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Monkey Bars This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


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When we were younger, I remember sitting on the monkey bars in the snow. We took off our hats and scarves, one at a time, to see who was the strongest, the bravest. I always won because you’d freaked out when your hands stuck to the metal – you were afraid they’d never come off. I’d call you a little girl and you’d throw your hat at me.

The snow would fall and we’d talk about kid stuff, and I’d wonder why I liked you so much. We would talk about things we thought were so important: Pokémon and Digimon, and all of the other “mon” type things that I can’t even remember anymore; you were always better at them than me.

The snow fell and the soft glow of the streetlights made each flake seem like a fallen firefly, a lightning bug processional that I could never tear my eyes from, except to look at you. Our breath would hold the light as well. You would put two fingers to your lips and pull them away, exhaling and pretending that you were smoking a cigarette. I was afraid to do that because my mom smoked and I knew it was only for grownups.

Now it’s snowing again, and we’re sitting outside on the hood of your white compact car. It’s dark – three in the morning. The only light comes from your headlights and sends a dull pain through my eyes. I like the darkness.

Well, that’s not true. The second light comes from a small orange ember between your fingers, between your thin lips. Now your breath mingles with real smoke, creating a ballet of young and old, of mature and immature, of ignorant and just plain stupid. My legs are crossed and I watch you, wondering when exactly we grew up, or if you ever really grew up at all. Am I sick of the burning of secondhand smoke in my throat, the smell it leaves on me … or does it only intrigue me more?

You smile at me, your ball cap flattening your hair into your brown eyes. Your free hand grasps mine comfortingly. I inhale deeply and cast my eyes down, knowing that I was never going to be strong enough to remove the particular layer that led to nicotine. Or perhaps it’s the other way around, and I’m the winner again.

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 52 comments. Post your own!

Dulcenina1210 said...
Mar. 23, 2009 at 8:01 pm:
Great story. I loved how what you didn't like still intrigued you to him.
 
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Melinda L. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 1:49 am:
I remember Digimon. Why'd they have to cancel that? I always loved Pokemon and I always will. That's one of many reasons I loved this story. Great job!
 
emily.louise replied...
Oct. 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm :
??? Whats that gotta do with the story???
 
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bre said...
Mar. 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm:
i loved this story the romantic parts are written great. I'll buy a book if you write one.
 
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i<3you said...
Feb. 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm:
I liked it. I really really liked it. But, it leaves me without a comment. It may be that I am speechless. I doubt this, but none-the-less i really enjoyed this piece. Pat yourself on the back!
 
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tweedle dee said...
Feb. 12, 2009 at 4:02 pm:
this was really amazing, glad i read it!
 
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Big Head B-) said...
Feb. 13, 2009 at 2:42 pm:
OMG love this story
 
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joejoe said...
Feb. 8, 2009 at 4:42 am:
i liked it! finally, a piece of writing on teen ink that isn't totally contrived and overly described. you really showed, not told. kudos!
 
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sunshinee said...
Feb. 1, 2009 at 2:39 am:
This is amazing.
 
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tnmebd1 said...
Jan. 28, 2009 at 1:14 am:
Wow, it was great. I like the indecision it makes you feel like you are actually the girl in the story. I like the irreversible love that they have had since childhood and even though he smokes and he will never open up to her she is going to stay with him.
 
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Joy said...
Jan. 26, 2009 at 10:07 pm:
This was an absolutely enthralling piece. You are a really talented writer.
 
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Day =] said...
Feb. 25, 2009 at 4:17 pm:
I rember watching digimon, I still watch pokemon, but hey im only 14. xD Great story by the way, I loved it
 
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