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107 Quail Arbor Street

His driveway, impossibly long, blistered her bare feet as she sprinted up its winding length. The afternoon rain had collected in puddles all around, and the heat of early August had warmed them close to boiling. Try as she might to step on the sparse archipelago of pavement, she wished she had thought to slip on some shoes before having dashed out the door.

She could see him now at the top of the driveway, loading an assortment of retro paisley luggage into his mother’s olive minivan. Jessica thought it almost insensitive that as soon as John’s bus left for Parris Island, his parents and younger sister would be boarding a plane for Boca Raton, Florida, and as he was arriving at his own destination, they would be settling into a cozy six-room suite. He’d be sleeping on a cot for the next God-knows-how-long, and they’d be pleasure-tripping without a second thought to his welfare. Jessica sneered. The nerve of some people.

She slowed to a timid walk as she saw that he had noticed her, letting her fingers swish the ends of her dress rhythmically, a childhood habit she’d never had the mind to break. John noticed her when she was only five feet away, and smiled apologetically. He wiped sweat from his face with the sleeve of his spotless fatigues.

“Hot as hell out here,” she said quietly. Tentatively she added,” ’Expect it’ll be cooler once you’re on the coast.”

“Yeah, I expect so.” He looked off to the side; she could tell he didn’t want her to be there.

“I’ll leave if you want me to,” she ventured.

He looked stunned. “Why would I ever want that?” he asked, and pulled her into a hug too warm for comfort. He kissed the top of her hair softly, not caring that leaves and twigs were tangled all in it. “Thirteen weeks, right?”

“Yeah, they had to pick the Devil’s number, I really think there’s something up over at that place...” She paused. “And after that?”

“And after that, I’m learning how to be an Arabic interpreter, so there’s no need for you to worry your pretty little head about me being ‘gunned down in the Afghan desert’, as you so beautifully described it when you heard I had enlisted” He laughed quietly. “I’m humoring you, can you tell?”

The sun was dying quietly behind them, orange and golden fingers trailing through the sky, purple clouds spotting the horizon, and, if you squinted, they looked like mountains way off in the distance. John had always admired sunsets, and Jessica had oftentimes snapped her fingers in front of his eyes if he stared for a moment too long, always with a ‘You’ll go blind if you stare at the sun’, to which he always replied ‘Oh no, then I couldn’t see your gorgeous eyes anymore’.

“Yes, I can tell. But I suppose I believe you,” she said after careful contemplation. “Promise?”

“Absolutely. I’ll be home before you know it, and then we’ll see where things go from there.”

She smiled. “I want an October wedding, with orchids everywhere and a seven-tier cake and an organza gown and—”

He shushed her softly, and she let the rest of her vision trail off. She steeped forward to hug him tightly, and then took a few steps backward to survey him.

“I suppose I need to be going now,” she sighed. “And that shouldn’t bother me so much, right, because you’ll write me?”

“Of course,” he murmured.

She smiled slightly, and quickly turned to dash back down the long winding driveway, the hot puddles that had by now evaporated into near-nothingness. John watched her go, the words and numbers that made up her home address scrolling past his eyes repeatedly, cause he’d be damned before anything stopped him from writing to her.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

beautifuldreamer said...
Sept. 5, 2010 at 5:26 pm
This is so sweet :) Is this a section of a longer story or just it? Because I really want to read more
 
Taylor.Sangria This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm
I'm not sure yet, it might be the end but  may decide to continue it later. I'm usually not too good with plot though, I'm afraid it would fall apart towards the middle...
 
beautifuldreamer replied...
Sept. 6, 2010 at 5:18 pm
Well good luck! It's really good so far, I'm sure it'd get even better if you chose to expand it!
 
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