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

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   I close my eyes and sniff. An old, thick book always has that ancient, mysterious odor about it, secretly strengthening between the creases of the pages, fermenting into a powerful aroma. It's familiar, yet exciting. I thumb through the worn, yellow-rimmed pages of the introduction to chapter one. Carefully I smooth the crease, take a deep breath, and begin to read.

All my energy is focused on the first word. Complete concentration. Cautiously I advance to the second word, the third, delicately probing through each, searching for a rhythm. Shhhh. I can feel a faint pulse. I gently grasp for the beat, folding it in my arms, memorizing its song in my mind. I let it guide me, submitting to the quickening throb of its demanding force, its potent enchantment. The words slip past easier now; my eyes smoothly grazing each letter, gaining in momentum. The words start bleeding together and the lines start fading away as I seem to be melting into the page. The pulse has become overpowering, vibrating through my head as I am thrust forward. Deeper, deeper. Faster, faster. I strain to get inside the words, to get lost in the letters, and suddenly I break through that invisible barrier into another world.

The metamorphosis is complete as I willingly shoulder my new persona. I feel the rush of hot air out of a new mouth. I glance at my rippled reflection in a puddle to smooth out my glossy black locks. Deep-set gray-green eyes sparkle with excitement and annoyance at their own curiosity. I run a long finger across the lines of a palm so foreign and yet so familiar to me. But quickly I tire of my questioning and comfortably accept the present situation as my own, continuing on towards whatever the next paragraph may hold. Reality fades as my destiny becomes etched between those faded covers. Completely absorbed, I am free to roam over the pages and hike though the chapters. And so I embark on a journey, defying time in an effort to live and die and reveal my whole reason of being in a matter of hours.

Until I am called back, violently ripped out of my imagination and forced back into my being. Dazed, I try to remember who I am and where I am and finally realization strikes. Or rather bites. I recall now with a heavy heart all the burdens one of seventeen must face each day, all the sleep lost on countless obligations and responsibilities. I think of all those piles of projects and posted deadlines which sulk on my floor and wall in neglected stubbornness; those menacing midterms which crouch low behind the boxes of my calendar; those cold, dark winter morning hours I am forced to wake up into, with the icy fingers of frost on my nose, in order to attend meetings illuminated by the first streaks of dawn. Looking around once again, I am stung in noticing that here the world has misplaced some of its most vivid hues. Here the sun's liveliest glint is lost in the monotonous days which stretch before me. And so I wait. Wait for the day, for the hour, for the moment of my return. Back to the boundless limits of my imagination.

Somewhere a bell rings and I jump up instinctively, ready to obey. 1


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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