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Painting Another Scene This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Taylor ran down the driveway in the rain to the mailbox, loving the feel of her toesscraping against the wet pavement. She grabbed the stack of envelopes, droppingthree in her hurry.

"It's gotta be here. It has tobe!"

Taylor sighed from frustration as she bent to pick up theenvelopes. As she knelt, her nose picked up the faint smell of the rambling rosesthat wrapped around the mailbox post. She quickly stood, stacking the letters oneon top of the other. Her paint-splattered hands rested on the top left-handcorner of one of the white envelopes. She read it aloud.

"TheUniversity of California. Oh gosh. This can't be happening. It's really here. Thefate of my life lies in this envelope!"

"Aren't you being a bitof a drama queen?"

Taylor whirled around to face her oldest brother,standing at the door to the house. "Ugh ... Ken, you know how much thismeans to me!"

"How could I forget?" He rolled his blueeyes. "You've only been talking about going away every second of everyday," he added sarcastically.

"So what. This is a bigdeal." Kenny walked over to her, his curling brown hair blowing in the CapeCod breeze.

"Then open it already! You've waited for this letter formonths, and now you can't bear to read it?"

"What if I didn'tget accepted?"

"But what if you did?" He waved his arm asif to steal the letter from her grip.

"All right. All right. Heregoes nothing."

She tore open the envelope, careful not to rip thecontents. Kenny's face scrunched up. "Well, what does it say,Sis?"

She skimmed the letter intently, and then her freckled facebroke into a wide grin. She jumped up and down and ran to give him a bear hug. Hewas going to miss those hugs. "I got in, Ken! They're even giving me ascholarship!"

"What! That's amazing. I knew all those days ofdoodling in class would pay off!"

"Sure did. It made an artmajor out of me."

As Taylor stood in the driveway reading the rest ofthe letter, Kenny hurried to his '89 Honda. He couldn't be late for work again;his dad needed him to cover the afternoon rush. Why had he chosen to attendcommunity college and work the family business, he wondered, at a loss for ananswer. Could it be that he was too afraid to be on his own?

"I knewyou had nothing to worry about, Taylor," he shouted half-heartedly at hissister.

An hour later, Taylor sat on her bed, twisting the covers betweenher fingers. "Why wasn't he more excited?" she wondered aloud to herbear.

She held the letter in her right hand, watching as the letters of"California" blurred from her tears. Still clutching it, she laid herhead against her pillow and closed her eyes. She could smell salty seaair.

She imagined the look on her mother's face when she broke the news.An entire country would separate them. The thought of her crying mother, and herless-than-happy brother only made her tears fall harder. "But I still wantto go," she whispered.

Taylor wiped her tears, tired of theheadache forming. She had waited for that letter for so long. But, no matter howlong she had waited, she would never be ready to make such a drastic decisionwithout shedding a few tears.

She caught a glimpse of her paintings onthe wall. Her favorite, and most recent, was the one of her parents' ice creamparlor. She had painted it after it had been raining for three days straight.Around four in the afternoon that Thursday, the sun had broken through theclouds. Taylor took the opportunity to grab her watercolors and retreat to herfavorite bench, just outside the shop, half facing the ocean. She had sat thereas a child with both her brothers while they teased and threw ice cream cone bitsat each other. Now, with the air fresh after the rain, and a rainbow in thedistance, she relived that moment. "I'll never forget it. This place has myheart." She sighed, looking at her koala. "But I need to paint anotherscene."

Taylor scrambled down the hallway toward the stairs."Mom! Guess what ... I got into UCLA!




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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