Silver Heart | Teen Ink

Silver Heart

September 5, 2019
By katethorne BRONZE, Oak Park, California
katethorne BRONZE, Oak Park, California
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I wake up to the sound of my dad screaming. “What do you mean there is nothing else you can do?” I open my eyes and am blinded by the color of the room. The walls look as white as snow and it smells like… a hospital? I see my dad pointing his finger at a doctor’s chest. His eyes are like fire, burning with passion. The doctor says, “I’m sorry sir. Abby died on the operation table.” Wait. Abby? My mom’s name is Abby. My lips are as dry as a desert, crackling in the summer heat. My head pounds like the beat of a drum as my palms feel the prickly sheets beneath me. I can hear my heart rate monitor beeping, getting louder with each breath I take. I touch a painful throbbing on the side of my head. “Don’t touch that.” My dad’s voice was harsh and his eyes were as dark as coal. He takes a chair and sits beside my hospital bed. His lifeless eyes stare straight through mine as he asks, “Do you remember anything?” 

It was a cold night in Chicago. I look through our car window as snow trickles down from the sky, covering the streets like a soft white blanket. I slightly sway forward as a bright red light shines ahead. My feet dangle off the seat as I watch my mom reach into her purse. She hands me a little box and says, “Happy Birthday Sarah. I can’t believe you are already 12 years old!” The box is as blue as the sea and it feels like silk sheets. I open it up and smile. A silver heart lays between two velvet cushions. It shines like a diamond in the light. I slowly take it out, revealing a chain intertwined through a hole in the heart. I look up at my mom and see her warm hazel eyes, rosy cheeks, pink lips, and curly brown hair. She says, “This has been passed down in my family for generations. Your grandmother gave it to me so now it is my turn to continue the process.” I scrunch my eyebrows and ask, “What’s so important about the necklace?” One of her hands grips the steering wheel while the other caresses my cheek. She says, “Wearing the necklace means that a part of me will always be with you, even when I’m not.” I see a hint of green light as she presses her foot on the gas pedal. I clasp the chain around my neck and feel the cold metal against my chest. A shining white light makes my eyes squint and I hear the side of the car crunch. Suddenly, I feel myself jerk sideways as my mom’s head hits the window. The world is spinning, scraping against the surface of the earth. Fragile glass breaks into shards, scraping my face and body. I feel my head lunge forward, slamming against the dashboard. The last thing I remember is seeing a limp body next to mine. Then, the world goes black.

“Ring! Ring! Ri-“ I slam my hand against the alarm, haul myself out of bed, and start to get ready for school. I pull on a wrinkly black T-shirt, step into ripped blue jeans, and slide on some navy blue vans. My bedroom mirror shows the reflection of a lost soul. My brown curls spring just above my shoulders and my skin is like the color of cardboard. My limbs are like branches, stiff yet strong. My dark brown eyes resemble the night sky and my lips are as plump and red as a cherry. I touch the side of my head and trace the jagged scar with my fingertips. It runs through my hair like a river heading downstream. I clutch the chilled heart of my necklace and head out into the living room. Today is a new day. I open my door and see a man drinking a can of beer. It’s six in the morning. The stale liquid flows through his throat, trickling down the corner of his lips. His head rests on the cushions of our grey couch, his dirty feet are set on the coffee table, and his brown hair looks like it hasn’t been brushed in a month. He’s wearing a white T-shirt stained with day-old coffee, rough stubble covers his jawline, and his sweatpants look like they are two sizes too big. The kitchen is filled with unwashed dishes, empty fast food containers, and crumbs all over the counter. Today is my first day back in prison- I mean school. I am a Sophomore at Niles West High. This is where I spend my time falling asleep in class or reading a good book. I grab my bag of bricks off the floor, sluggishly walk towards the door, and turn the rusty knob. I turn my head to see the stranger sitting on the couch before heading out the door. “Bye Dad.” 

 I drag my feet to the school entrance. The walls are white and red with a tacky wolf logo on the side. Dry paint chips off the building like bark on a tree. A wide metal door lays under a ruby red arch. The halls are narrow and crowded with students shoving into me like a herd of cattle. I sigh in relief as I reach the library. I open the glass door and quietly sit myself down in between smooth wooden bookcases. I pull out The Catcher In The Rye and flip to the first crisp page. Suddenly, I feel a tap on my shoulder. I look up and see a girl with platinum blonde hair, piercing blue eyes, and rosy lips. Her hair is like a glowing beam of sunlight, reaching past her shoulders. Her eyes resemble the deep sea, dark and mysterious. Shine reflects off her smooth plump lips. A bright pink dress clings to her body like a claw machine claiming its prize. She parts her lips and says, “Hi! I’m Skylar.” 

“I-I’m Sarah.” Warmth flows through my cheeks and I slam my book shut. Skylar plops down next to me and says, “I’m new here and was wondering.. do you want to be friends?” I’ve never had a friend before. My throat feels like I swallowed a handful of sand. What do I say? Skylar’s sparkling eyes shimmer through mine as she waits for a response. I can feel the sharp edges of the books digging into my back. The wood feels cool against my burning skin. “Um, sure.” Skylar smiles and quickly holds my hand. She grabs a dark blue pen out of her purse and presses the tip onto my bare skin. My arm stiffens and Skylar says, “Don’t worry. I’m just writing my address down so you can meet me after school.” 

 My shoes thump against the pavement as I make my way towards Skylar’s house. But “house” is not the right term. It looks more like a mansion. Delicate pink roses are planted in front of a huge white door. A beige roof covers an ancient brick building with a smooth trail of stones leading up to the entrance. I quickly run to the door, make a firm fist, and knock. After about 15 seconds, I am greeted by a woman with thick blonde hair, fat red lips, and big blue eyes. Her figure is hugged by a silk black dress, flowing just above her knee caps. She’s wearing red velvet heels that accent her toned, bare legs. Her soft hands make a gesture for me to come inside. Wow. The glossy marble floors remind me of a slippery ice skating rink. A sparkling chandelier dangles above my head. A sizzling fireplace sits across from a soft brown couch. A sharp staircase winds up towards a floor of the unknown. The woman clears her throat and says, “Skylar will be down in just a minute. I’m Jackie, her mother. Feel free to make yourself at home.” I smile and say, It’s nice to meet you. Thank you.” Jackie nods and walks upstairs like a model strutting down a runway. I walk towards the fireplace and run my hand against the smooth countertop. Glass picture frames line up along the wooden surface, displaying a life filled with joy. But something catches my eye. The picture at the end is a man. He’s wearing a light blue uniform with a golden sheriff badge pinned on the front. His dirty blonde hair is shaved down, his eyes are light hazel, and his smile looks warmhearted.  How come I haven’t met him yet? Skylar’s voice makes me jump when I hear her say, “My dad is dead.” 

Skylar’s eyes start to tear up as she says, “He got shot while chasing a criminal down an alley. His death is the reason why we moved to the north side of Chicago. My mom wanted a safer place for us to live in.” I wrap my arms around Skylar and feel her wet tears soak into my shirt. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” She looks up at me with puffy red eyes and asks, “Do you have a dad?” My face stiffens and my lips form a thin line as I think back to when I lost him. After mom died, he was a wreck. He never showed up for work, he stopped taking care of himself, and was crying day and night. Every time I would look at him, I would see a  cloud of despair floating above his head. We started to separate as time passed by. Having a conversation felt like trying to pull a knife out of my throat. The more we spoke about Mom, the harder it was. Instead of working it out, I isolated myself in my room while he sat on the couch drinking himself to sleep. Now, we never talk and I barely recognize him as my dad anymore. I snap out of my thoughts and tell Skylar, “I have a dad but we aren’t very close.” She wipes the snot off her nose and says, “Even though you guys aren’t close, he is still your dad. You should appreciate what you have before it’s gone.” Her expression is serious as her eyes stare deeply into mine. Suddenly, I feel a sting of guilt. I am so rude. Skylar’s dad is dead and here I am complaining about mine that is still alive. I tell Skylar, “I should go home. My dad is probably worried about me.” She smiles in understanding and hugs me like a child crushing the life out of a new teddy bear. She walks me outside as I start heading back home. Time to get my dad back.

My heart pounds as I turn the squeaky knob on our door. I slowly walk in and see Dad sitting on the couch. His hands are buried into his greasy hair and his head hangs over the coffee table. I sit down next to him and say, “I’m sorry.” He looks up and asks, “Why are you apologizing?” My eyesight starts to blur as tears trickle down my cheeks like water dripping out of a broken faucet. “I’m sorry for not being here for you when you needed me. We should have been grieving together instead of falling apart.” He firmly grasps my shoulders, looks into my eyes, and says, “Sarah. Losing you was my fault. I know that I haven’t been a good father figure these past couple of years but I will make it up to you. I’ll get a job, cook home-made dinners, and clean myself up.” He takes the silver heart from my chest and holds it in the palm of his hand. A single tear drips down his face when he says, “Your mother always said that she was your silver heart. Now, it’s my turn.” 


The author's comments:

My piece is sad but heartwarming towards the end. 


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