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Safe on Solid Ground This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   The thumps of the running footsteps graduallyintensified, passing the trees with swooshes and occasionally fallling silentduring jumps over bushes. I breathed enough for 20 seconds, then fled to an areathat had succumbed to a dense fog of pine trees, hoping he would not discover mywhereabouts. I started gasping for air, preparing to bolt if he saw me. But he'stoo fast for me.

His hands gripped my shoulders, forced my entire bodyonto the dirt floor and locked my legs with his, disregarding the fact that I waswearing a dress.

Without giving me a chance to scream, he exclaimed,"Say Mercy! Carl, say 'Mercy'!"

I whined.

"Be a man!No whining! No crying! Say 'Mercy'!"

"Never! Get off me,Ryan!" I demanded, postponing my surrender another 30 seconds.

Hepositioned his knees on the ground, laid his arm across my shoulder blades, andnudged his elbow into my back, making me immediately screech, "Mercy!Mercy!"

He released me and stood up. I took his hand to lift me up.Ryan had ripped my new pink dress and patches of dirt were stuck to it. Hestarted laughing.

"Carl, you look like a wimp in a dress!" Hecalls me Carl because Carla is too girlish.

I pouted and headed home. Hesprinted to his house, returning with a Superman bath towel, hoping to dip intomy swimming pool. He had never been to my house before. He had never met my mombefore. I refused. He pleaded, clasping his hands tight and begging. He had heardI had the prettiest and nicest mom.

I turned the corner of my house,taking the back route to the pool, hoping to avoid a confrontation with her. Shewas sitting on the luxuriously padded reclining beach chair, sunbathing in ablazing-red string bikini and wearing tortoise shell sunglasses to protect herrare hazel eyes.

Her eyes shot at me through her thick blacklenses.

"Carla! Explain the filth on your dress and the scrapes onyour knees!" she screamed.

Noticing me in trouble, Ryan sprinted infront of me, acknowledged my mom with a smile, said he was sorry for ruining mydress, turned completely around and pushed me inside the house, despite mymother's maddening cries.

"Do what I do, Carl," he instructedwith gestures as if his mother was standing beside him and scolding him. Hedeclared triumphantly that this whining technique worked with all moms. Hestarted running in circles, softly screaming (afraid my mom would hear),"But it's not my fault! It's not my fault! It was Carl's!" I hadwondered why his mom never liked me much.

Footsteps were heard and theyslowly grew louder, transforming into such poundings that I was afraid they mightbreak the floor we were standing on. Mother appeared. She lifted me up by mycollar, almost strangling me. She flung me outside, onto the back porch where thepuddles soaked my dress. Ryan hid inside behind the wall, poking his head outsideto watch the brawl by the pool.

I scrambled to get up, and she pushedme back down. Her mouth screamed words I didn't know the meanings of, but I knewthey meant I'd done something bad. She didn't like me; she hatedme.

"Do you know I have to be here because of you?" sheshrilled, almost exploding my eardrums.

I nodded. She had told me manytimes.

"And you dare defy me? You dare ignore me? Do you know I'mmarried to that man because of you? It's all because of you! No one else butyou," she screamed again.

Her palms slapped my face with the strengthappropriate for her toned body that showed no sign of fat. Her golden hair swungback and forth with every slap, and when her hands grew tired, it swung withevery kick. For the finale, she lifted me up by my dress again and threw me intothe swimming pool where the water erased the traces of mytears.

She charged inside and up the stairs, probably to watch anotherchain of soap operas.

Seeing an opportunity to save me from beginner-styleswimming, Ryan rushed outside and leaped into the pool. He gripped my waist andswam for me while I concentrated on breathing. I gasped for air, choking from thesudden gush of chlorinated water that had plunged into my throat.

Finally,my feet touched solid ground, and I started walking up from the waters withRyan's arms still wrapped around my waist. Refusing the comfortable chair forfear of getting it dirty, Ryan laid me on the grass. He grabbed his Supermantowel and covered me, hoping it would magically absorb the water from my soakeddress. He forgot that Superman could only fly and lift heavy things.

Ifelt the pained redness of my cheeks and hid them with my hands. I heard himfaintly say my name. I sat up, partly enveloped in his towel, and looked at him.He looked as if he wanted to cry.

Wrinkling his forehead, he whispered,"Carla" as if he had never known I was a girl.

"You cancry," he said. And I did.




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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Amazing! :) said...
Feb. 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Woah this was so good! I felt Carla's pain along with her and Ryan was so sweet. Great job! Keep up the amazing work!
 
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