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If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die. – Unknown

You died at the age of two minutes.

Two minutes that could never have been considered a life. Two minutes that could never have been deserving of a true beginning or end. The doctors said it was impossible for you to have lived a moment longer.

But your father did everything in his power to disagree. And his power was his typewriter.

And his power was never much.

Right out of high school – two decades before you became a part of this world – your father invested in his future with the purchase of a 1920 Remington Model 7 typewriter. And for the next two decades, this was the single most precious thing in his life. He valued this machine not for its antiquity, but for its purpose. And this machine's purpose, he knew, was to love. Its sole purpose, he had yet to know, was to love you.

Your father wrote novels. More importantly, he innovated novels. That was what he thought, at least, and just thinking it was enough to give him minimal fulfillment. Through cheap ink he provided a gateway to his wealthy understanding of freedom, eternal happiness, and other fictitious and empty distortions of life, whose grounds no accomplished writer in history has ever touched. He wrote countless pages of optimism that left his and everyone's world, before you, unchanged. This was how your father came to be the most pitiful sight that the literate world had ever seen, because he puzzled no one, and everyone puzzled him.

Everything brought life to him, but he brought life to nothing. And it wasn't until two decades later that your father decided to bring life to the only thing that deserved it.

On the same night you took your first and last breath, he dusted off his Remington that he hadn't touched in nine months, and on paper you became an entity. An embodiment. He would dedicate the next part of his life to bringing you back. He needed to breathe life into you, something he had never done with anything before.

And in his most uncomforting but selfless moment, he started typing.

For one year, you were Yazmine. But everyone in the dreamlike midland of Ameysthia knew you as the one who slayed the Serpent of Corpseweed Sea. A young member of a paltry village obscured by trees, nobody expected you to become a warrior. Nobody suspected that you spent your teenage years crafting a dagger made of gold, that you would soon use to send a foreboding creature to its depths. Nobody expected you to conquer anything, especially not Ameysthia's century-long symbol of fear. The Serpent had killed thousands, taking down warships and rowboats, royalty and peasants, the eminent and the nameless. In the Serpent's eyes, every soul was equal. This was its downfall, because like all of Ameysthia, it never expected you to rise to be the most valiant woman in the whole kingdom. The moment your golden dagger plunged into the Serpent's skin, you became Ameysthia's century-long symbol of hope. It dawned onto the Ameysthians that you were the one long awaited to hold sway over their empire for years to come.

Finally, a story about a heroine turned princess.

“Yazmine's Dagger.”

Holding the heavy pages in his hands, your father never felt more selfish.

He took the stack to the fireplace and laid you to rest.

For another year, you were Cynthia. But everyone in the sad state of Michigan knew you as the Ghost of Crawford County. At the age of six, after your parents were drowned in the Great Lake by your mother's ex-lover in 1892, you were brought to an orphanage. This orphanage was called Sister Winstead's Home for Children, and though run by Sister Winstead herself, it certainly was no home.

It especially was no home after the building and everyone in it burned to the ground on Christmas Eve. That is, everyone except you and, unbeknownst to you, Sister Winstead. However, it did become known to you after you escaped death into the next county, only to find death waiting for you in the snowy woods with a shotgun.

Two shells: one for you, and one for herself. Just as Sister Winstead had planned. And the plan went swimmingly.

Decades later, the story still remained with the people of Michigan that it was you who set fire to the children's home, not Sister Winstead, as an unfinished act of revenge. Forever you would be the Ghost of Crawford County, an unwanted and undeserved epithet that you would spend an eternity trying to pass on to your murderer.

Finally, a story about a young and misunderstood ghost.

“Cynthia's Leaves.”

Holding the heavy pages in his hands, your father never felt more selfish.

He took the stack to the fireplace and laid you to rest.

Lying to himself wasn't the way to go. You weren't a heroine. You weren't a princess. You weren't an orphan, and you weren't a ghost. You were anything but a cliché or an archetype, and you were anything but borrowed. You were you. More importantly, you were his. And he hadn't come to recognize this quickly enough, as your presence in his heart waned.

What could do you justice? What could bring you back? Your two minutes were counting down once more.

A memoir?

No. What was there to remember about you? How much could he write about two minutes of life? Certainly not much.

You were becoming colder.

A poem?

Never. Not one of those trite, pithy, overrated things. It was that time in history when the world realized that any fool could cherry-pick three or four poetic devices and construct them into something meaningless. He couldn't let you be overlooked.

Your heart was slowing down.

A short story?

Under no circumstances. To give up on novels only to take a step further into indolence? Your father would never sell himself short on your behalf.

Your last breaths ensued.

A sentence.

Yes. A sentence would do.

Something that wouldn't be a distortion of life, yet would still speak of eternal happiness. Something that the world he disappointed could finally relate to. Something that was a reflection of your existence, so fleeting that it was enduring. A sentence was what you deserved, he thought, and he thought this in the most selfless way possible.

Without another ounce of thought, without any forced inspiration, without a false sense of defeat brought on by a false sense of inadequacy, he wrote, “If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.”

These words were all it took to let the world know that you were loved.

Holding that single page, in his most comforting and selfless moment, he laid himself to rest.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

AudreyIThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 16, 2013 at 6:39 pm:
I have to say that this is my favorite piece I've read on here so far. It's moving, it's well-written, it's unique..... "If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die." That is now one of my favorite quotes; it's so simple, yet so true. I really, really did love this piece. It's going to stick with me for a while.
 
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dragonsandthree said...
Apr. 27, 2013 at 8:15 am:
This is one of, if the, most incredible things that I have ever read.
 
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SkysetThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm:
This smashed my heart all up in pieces. I had to fight tears when I got to the end! A truly beautiful piece of writing.
 
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ClaireM.This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 2, 2013 at 1:18 pm:
You have an incredible writing style.  It's so expressive, so solid and aware and truthful.  I almost never cry at reading a story, but this touched me at a deep, deep level and I can't get enough of it.  I love everything; the title, the descriptions, the idea, the energy.  Thank you.
 
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AtroposThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 20, 2013 at 7:55 pm:
Amazing story! I actually got chills at the end, it was so touching. Amazing! :)
 
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In_Love_with_WritingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 19, 2013 at 11:28 am:
Nice. I liked the quote at the beginning and the way it carried the story. Very nice job on this :) Can you comment and rate some of my work?
 
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