There's Always Hope

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As I approached the finish line, I noticed that there weren’t several girls in front of me like usual. In fact, there weren’t any girls before me. It didn’t mat-ter to me, though. All I could do was replay the day’s events in my head again and again. I didn’t even pay attention to the cold rain that now smacked my face violently.

I reached the finish line after what seemed like no time at all. The rest of the track team was waiting to congratulate me, but I pushed passed them. My mom’s face fell when she saw me ignore everyone’s generous offers of hugs and high fives. I gave my sister, Katy, a signal that only she and I knew. I didn’t watch her tell my mom some lame excuse as to why I was avoiding everyone because I could already feel the tears I’d held in all day welling up.

I walked quickly out to the parking lot and as soon as I was sure no one was looking, I started running. Where was I going? I didn’t know. I just wanted to go somewhere I knew no one would be. That’s when it occurred to me; I knew the perfect place!

I trotted up to an enormous oak tree outside the parking lot and leaned against the tree’s trunk. I finally let the tears silently drip down my face.

About five minutes later, I dried up my tears and pushed my matted, wet bangs out of my eyes. I was just about to go back to the track when I heard someone, or something, walking towards me. I froze.

A dark figure stood in front of me. It said, “My name’s Ezra. I heard you crying and thought I would check on you. Are you okay? Come out here into the parking lot, and we can talk.” He turned around and walked. I hesitated at first, but then thought of how kind and soft his voice sounded. I took a few small steps out into the light.

As we stepped into the parking lot, I could actually see him. He was a good six inches taller than me, which was a plus since I was five feet, eight inches myself. He was carrying a really nice camera in his left hand. He turned around, and that’s when I realized that he was really cute… gorgeous, even. He had dark brown hair that went to the top of his eyes, which were a beautiful shade of blue. All the sudden, I felt my cheeks burning. I had forgotten that I was still wearing my track uniform with my hair completely soaked from the rain, which had now completely stopped.

I knew he could tell I was staring because he cleared his throat after a moment. I laughed nervously, and he grinned back at me. Even his teeth were perfect. He glanced down at his feet for an instant and looked back up at me. He said in a soothing voice, “I know we’ve never met, but I was getting some-thing from my car, and I heard you crying. I thought I should check on you…”

“I’m okay... Well, sort of,” I said, my voice cracking. He glanced up at me and gave a weak smile. I tried to smile back, but my attempt turned out wrong.
.
“Hope, where are you?” I heard my mom yell. I turned to see her walking quickly towards where the restrooms were. I looked at Ezra, and said, “That’s my mom. I have to go. My name’s Hope, by the way.” I started to walk away, but he touched my arm, and I stopped. The touch sent butterflies throughout my entire body.

“C-could I have your number? Maybe I could call you sometime or some-thing,” he said in an eager voice, as he tried to hand me his phone. I took it and added my name into his contacts. He returned a smile and said, “Thanks.” I smiled crookedly at him and ran to my still yelling mom.

I trotted over to my mother. “Where have you been? Are you okay? And who was that boy that you were just talking to just a moment ago?” She always asked too many questions.

“I had to go to the bathroom. I don’t know him. I just helped him pick up some things that he dropped on my way back over here,” I lied. My mom gave me a doubtful look, but she shrugged and walked towards her car anyway.

I started to walk behind my mom, but Katy stopped me. She gave me a giddy look and said, “Who was that guy? He was gorgeous! Give me all the de-tails.” I sighed and walked towards my car. “Just some guy I met,” I replied.

***


When I got home, I took a hot shower and thought about the day’s hor-rific events. At school this morning, I went to walk my boyfriend, Josh, to class as usual. Although, things weren’t normal like I thought they were. Josh looked at me with a cheerless look and said, “I think we should just be friends.” He walked away without even providing me with a logical reason.

I was so angry and upset that I skipped my first two periods just to run on the track. When I finally got the courage to walk back into third period, I saw Josh sitting next to the most popular girl in school, Alayna. She leaned over on his desk with her hand on his knee. She was wearing a very low cut shirt, and you could see her flaming red bra peeping out. Josh was clearly too engulfed in her boobs that he didn’t even notice me standing there.

Alayna glanced up at me and looked back at my ex with a sleazy smile. Josh finally came out of his trance and discovered me staring at him with wide eyes. He looked slightly dumbfounded, like he didn’t know what to say. He opened his mouth to speak, but Alayna stopped him by kissing him. My mouth dropped. He stood straight up and exclaimed, “It’s not what it looks like! I, um, I…” I put my hand up, signaling him to stop talking.

“Don’t try to make up excuses. I’ve seen enough. You’re just a jerk like everyone says, and you know what? You two deserve each other.” I glanced at the girl who stole my boyfriend, and she gave me a devilish smile back. “Oh, and Josh, I think you might need this.” I picked up a cold bottle of water that was sitting on Alayna’s desk and poured it onto his lap. Josh jumped up in sur-prise and gave me a confused expression. I smirked and walked out of the classroom.

I didn’t stop walking until I got to my car. I drove all the way home, not caring if I missed all my classes since I had an almost perfect attendance record. I’d just tell my mom that I had bad cramps, and she’d leave it at that.

The rest of the day up until I had to leave my track meet, I just listened to music in my room. When I drove to the track meet, I put on my iPod to my ‘Get Pumped’ playlist. I reserved this playlist just for track meets. I finally got my mind off of the day and got focused on my running. I always ran well when I was mad or upset, Coach Lee always said. I thought about how much better I’ll do this time, then.

***


Late that night around 3 A.M., I was still lying awake, trying to take in what had happened. I jumped when I heard my phone playing my ringtone. I picked it up curiously, not knowing who would call me this late. It was an un-known number. I answered with a slightly scratchy voice. It was a guy’s voice on the other end. He said, “Hey. Did I wake you? I’ll let you go back to sleep if you want.” It was Ezra! I smiled.

“You didn’t wake me. I was still awake, sadly,” I replied in a morose tone. To my surprise, his voice comforted me, even with all this pain I felt inside. We talked for hours until he finally decided to go to sleep. Before he hung up, he asked to meet him at the park the next day to have lunch, and unexpectedly, I agreed. I wondered if it was a little too early, but then thought of Ezra’s soft, blue eyes and the way he actually cared about my hurt. It was definitely worth it.

***


The next day at lunch, I arrived at the park wearing jeans and my favorite gray t-shirt with bright floral prints on it and my new pair of black flats. My hair fell across my shoulders in perfect curls. (I had spent an extra half-hour fixing the curls that weren’t ‘bouncy’ enough.) He was already sitting at a bench with jeans and a blue and green flannel shirt and flip flops. He looked great, even in his plain clothes. He was staring at his camera intently, like there was some kind of extremely significant photo on there.

I sat next to him as quietly as possible, and he didn’t move a muscle, oblivious to my presence. I tried to take a peek over his shoulder to see what the picture was, but he just as I tried, he looked up at me. He quickly turned off his camera and smiled. It felt like my heart skipped a beat.

We sat and talked for what seemed like hours. He finally looked at his watch and said, “Well, I’ve got to get to work, but before you leave, I’ve got something to show you.” He pulled out his camera and clicked through the pic-tures. Most of the pictures were of beautiful scenery, and some were of little kids, I concluded that they were his little brothers and sisters he talked about a few minutes ago. He stopped at a black and white picture. At first, I couldn’t tell what it was, but the more I looked at it, the more I loved it.

It was a beautiful photograph. There was a girl leaning up against a tree with her hand on her face. She had tears rolling down her cheeks, and you could see the edge of heartache in her eyes. The picture almost made me want to cry. That’s when I realized that the girl in the picture was me!

I looked up at him, astonished. He looked a bit ashamed when he said, “I saw you crying, and I thought it would be a great picture. It makes a person just want to go and tell you that everything will be okay. Most people can relate with this picture, you know?”

I smiled and gazed at the picture. “That is breathtaking,” is all I could think to say. I didn’t think I could look that remarkable when I felt so broken. He stared at me for a moment then sat down his camera. He slowly put his hands on my face and kissed me so softly that it made my knees go weak.

***


I went straight home and lay on my bed. All I could think about was that kiss. It was beyond perfect. I thought for a little while longer. That’s when I realized the most important thing about this day – There is hope for me out there, and there always will be, despite anything that happens.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

So-calledLife This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 8, 2009 at 10:51 am
love it! this is such a sweet story, and it has a powerful message.
 
Dee03 replied...
Sept. 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm
Thanks! :)
 
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