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In Mesa

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Another season goes by. Dark colours of blistering orange and bleeding red gather in groups on front lawns. It was fall in Mesa, Arizona. The exciting yet monotone sense of Halloween was drawing near. It wasn’t like a celebration of candy and scary masks would bring a shine of bright light to a suburb like this one. Being as half of the community was out of a job, maybe it was just what we needed.

I’ve been living here my whole life. My life sucks. I was just leaving home seven thirty just before my mom yelled out and said that I had forgotten my lunch. I came in and took the brown paper bag with a sandwich in it. I kissed my mom on the cheek and left. I really worry about my mom sometimes. She was working two jobs just to support our little family of me and her. But if my dad were still around he wouldn’t have done much, that’s the reason he killed himself.

Leaving home, I walked to school on the same route. The same route I’ve walked for the last ten years. I’ve walked the side walk of this road so many times I don’t even bother to look up anymore. It was Redundant. I got to school and walked up the gray steps to the door that made an awful squeak like a scream of a young woman being slaughtered in the distance when it opened. I got there to early. As I walked through the halls I didn’t look up, I never looked up. Eyes are the windows to everyone’s soul. I know, cliché. You could tell a lot by just staring into someone’s eyes. I went to my locker and turned the dial back and forth until it opened. I opened the pale grey locker to find that nothing was in it. As I realized that someone had taken my stuff I heard a group of sniggering idiots. They saw me and laughed even harder. They were the jocks. They threw one of notebooks at me and laughed walking to their classrooms. As they left the biggest meat head yelled and said to find my cr*p in dumpster out in the back. I had no intention in getting my stuff back. The bell rang and I gently closed the empty metal locker.

I was far from my next class and I knew by the time I got there it would be too late. So I took my time. I counted my steps. I chuckled to myself then stopped thinking I was crazy. Then I thought who isn’t out of their mind anymore. I saw the classroom door come closer and closer and before I knew it the fun I made out of loneliness was about to end. I came in just to find out we had a surprise quiz.

“Welcome Mark, get to your seat.” Mrs. McCoy said. I walked to my usual spot in the back and sat down.

“My god Mark, when was the last time you had a visit to the barber shop?” it was a while but I knew it couldn’t have been that long. She just had to call me out on something.

After the pain of Mrs. McCoy’s class came another. It was raining bricks on me. It was finally time for lunch. I picked up my lunch from my locker and went to my usual spot during lunch. It was a spot that no one would ever find. It was around the gym where no one could see you. No one ever went there, not even the old school janitors. When I’m there I’m alone. I go there to be alone. I sit in my spot and write what I see. I write what I feel. What I feel, I write, and I only write sonnets. I scribble and inscribe until the bell rings like no tomorrow. I keep them all in a notebook. I named the notebook Tristis Animus. It’s Latin. If someone were to read them it would cut me like a rusty, ridged knife.

I finished the day and walked home. Walking to my neighbourhood, Baker Street, I noticed something different. A truck was in front of a house for sale. There were two big men carrying furniture into the house. Someone was moving in, but would it really matter if another person were to share the same boredom as everyone else? I don’t know. I don’t care. I just walked into my house.

The next day I left, not forgetting my lunch. As I walked out the door, I again stared down at my ten dollar high tops. I walked on, like any other day, but I noticed something different. I was not alone. I heard foot steps from across the street. It seemed a new girl has moved into town. I saw her, she was different. She wasn’t some average teenage girl. She walked small steps. She was wearing a black shirt holding her books against her chest. She wore pink fishnet stockings and a mini skirt. Here hair was black with pink locks falling down her face. She walked staring at her feet like she just didn’t want to see what was in front of her. I had to stop staring, she would notice. I looked down and wondered what her face looked like. I imagined and stopped, thinking what was I doing? So what? She looks different, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t another jerk. But I just had to wonder.

I walked to class. Oh great math. Mr. Hoskins had a reputation of picking a person in his class to make fun of for the whole period. There is a different person every lesson. Most of the time he would pick you if you were late. It seems I would be the target today being that I had two minutes to get to class and I didn’t really bother to walk any faster. I opened the door.

“Oh Good Morning Mark, would you like to take that helmet off? Oh no wait that’s your hair.” As he finishes the class giggled like monkeys. I sat down, again at the back. That class was horrible. I sat there with my head down on my desk. But something was different, again. Two seats to the right from me was that same girl I saw earlier. I saw a glimpse of her face. I didn’t know what to think. She was just drawing in her black notebook. I couldn’t stair, but I just had to. Her face– I was speechless. The bell rang and she got up and left. So did everyone else in class.

It was finally lunch, yes. I picked up my lunch and left walking through the empty halls containing lockers that went for miles. I was on my way to my spot by the gym until I was stopped by Ryan. He was just another meat head. He was a linebacker for the football team.

“Stop right there twinkle toes!” I stopped as he came closer behind, and then in front of me. I looked down.

“Where do you think your going?” he asked. I knew he was after my lunch. He pushed me against the wall and punched me right in the gut. I fell on my knees.

“Don’t mind if I take your lunch” he said as he took my bag ransacking around. He grabbed my things throwing each one by one over his head. He took my lunch and left. I got on my knees and gathered all I could find. I saw something in the corner of my eye. I quickly turned my head and it was gone. I soon forgot about it. I continued on my way.

I got there finally. I sat down and opened my bag to get Tristis Animus. It was taking longer than usual. Where was it? I looked and looked. I then grabbed the bottom of my bag and flipped the whole thing over. All of my belongings were again on the ground. I dropped my bag and scattered my stuff looking for the notebook. It wasn’t there. Tears came down my eyes as I searched. I yelled in pain. I tried to wipe my tears but they just kept coming. I ran to wear Ryan stole my lunch. I got on the ground looking under the lockers. Tears fell from my face. Nothing was there. The bell rang. People began to fill the halls. I ran. I ran as far as I could go blasting through the school doors. I ran the route I walked for years. I didn’t know where to go. I just kept running.

That afternoon I ended up back at home. The school called my mom and explained that I was not found anywhere after lunch. She called home and I answered. I told her I wasn’t feeling well. She told me to get some rest. I spent the whole day in my room. Just in my bed. Tears fell for hours. All I thought was, where could it be? Who could have it? How could they have gotten it? I cried myself to sleep that night. I woke up seven in the morning. I went downstairs where I heard my mom in the kitchen. She heard me come down.

“Honey, are you ok enough to go to school?” she yelled. I didn’t answer. I just walked out the door. I walked that route. My eyes were bloodshot red, I smelt terrible, I didn’t change and I didn’t have a bag. I walked with my head down, Staring at my muddy shoes. I felt terrible. I just walked. I stopped. I heard footprints. I turned my head and there she was. She suddenly looks back down. She was looking at me. I felt- I didn’t know. It felt different just like her, but it felt good. The feeling was like a good friend you had when you were little, coming to ask if everything was ok? I liked it. Her bag was opened and a notebook dropped out. It looked familiar. It was Tristis Animus! I ran over.

“Hey!” I yelled. I grabbed the notebook that held my poems, poems that lead to inner dark forest that was my soul. I was standing right in front of her. She was covering half of her face with the books she carried in her arms. She was beautiful. I just stared into her eyes and she stared into mine. I knew she was hurt inside and she knew I was too.

“Sorry” she said with her soft voice.

“Why –“and before I can finish my sentence she speaks.

“They’re beautiful” I didn’t know what to say.

“Thank you” she smiled and put her books down to show her face. She was beautiful. We walked side by side. She said her name was Maddy and she was from Vegas. Her father and step-mom moved to Mesa for a new start. Her mother died of cancer. I said that my name was Mark and, that’s it. She said she liked me, I didn’t know what to say, and I just smiled. When we got to school we were an hour late. I told her that I had a better place to be. We walked through the echoing halls; we went around the gym and came to my spot. We sat and just talked. We talked for hours. We talked about what really hurt us inside and how we copped with having no one to talk to. I wrote poems and songs but she, she drew. She opened her bag and pulled out a black notebook. She then pulled out a pencil case. It was filled with different shades of grey and she called the pencils “graphite”. I like that she did. She showed me her drawings of dark angels and a very elaborate drawing of Mr. Hoskins as satin himself. We laughed and talked for hours. I’ve never felt so happy and at one point I cried.

“Why are you crying?” she asked.

“I’m just so happy.” We both smiled.

We walked home that day together. She held my hand. We stopped at her house and as she was about to leave she kissed me on the check. We both smiled and she left. I went home happy. I’ve never gone home happy.

Days were different after I met her. We would skip class and go to our spot she then named “L'amour”. It was French for love. She learned it from one of her friend’s mom in Vegas. She worked the clubs at night. We went there to be free. I then wrote this for her:


“Was lost and in pain,
Once had no hope and could not sustain,
Has found the jewel or dove,
He now has found love.”



I named it “L'amour”. Before I could finish reading it to her she kissed me and we closed our eyes.

Weeks went on and we still had passion for one another. I waited for her in front of her house. She came out with her head down. I wondered what was wrong. She came up to me with tears coming down her face and she hugged me.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing, everything is going to be ok” she said, she smiled and again hugged me. I hugged her back. We walked to school I didn’t want to ask her about it anymore. I felt if it was really that bad, I shouldn’t ask.

Weeks went by after the incident and things went normal, until a Monday of November. It was eight o’clock and she hadn’t come out of her house yet. I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid to knock on her door. I’ve never met her parents. All I know is that she has a step mother. I had to see what the problem was. So I knocked on their door. I waited and no one answered. I knocked again. I heard footsteps coming to the door. My heart started to race. The sound of the door knob turning shook me. Then a man in a grey suit opened the door.

“Is, is, is Maddy there?” I asked trembling.

“Oh so you’re the mysterious friend of Madison, well come in we have to have a talk.” He said in his low voice. I came in. he told me to sit down. What he would say for the next half hour I would never forget. He explained that Maddy’s mother died of a rare sickness that was genetically passed, not cancer. He continued to say that Maddy was starting to show many of the symptoms that her mother had before she passed away. A few weeks ago Maddy’s Parents explained that she would need to run some tests. Maddy started to yell and cry in disbelief. She ran out the door in tears and into my arms. He said that she was in a hospital bed awaiting the results of her tests. He then offered to give me a ride there, and I agreed.

In the car to the hospital memories flash of us together at L'amour talking and laughing. Tears ran down my face. Maddy’s Father patted me on the back in comfort. I thought of how she stopped my bleeding and pain and how she made my life even better. I thought.

We made it to the hospital. I saw here through the window of her room with her step mom. They both were in tears. Her mother stepped outside and saw me. She smiled with tear tracks on her face. She was pleased to meet me and said that she was waiting for me. I came into the room and she saw me. Her tears made her eyes wet and red but she smiled. I walked over to her and hugged her. She kissed me and I kissed her back. We laughed. Then we stared into each others eyes like the first time we met. In the corner of my eye I saw the doctor talking to her parents. He had an envelope with him. It was the results. She looked at me in fear. I hugged her and said “everything is going to be ok.”

She smiled. Her parents and the doctor came in to the room.

“It’s time” the doctor said.

I will always remember that day. I will always remember her. She made me happy, she made me sad, she made me worry and she made me care. She made me care about her so much I can’t explain, it just wouldn’t make sense. That day I wrote the first poem I would ever write for her and it was named “Everything is Going To Be Ok”.


“You lay there in fear,
I stand here in tears.
I lived my life hiding,
You lived your life finding.
The only thing I want to say,
Is that everything is going to be okay.”





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