Pennies and Glass This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

September 24, 2010
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A filthy, antiquated penny lies on the sidewalk amongst cigarette butts and discarded receipts and shards of glass from broken beer bottles. A young girl who has lost faith in loyalty, in friendship, and in love wanders down the cluttered sidewalk with hands in her sweatshirt pockets and hopelessness in her heart. The girl winces at the sight of the broken glass – That’s me, she thinks. But when she sees the penny she slows, looks around, and bends down feeling as if she is moving in slow motion. Without a second thought she grabs the tiny copper coin, holds it tightly in her clenched fist, and wipes away the grime with her fingers.
Quietly picking at a packaged Caesar salad in the corner table of the cafeteria, she is aware of the coin pressing against her thigh through the pocket of her too-tight jeans.
Averting the eyes of the boy who broke her heart, avoiding the sight of his broad figure and sculpted jaw and striking hazel-green eyes, ignoring the sound of his throaty laugh beyond the other voices washing through her senses, she gentle touches the circular lump in her pocket, absorbing the power and energy it provides to her.
Holding the knife against her scarred wrist, hesitating, she remembers the penny that’s been hidden in the bottom drawer of her dresser beneath piles of tank tops and yoga pants and summer memorabilia. She pauses, drops the knife onto the furry teal carpet that protects her bedroom floor, and abandons all thoughts of blood and loathing and self-harm. She sorts frantically through the drawer, tossing aside seashells and letters and bottles of glittery nail polish in search of the luck and positive energy she so desperately needs. Finally she discovers it, nestled comfortably between a lacy red top and a thick wool sweater. She holds the penny between two fingers, and then presses it to her lips. And at last, she realizes what she must do.
Her whole body is trembling from fear, but she dials the number nonetheless. The cordless receiver is cold against her ear. A ring echoes two, three, four times. But then she hears a voice.
“Hello? Sarah here.”
Silence follows. The girl’s fragile heart is pounding; the voice she heard through the phone brings back hundreds of childhood memories she was never even conscious of possessing before now. She swallows. Her own voice emerges from her throat sounding hoarse, thick with emotion. She wipes sweat from her brow with her sleeve.
“Mom – Sarah – it’s me. It’s your daughter. It’s Alex.” Trembling even more now, she wipes cold sweat from her free hand and tries to imagine what scene is taking place on the other end of the line. Despite her insecurities and her panic, she continues. “I know it’s probably not a convenient time for me to call, but I really wanted to hear from you. I’m sorry if this isn’t what you wanted. I’d just like to know something… Why? Why did you abandon me, why did you leave me behind? And did you… Did you ever love me?”
I’ve made a mistake, she thinks to herself. She’s sure of it. So sure of it, in fact, that she nearly anticipates the crash that follows in the background on the other line. Something has shattered. Something has been broken. All that keeps Alex from hanging up the phone is curiosity – mainly, curiosity about just how much Sarah despises her.
“Alex.” Sarah’s voice is thick now, too – from sorrow, or confusion, or raw, petrifying fury?
“I’ve dreamed of the day you’d call me. I’ve dreamed of answering all your questions… I’ve planned out this conversation in my head so many times… but I never imagined I’d actually be blessed with the sound of your voice. God, I’m so…” Clutching the phone to her ear, Alex cannot believe what she’s hearing. Her mother’s voice has been quivering, and she has now collapsed into sobs. Sarah’s dreamed of the day I’d call her. She wants to answer my questions… she feels blessed at hearing my voice. Alex feels trapped in her own dream, a dream in which she is spinning wildly in circles. She touches the penny to her cheek and holds it there. She waits. Silence continues to resonate. Her heart is pounding. Finally, Sarah finishes what she’s meant to say:
“I’m so sorry.”
Three words. Just three simple words. And with those words, it feels as if some shards of glass have been melded back together again.

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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

AnneElliot said...
Oct. 15, 2010 at 11:08 pm
Wow, that was great! I love the imagery and allegories, and I love your description of the girl's anxiety and relief. Great job!
CallMeFelix said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm

Dang, star, brilliant job with this one. As AsIAm said, just work on your formatting and this will be...uh...yeah, brilliant xD

The Random: Check out mine? xD


starxoxo23 replied...
Oct. 5, 2010 at 4:04 pm
thanks!!! and absolutely i will (:
AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 10:10 pm

The Good: Oh my gosh, wow, *insert any number of exclamations of wonder*.  This was so good!!!!!  I loved how you captured the broken feeling.  Really amazing job. 

The Bad: Work on your formatting. :)

The Random: Check out mine?


starxoxo23 replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm
lol thanks (: i will def check out some of your work!
apocalyptigirl said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY Heartz. <3 <3 I like happy endings. :)
starxoxo23 replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm
thank youu =)
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