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Speech

Come on, Alex, Carson isn’t going to bite you! It was hard to convince himself, but when he remembered Carson’s face and saw him like that, Alex couldn’t take it anymore. He didn’t want anyone to have to go through what he had.

He found Carson in the living room, writing something. Alex was about to leave when Carson looked up.

He jerked his head in a motion to indicate that Alex should sit next to him and read. Alex did so.

[I’m still in shock from the funeral. Lissy went with me, of course. It was horrible. Everything everyone said was so wrong. Of course, I didn’t actually talk to anyone, and I got a lot of weird looks.
Selene was actually bearable today. I think that she was the one that arranged the funeral. She did a good job, but all those people were dead wrong about my parents. Of course, I’m not going to correct them.
I’m still pondering what Cerina Rivercreek said about my mother. She went to the funeral too, but she didn’t speak. I wonder what she said about my mother was supposed to mean.
I was shocked to find out that Mom had called her about Lisette but also talked about me. Did she still care about me, or was it because she happened to remember? I guess I’ll never know.
Everyone has been really supportive throughout all this. Luke is still in the hospital, but when he was here he helped me. Lissy, of course, has constantly put up with me. I don’t understand why she bothers. I’m more or less dead to the world lately.
I tried to visit Luke, but I couldn’t speak, so I just turned around and left. I can’t believe that something like this would happen to Luke, of all people. He hasn’t been through as much as the rest of us have, and I sincerely hope he makes it.
Alex is sitting next to me right now, watching me write this. It’s not that easy to write either, but much better than attempting to speak. I don’t mind him reading this- he’s the only one who knows how I feel.
I think he came to talk to me. Hold on.]

Alex was trying to talk to Carson, but he couldn’t find the right words. But he had to, or Carson wouldn’t speak.

He had to tell Carson what had also happened to him. Carson sensed that Alex wanted to reveal something and gazed at him with expressive light brown eyes. They weren’t quite like Cristee’s, unique in their own way. His fair hair was long and had two strands hanging in front of his eyes, giving him a closed look. It looked as if he had styled it like that on purpose recently. It reminded Alex painfully of the time he had been that way.

“Carson.” The younger boy seemed startled when Alex addressed him by first name. Alex thought that it would make the conversation slightly more personal. It must have shown on his face. “I stopped speaking once- not when my parents died, but when I was maybe a year younger than you. I didn’t keep track of time very well back then. When you live on the streets, time ceases to matter and survival becomes the issue.”

He had told Carson this before, of course, but Alex had never talked much about those times. Now, his eyes were searching. He grabbed his book and wrote something.

[What happened?]

Alex had to swallow. Telling Carson would be okay. Carson would understand. He would relate with him. But it still hurt so much to remember.

“When I was on the streets, I actually had someone who took care of me, taught me how to survive, how to do everything. It made being there bearable. But of course, it all ended.”

[What happened?]

Alex sighed and took the pen from him. Carson allowed it.

Death.

Carson’s eyes told Alex everything when he looked up. Alex continued to write.

{There was a car crash. I nearly got hit. But he saw and threw me out of the way, a self sacrifice. That was his last act- saving me. I felt so unworthy.}

[He probably wanted you to have a life. The younger you are, the more of your life is ahead of you, and the more potential they have.]

{I know, but it doesn’t make me feel any less guilty.}

[It’s not your fault though.]

{I know that, but it still hurts.}

[So you stopped talking?]

{Yeah. I served the rest of my sentence. It seemed to take forever. Finally, I went home, still not speaking.}

[What triggered your speech again?]

{Being faced with no choice. It was either talk or go back on the streets. I couldn’t even think about it. Those days had already been torture. How could I live with myself if I had gone back? There would be little reminders everywhere. But if I had had a choice, I may not have spoken ever again.}

Carson looked up, eyes full of sympathy. Alex nodded to show that he had seen and continued writing.

{You should have a choice, Carson, the choice I never had. I want you only to speak when it won’t hurt, okay?}

He glanced up, and Alex saw that his eyes were moist. That was good- he still had emotion. Alex had been practically emotionless.

“Never forget. Don’t ever forget how you’ve felt, how you’ve been hurt, the very moment. You can’t forget those things. That’s all you have to hold on to, because everything else can change in a single moment.”

Alex inhaled sharply, then added, “I wish that I could forget all these things sometimes. A seventeen-year-old shouldn’t know this pain, or a sixteen-year-old. It has aged me. I don’t look seventeen anyway. I always have looked older than I really was. People don’t believe me when I tell them that I’m only seventeen. I don’t feel seventeen either. But I don’t think there’s a such thing as a memory that’s okay to be forgotten. You have to live with those memories and move on. The reason these things happen are to radically change you. If it doesn’t change you, that isn’t a good thing.”

[You’re right.]

“I know. I speak from personal experience. It’s nowhere near worth it, but it’s the only way to learn.”

[Yeah… I wish life wasn’t like that, but… well, that’s life.]

“Well, it’s going to take time to heal. Maybe not completely, but healing will happen one day. You’re strong and resilient. You can bounce back. I’m here to help you.”

[I want to heal, Alex. Just be patient with me, okay? It’s all I ask.]

“Of course. I’ve been there before, Carson. I would never rush healing. That’s why I haven’t asked Vivie out.”

[I think she’s ready, Alex. I’ve seen something about her change. Try sometime soon. I’m sure she’ll say yes.]

“I’m still healing too, Carson.”

[I know. I’m not pushing you either. I’m just giving my opinion.]

“Yeah, and I appreciate that approach. I’m glad Farrior invited you to his house.”

[Do you know about my former relationship with Luke? Like, that I knew him before all this happened.]

“Yeah, Luke told me.” It was the first time that Alex had referred to Luke by his first name. “But he’s grown up. He hasn’t been hurt like we have, but he won’t do it again. He knows his mistakes.”

[I guess.]

“We’ll talk again sometime, alright?”

Alex turned to leave when he heard his name called.

“Alex?”

He breathed sharply. This had been his goal- to get Carson to speak, even if it was just a few words. Carson looked about as shocked as Alex had.

“Thank you.”

The words had sounded forced and Carson still looked like he was enduring emotional pain. But Alex had still managed to make a difference.

“No, thank you,” Alex whispered, taking away from the conversation the same thing Carson was.



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This article has 8 comments. Post your own!

poyntelle2009 said...
Aug. 31, 2009 at 5:00 pm:
awesome story. at first i didnt exactly understand it, but then i kept reading and loved it.
 
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M&M4ever said...
Aug. 31, 2009 at 4:28 pm:
this is really good, i've read some of your poetry too and i thought it was amazing. you're a very talented writer
 
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awesomeaugustThis 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...
Aug. 31, 2009 at 11:49 am:
really great story- you're an awesome writer, but sometimes all of the names got confusing because in such a short story there wasn't really time to get to know them all. all in all, very nice work and keep writing!
 
PK4evr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 2, 2009 at 8:53 pm :
This wasn't a short story- just thought that I'd point that out. But thanks for commenting! :)
 
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LikeWoah<3 said...
Jul. 2, 2009 at 4:21 pm:
wow this is very good. I agree with JennyDavis it's important not to make a short story like a novel with the introducing of characters and such. But otherwise keep writing you have talent!
 
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XXcrazy_amazingXX said...
Jun. 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm:
This is really good, Allen. It has such a good lesson in it, and it's so deep. I know that sounds kinda cheesy, but it really is a great story. Keep up the good work!
 
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JennyDavis said...
Jun. 3, 2009 at 10:48 am:
Hi, I enjoyed your story, but just a word of constructive criticism: in a short story, it's not like a novel where you introduce characters and eventually get to know them, so I suggest making it a bit more clear who everyone is from the beginning. But I think you are a very good writer!
 
PK4evr This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 2, 2009 at 8:54 pm :
Yeah, I know that... lol... this wasn't actually a short story, it is an excerpt from a story that's actually pretty long. This is from around the twenty-eighth chapter if I remember correctly, and by now Carson and Alex are definitely major characters. But thanks for pointing that out anyway!
 
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