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Amber Lights

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I could see my own breath. That’s how cold and crisp it was walking along the Cape May beach in January. I’ve left home once again. My parents are inevitably out looking for me. As if I really care. They think they can tell me what to do every minute of my life.

The sand, frozen, felt hard under my feet representing mini sand dunes falling apart with each step. It was like my life: strong and solidly formed, but slowly breaking apart and drifting in the wind. My foot kicked a bluish, rubbery object half buried in the sand and caught between broken shells. At first I thought it was litter, which made me mad, but after closer inspection, I saw it was the lifeless form of a deflated, faded blue balloon. I yanked it up and smoothed it between my fingers, rubbing the sand off of it. I walked towards the garbage can, but then realized there was a sandwich baggie attached with a string to the soggy balloon. Inside the baggie appeared to be a piece of paper. Curiously I opened the bag and unfolded a notebook paper that had been smoothed into fourths. The paper had dirt spots on it and some tears but it was still visible to read. It was a letter. The handwriting was small, curved, and neatly formed. Now smudged from its travel, and welcoming any distraction from my hopeless life, I unfolded it and quickly read the letter.

Help. Please somebody, anybody help. Dad got mad at mom again.
He threatened to kill her. I don’t know where to turn. I have no one to talk to. I fear for my sisters. They are just young and innocent. I’m ready to do something drastic. The pain and suffering are too much.
Jolie, age 15
236 6th Ave.
Brooklynn, NYC

I read the letter carefully several times. I felt stunned. Was it for real? Was somebody playing a joke? But as I looked around, no one was on the beach in this weather. The balloon had lain so tightly between the shells; it must have been there a while. But how long had it been here?

I felt a need to show the note to somebody. It was definitely a cry for help. I had my own problems and barely had my own friends to turn to, let alone answer a total stranger’s cries for help. However, I feared if I waited to show somebody the note, it would be too late. Despite my heartache and frustration in my own life, could I live with myself after turning my back on this person?

The wind was picking up, and the sun was starting to set. Cold air blew off the ocean in the form of mist, making the situation eerie and unsettling. It was time to find a shelter and get out of the cold. Should I go home? Should I hop the bus and never come back? A twenty dollar bill felt heavy in my pocket. How far would it take me? It was too cold to spend the night outside on the beach. Besides, the cops would arrest me for trespassing after dark. Food from the nearby seaside grill wafted through my near frostbitten nose reminding me that I would soon need to eat.

As the moon became visible, and the stars shone, it reminded me of the nighttime walks with my dad. He knew every constellation, every Planet’s existence, and every phase of the moon. Mom enjoyed taking me to the lighthouse, our favorite place to watch the sunset. My older sister, Winny, and I chased each other with flashlights in the dark. It all seemed so long ago for my fifteen years. Life had changed and became harder. It seemed we argued at every little thing.

Standing on the edge of the beach, the tide crept out away from me and rhythmically returned. It beckoned me to stand strong, face my struggles, and realize life wasn’t so bad. It would ebb and flow, too, over time. I picked up my pace as my feet hit the street, the letter and balloon clasped in my hand. I pulled my jacket up closer to my ears with a chill, and headed in the direction of the amber streetlights.





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TheGoodTwin said...
Mar. 27, 2011 at 7:27 pm
That's awful--not the story, but the letter. I think this is very well-written. the writing style is very good. even though it's very short, it's not hard to get attached to the character. good job. 
 
Liza S. replied...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Thank you!!! =)
 
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