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Where You Touch the Sky
The sun cowered behind the black mountains in the distance, and a symphony in silence played for my slowly beating heart. For once the night wasn’t freezing, and the mountains seemed so close, so tangible. I could just see the black outline of the rolling hills, and the valley of large pumpkins that rested a mile or two away from my grandpa’s property line.
Outside of my room I could hear the clank of old pots being stacked against
each other. I closed my eyes quickly to take in the last noises the old wooden house would hear. The humble slam of the pots and pans drawer, the audible yawn of my grandpa. I couldn’t hear the squeak from the old soles of his boots as he passed my door, but I heard his soft mumble. “Love ya, kiddo. Good night.”
“Goodnight grandpa,” I murmured, keeping the volume of my voice soft so he wouldn’t have to hear the sickness in the underlining tone.
My grandpa took me in 2 years after grandma died from a tumor in her brain. The year grandpa started calling me Lucy Goosey again was around the time that my parents died in a car accident. I wasn’t told a lot about what had happened. I didn’t need to be told. The night they’d passed away to go to heaven, the first snow of the year fell hesitantly from the sky.
My best friend Dylan and I were playing in the front yard of my house. His mother watched us from across the street on her porch. Snow. So beautiful, so pure. As a child I adored the clear taste on my tongue, and then how it would disappear into my mouth, like cotton candy or ice. The next day my grandpa picked me up from Dylan’s house. It never occurred to me to be upset that my parents never came home. I got to spend more time with my friend. Why wouldn’t I be happy?
Never again was I so foolish.
Across the hall grandpa closed his door quietly, as if not to wake the spirits of night that were slowly waking to invade the small space of my home. Tonight I
would join them for a while.
Carefully I pulled my heavy yellow quilt off of my legs. As I slid off the bed my nightgown fixed into place and waved around my knees. My winter jacket hung on
my dresser. On the old wooden floor in a crumpled heap were my jeans. I yanked them on, shivering at the cool denim over my skin.
Outside of my room I mingled with the night. They began to wake, one by one, with a twinkle in their black eyes. The night spirits led me to the glass door with the taped up, old screen door. The moon appeared in the sky like a far away flashlight pointing its brilliance right at me. I smiled up at the full, luminescent light in the sky, reminding it that I was a friend.
I didn’t try to run as I might have a long time ago. Still wary of my illness I walked with gusto and a mighty length in my step. The house behind me, roughly two stories with chipped orange paint and an old brown roof, slept on without me. The house with it’s warmth and charm let me go, and I thanked it.
I followed the stars that gleamed like tiny white beads scattered across the liquid black sky. My legs of iron and smoking fire sent me scorching the dead grass, and brightening the night like a huge campfire. Spirals of the midnight breeze made my short hair fly up and whip about like a flag. I was a sight to see, a single flame running along a wire to the fireworks.
Down a hill, so close, I saw a corpse on the ground, his back leaned up against a large pumpkin. I made my way carefully around each pumpkin, my sight set between the corpse and the pumpkins.
I saw the faint rise and fall of his shoulders. The corpse’s hand rose slowly, it’s long fingers outstretched towards the sky. The fingers were still like a statue and
as thin as bones. The forearm was small and lacked muscle, and the bones on his wrists were prominent against the largeness of his hands.
Where he lay he touched the sky. The boy himself wasn’t anything special. He didn’t have the power to bring down mountains or fly with the migrating birds
around wintertime. Yet the liquid black sky encircled him, deepening the air around his lone person, to make him shine out like a boy sized star against the night.
With the inability to predict the outcome of my illness, these visits with him were important. I wanted to spend another night sitting next to him while reclining
on an old pumpkin.
He turned around, dark eyes flashing like stars.
“I’m glad you came.” He didn’t try to smile. He
simply turned back to the sky, a lifeless corpse again. I sat beside him, taking in the strength of his star and the
pleasure of his presence.
I sat where he touched the sky, and, as a friend of his, I could feel the night surround me as well, and strengthen the force of my life a little more. I was a star
against the night, that reached out just to engulf me.