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I have no notion, not a clue why I am sending this to you. This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Night crept silently into the Bayou, the heavy air clinging to the bowed branches of the gracious Weeping Willows. Only the trees knew my secret and a breeze blew the guilt away from me behind the screen door. I quietly slid out of the door, careful not to let it slam against the warped frame. The rocking chairs groaned, occupied only by their invisible guest, the wind. I knew where the porch creaked- I had walked its smooth wooden planks a thousand times- so I avoided the spots and snatched an empty champagne bottle off the table. A waning half-moon illuminated the lawn only enough to see remnants of an ended party. Makeshift tables strewn with multi colored cloths dotted the yard with empty glasses and plates scattered upon them. The balloons had started to droop, resting their tired heads against the ever courteous willow arms. The deep emerald grass tickled my feet, but I continued on through the cool carpet. A bed of tulips scented the air and crickets played the undying hymn of nighttime. It was one of those black nights that belonged only to the fireflies and they danced and twirled, flickered and flashed as the moon played hide and seek with the clouds.

Odd, that inspiration would come to me on a night like this. The party had ended late; my mother was still shooing out guests after midnight and eventually headed to her room without cleaning up. I listened from my room next door as she climbed the stairs, closed her bedroom door and got into bed. I sat on the floor next to my bed, the party dress looked inane on my wiry frame; the too long train stretched all the way to my dresser. The dress sparkled and shone in all the right places, the way a party dress should, but the brazen embellishments made my plain face pale in comparison. I thought of going to bed, but sleep was a welcome yet rare guest to my room, so I stayed on the floor and tilted my head to see out of my dusty half closed curtains. The stars glittered in a way that reminded me of you. A piece of paper fluttered from my desk onto my lap and I picked up a pen and began to scribble a letter, I have no notion, not a clue why I am sending this to you, I finished, deposited the note into my pocket and slipped out the door.

I had passed through the neighborhood and was approaching the water. The foliage grew heavier here, leaving behind the whimsy of the gardens and taking on the eerie persona of the swamp. I reached the unpaved road leading towards the docks and began to run. The night may belong to the fireflies but the marsh belonged to the swamp things, the fairy-tale monsters that brought out the child in even the bravest man. I knew there were things here that deified the imagination and even the things that did not were still willing to make me their dinner. Twigs whipped my face and thorny undergrowth nipped at my ankles. I choked on the thick, humid air and my heart threatened to beat its way out of my chest, but I did not slow down. My destination was now in sight, as I stared into the darkness I wished I had brought a flashlight to ward away the things that go bump in the night. It was too late, and I had to finish what I had started. The soft dirt path ended and I stepped on to the rough wood of the dock. A shy, abandoned dock that shrugged away from your step housed only one boat. The Armoracia was a forgotten row boat that was as much a part of the bayou as the vines that grew all around it. It seemed I was the only one that knew about it, the only one that would once again give it a purpose. The champagne bottle bumped into my knee, reminding me why I had come. I got down to clean the growth away from the boat and the train of dress dipped into the gloomy, viscous water. I snatched it out quickly, terrified of the creatures lurking just below the surface. You told me not to be afraid, but I was not going to let the water claim me, as it had to you.

The boat was clear and ready to carry my burden. I slipped the note out of my pocket and rolled it into a tube. I carefully slid it into the champagne bottle and replaced the cork. With the bottle balanced precariously on the rotting seat of the Armoracia I sent it sailing gently to the gulf, to you.

I left the dock, my heart lighter. I did not run, for I no longer had anything to run from. Monsters had not taken you; the bayou had simply reclaimed one of her children. It was no one’s fault; the cycle of life had come full circle, just as you had always taught me. The fear was gone and instead of claiming that evening, the fireflies and crickets invited me to dance and sing with them. I jumped and twirled my way home stopping only when I reached the grass and once again surveyed the party scene. Instead of looking forlorn and broken, it held the memories of a good time. The first signs of morning began to creep up behind me just like the new hope that surrounded and embraced me and suddenly I knew why I needed to send that letter. Because just as the boat had traveled down the river, I also needed to move on.





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