unfortunately, all of Demelza’s kindness barely made a dent in the gaping hole of loneliness and hurt aching in her heart.
Sadie hopped off the swing and wove her way out of the rose garden. She let her fingers run through the leaves of the rose bushes. Her touch was just delicate enough so that when her fingers happened to hit a thorn it caused no damage. Her father had planted the roses on three of their one hundred acres of land when he first married her mother. They bloomed that spring and didn’t bloom again until the spring she died. Once out of the rose garden she meandered across the lawn to the ancient white plantation house. She plopped down at the base of one of the gigantic pillars that lined the outside of the patio. Her calico tabby, Patches, was wriggling and rolling around on the sun-baked stones. Sadie began to scratch Patches’ tummy and the tabby began to purr. In a commotion, Demelza burst out of the kitchen. Her chubby cheeks were pink with fluster; her beefy arms perched neatly on the hips of her portly figure. She was attempting to puff strands of flour sodden hair out of her face that had managed to become splattered all the way up her arms and across her cheeks and nose.
“You’re brother has managed to use up our entire supply of flour with his silly antics. I’ll have to go to the store tomorrow to buy more. Good heavens! He’s going to drive me completely insane. Insane I tell you! I’m off to the hen house to fetch some eggs,” and then added in a slightly friendlier tone, “Would you like some breakfast, Dear?”
A huge clang of falling pots and pans came from inside the house, and with a cry of dismay, she shouted again, “Oh Lord, what has that child done now? You were never this destructive when you were his age! You were a nice polite quiet six year old when I first met you.” Demelza scurried off around the side of the house still mumbling promises under her breath.
Sadie decided there was too much ruckus in the house. She made her way back to the rose garden where it was quiet. She sat back down on the swing and began to rock back and forth. It was five years to the day since her brother, her father, and she stood side by side holding hands as they watched the polished, black casket disappear beneath the ground. There were a lot of things that had changed in the past five years.
Once her mother was gone there was no more nature walks through the woods to watch the birds. There was a thick wood on the west side of their house. A dirt path wound through the trees and shrubs until it opened up into an unsuspected clearing. Off to the side was a wooden bench that had the words “Love is Eternal” carved into the back board in broad, curly letters. There, Sadie would watch the birds and critters scurry about. One summer they made homemade birdfeeders so there would be a greater chance of the birds migrating back each year for them to enjoy. Her mother would always shoo away the squirrels who tried to steal the bird’s food.
Just then, a crow, which was particularly irked by the rocking of the tree branch flew out squawking indignantly, causing Sadie to snap out of her reverie. The disturbance had also startled a bunny munching on the clover scattered about the base of the oak tree. Sadie got up and peered over into the bushes to see if she could spot the furry little creature. Suddenly, something hurtled out from the rose bushes, colliding with her knees and sending her sprawling in a heap on the grass. A boy, only about year older than her, jumped up from the grass holding his cheek. He had tousled brown hair that fell playfully in his face. Sadie faintly remembered seeing this same boy last week. He was playing in the creek to the side of a blue house a few miles down the road from her own. His twinkling eyes and lopsided smile gave him a mischievous look.
“Ouch! What ‘cha go and do that for? You’ve kicked me in the face with all of your flailing about! That really hurt!”
“Excuse me? I kicked you in the face? Well, maybe I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t decided to rudely tackle me! Not to mention, what are you doing in my rose bushes? My gardener isn’t going to be happy with you when he finds out what you have been doing to our roses.”
“He’s got ‘a catch me before he can do anything! Plus, I want doin’ no harm to ‘em, and I had to tackle you ‘cause you scared off my dinner.”
“Your dinner? You mean that baby rabbit? I’m going tell my gardener, he’ll take care of you.”
The boy grabbed Sadie’s arm as she turned away from him, “No, please don’t. I was only kidding about the dinner thing, just messin’ around. You know? I’m sorry. My name’s Trevor.” He stuck out a mud smudged hand.
She stared at him through squinted eyes and then replied through pursed lips “Fine. Sadie.” She refused to grab the grubby hand, “What were you doing in the roses?”
“I was on an adventure. Well, I don’t know if it can really be called an adventure. I was exploring. You’ll never find anything cool or interesting in life if you don’t look for it. If you never do anything you will never be anything and you will sit in the same spot forever. You’ll never be anywhere if you don’t go somewhere,” Trevor shrugged his shoulders causally as if in an attempt to justify his logic.
The irritated look Sadie was giving him was slowly being replaced by perplexing curiosity. She was utterly confused how the strange boy who had just jumped out of the bushes like a barbarian could talk in coherent sentences. Instead of trying to continue explaining what he was saying, he grabbed her wrist and, against her will, pulled her with him through a different path in the rose garden. This path didn’t go back to her house, but instead, pointed them in an entirely different direction. He ignored her protests of outrage and continued pulling her along the patch which soon turned into trees and brush. He was much stronger then her and therefore able to drag her through the woods. They immerged into a small clearing with hundreds of wildflowers waving to them in the wind as if in greeting. Sadie could smell the huge patches of lavender that lined the edge of the clearing.
“You see now? You see what ‘cha missin’ if you never go anywhere. You find nothing. Things don’t just up and come to find you either. You got to be open to the world Sadie, open to the world and all the beautiful things it has to offer,” Trevor dropped his grip on her wrist and began making his way across the clearing, stepping carefully so as not to tread on the flowers.
Sadie didn’t quite know what to say so she kept her mouth shut and followed his footsteps. Once they reached the other side of the clearing, Trevor sat down on a wooden bench that had the words “Love is Eternal” carved into the back board in broad and curly letters. As soon as she saw the bench she began to tear up, the meadow where she had once sat with her mother and watched the birds had changed a lot over the years. The clearing had once only been covered in grass but now the wild flowers and over grown foliage disguised it. She could still make out the birdfeeders, swaying empty from the trees. The little colored handprints that decorated the outside almost waving back at her. Even though they had not been filled in years there were still birds that flew around in the trees chirping their melodies.
“Come here Sadie, sit next to me,” then with realization he asked in a slightly more worried tone, “What’s wrong? Don’t ‘cha like it?”
Sadie explained about what had happened to her mother and how they used to come here and watch the birds.
“Sadie, beautiful things in life were created for a reason. People are suppose’t’ enjoy them. Your ma would want you to, I know she would. She also wouldn’t want you to enjoy ‘em alone. I’ll make you a deal; I’ll be your friend. You’ve got to be mine though,” he stuck out his hand for a second time. This time, Sadie took it.
“Okay, if you say so,” she said, “but what will we do?”
“We will do just this, plain and simple. We’ll come here and watch the birds, and enjoy life. You know, experience things. I mean, if you are okay with that?” he asked hesitantly.
“Sure, it’s a plan,” she said, giving him a shy smile.
Then Trevor raised both of his hands to his lips and made a piercing bird call. He changed the tone of it and wiggled his lips so it sounded more real, playing with the pitch of the call. Then the duo made their way back to the bench. The birds flew closer to them when Trevor made the call. He tried teaching Sadie how to put her hands to her lips and press her tongue to her make the sound, but she only managed to spit all over her hands. Disgusted, she gave up and left the calling to Trevor. They sat there and watched the birds fly around the trees and the butterflies dart through the tall flowers; they simply enjoyed the beauty of nature around them.

Join the Discussion

This article has 23 comments. Post your own now!

Lauren &Jobe said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 11:56 am


This is so great! Very nice job! Im proud of you! Yay

Aunt Sue said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 11:38 am


Loved your story!  I can't wait to read more....the descriptions were fantastic.

Colleen Donahue. said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 11:34 am
Aud, Im so impressed with your writing. Really good job, Im so happy of your accomplishment. Keep it up :) !
Raychel S said...
Feb. 10, 2011 at 6:02 am
WOW! That's awesome that you've been published in Teen Ink! Your story is amazing- the details, wording, everything is very impressive. I just smile to think of last year when you "weren't sure how good of a writer" you were. :-)  Great job!!!!!!!!
Kemps said...
Jan. 31, 2011 at 7:44 am
AUDREY!!! This is brilliant and beautiful. I'm so impressed! You're practically famous :)
Dr. Parks said...
Jan. 30, 2011 at 3:05 pm


     This is a wonderful piece.  Whenever you write a narrative, you write with the intent to leave the reader asking for more.  You did this and did it well.  I wondered if they grew up and were still friends.  Did they become lovers?  Did they get married and have a family?  Then I realized I had just read something GREAT! This is something I would tell my students to put in a portfolio and/or enter into a writing contest for ... (more »)

Anonymous said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 5:48 am
Besides a few spelling and grammar mistakes (immerged: emerged; commas, etc.), it was amazing. You used a very rich vocabulary consistently, and your storyline was great.
Fancy Dancer replied...
Feb. 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm
I agree with Anonymous...let me add there are a couple of unnecessary "or nots", but still a fine, fine, descriptive piece.  I was drawn to it...great use of adjectives...Young Audrey used a strong "word palette" to paint a beautiful literary picture.  Congratulations to a member of the class of 2012!!
Alum said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 9:48 pm
Beautiful and endearing.
Linda M. said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm
Audrey you have enormous talent.  Continue to cultivate it.  I look forward to reading your future novels
Robert said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Well done Audrey!  Very insightful.  Keep up the good work.


Heike said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 9:39 am
Congratulations, Audrey! That is quite an accomplishment!
Mrs. Makiewicz said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 9:31 am
Fantastic!!  It left me wanting more. 
Bretsch said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm
Absolutely B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L!!!!
Audrey L. replied...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm
Thanks!! :)
Ryan V said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm
Audrey this is awesome! Congratulations
Audrey L. replied...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:46 pm
Thank you so much Ryan!!
Moultar said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 4:38 pm
You are amazing. I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one who gets to read your beautiful work.
Audrey L. replied...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:02 pm
Moultar, Thank you so much for all of your positive encouragement!!
Marissa P. said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 1:36 pm

this is GREAT, drey. im proud of you... you need to publish more work... 


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