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The Forest

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I remember we used sit under the tall oak tree in the woods behind my house. Her long pigtails bounced as she chatted excitedly about who stole her crayons and why one of us always ended up getting a time out. Our mothers would sit on the back porch and make sure we wouldn’t run too far away. I would take her small graham-cracker -smelling hand in mine, and we would run through the forest defending the world from the evil tree demons that inhabited our earth. We would throw rocks at the trees pretending they were bombs, other times we would pick up fallen branches and have swordfights against the demons. After we would run away before the king demon got a chance to attack us. On one of those various battles we strayed too far into the forest. We didn’t notice how far away from home we were, until nightfall. We couldn’t see anything and the evil tree demons were everywhere.
We clung to each other for dear life, we called out for our mom’s but the only response we got was from the many creatures in the woods. The owls hooted and a few rodents scampered past us. I held her hand and we walked towards the direction we thought was home. After what seemed like many hours of walking it began to rain and we gave up and sat down on a fallen tree; back then it was a demon we had stabbed to death earlier. We were tired and wet and hungry and cold. We didn’t know what else to do but sit there and cry for our mothers. She fell asleep quickly, her small head on my shoulder. I had begun to nod off when I heard someone calling her name. I lifted my head to see flashlights and her dad looking around. I nudged her awake and we began running towards him. We ran into him and hugged him and began crying. When we returned to my house she had to leave but we wouldn’t let go of each other. I was afraid that if I let go the tree demons would get her. From then on we were never far from each other. She was my best friend and I was hers.
When we got a bit older the woods became our special place. We would meet there after school and talk. It was where secrets were told and tears were shed. No one would know of that place and no one would know of the secrets we shared. When we were about twelve she told me about her crush on Johnny Sparks, an eighth grader at our school who paid no attention to her whatsoever. There she told me Johnny asked her out, and that was where my heart broke. A few weeks later she called me telling me to meet her in our spot; she was excited and said that she couldn’t tell me over the phone because it was a surprise. I picked at the grass next to me while I waited for her to get there. I heard her footsteps and looked up, I was expecting the girl with long hair and baggy jeans but she wasn’t there. In her place was a blonde girl with a bob and a miniskirt. The only thing that made her the best friend I loved was her name. She’d cut her hair because Johnny told her she would look better with short hair, and worn the skirt because he said it would look good on her. Well from another mans point of view it looked trashy on her. It disgusted me that she would listen to him. I told her I missed her pigtails and she pushed me playfully. She then looked at me seriously and told me she’d had her first kiss with him and that it had been amazing. I put a fake smile on and told her it was great. She hugged me and told me she had to go because she was going out with him that night. She no longer smelled of graham crackers but some weird bubblegum scented perfume that Johnny loved. I preferred the smell of graham crackers. I made sure she had left before slumping down and crying. It was there, that two weeks later, she told me Johnny had broken up with her. I was there to rub her back and tell her she was too good for him. I held her hand, but it was no longer to help her defeat the tree demons, it was to help her through her heartbreak.
When we were sixteen the forest was no longer our special place; it was where she would sneak out with her boyfriend and steal a few kisses before bedtime. We would no longer meet there after school to share secrets or talk. I would only speak to her when she would call me to ask for the homework and I would ask how she was doing. She would laugh softly and respond that she was doing fine; before hanging up. I would go to the forest alone to think about my life and what happened to my best friend. I still loved her, and on occasion I wished that her boyfriend would break her heart just so there was a chance she would run to me; and I would get hold her hand again, like when we were little.
We are now eighteen and we barely talk. Graduation was a week ago. I walked up to her and gave her a hug, she still smelled like bubblegum. I congratulated her on getting into NYU. She smiled but said nothing. We all got together and signed yearbooks yesterday. I signed hers saying that I still loved her even though her pigtails were gone, she no longer smelled like graham crackers and she wore miniskirts. She signed mine saying HAGS (Have a great summer) love Abigail.
Today I sit down, in what was our special spot, and flip through past yearbooks. Everything’s packed and I leave for USC in a few days. We’ll soon be on opposite sides of the country and things will be exactly as they’ve been for the past few years. I’ll get a phone call from her once in a blue moon and nothing more. I smile when I see a picture of us sitting under the big oak tree in the woods behind my house. We looked about five and we were coloring while eating graham crackers. I looked through the middle school yearbook and saw us when we were thirteen and she had just cut her hair, we were sitting next to each other and we had goofy faces for the camera. Next to it was another one of us, but this time we were just smiling and holding each other close. I was too busy looking at the picture to notice anyone or anything else. While I was looking at the picture I heard something hit a nearby tree and looked up. There she was, holding a pile of rocks in her hands; she didn’t see me looking at her and kept throwing them at the trees, fighting off the tree demons by herself. Her hair, though short, was parted and forced into two small pigtails. Instead of a miniskirt she wore baggy jeans, and nestled in her arms was a box of graham crackers.



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This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

Fran333 said...
Aug. 30, 2012 at 10:50 pm:
Wow! I love this! You are so talented!!! Could you read some of my stories?
 
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splinteredsunlight said...
Feb. 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm:
This is such a cool story, dude. I was searching 'The Forest' because I have a story called that too, and I found your story. It's nothing like mine, but it's really good, and I'm glad to have read it.
 
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jumper4life This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 25, 2010 at 11:29 pm:
This was so sweet! I loved it!  Keep up the good writing!  Please read my stories, too.  I'd love the feedback!
 
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laughter222 said...
Apr. 25, 2010 at 5:21 pm:
Aw!  I really liked this!!
 
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