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Under the Evergreen
December 14th, 2005
“Ready?” She breathed, her cheeks flushed with the excitement of what was about to happen.
For a moment I was unsure. Was I truly ready for this? My left hand grasped at white sheets, the other caressed her face. The fresh and woody aroma of pine floated off of her; probably from the Christmas tree we decorated earlier. I coughed, and shifted awkwardly above her. “I think so.”
“Do you love me?” Her cherry-red lips were parted. In her face, I could see the entire world.
I looked into her eyes of ocean blue, and I dove into them, not wanting to float at the surface.
June 12th, 2006
Caps white and black are thrown into the air as the ceremony concludes. There are tears and laughs. Family and friends roar their approval from the bleachers. The principal smiles proudly upon the ex-highschoolers.
Meanwhile, I shoot a wink and a smile at her through a break in the throngs of students. My heart swells when she returns the gesture. Her hair is golden like a sunflower, and it shines in the sun.
The space between us closes. I welcome her into my arms, and she whispers ‘I love you,’ and for a moment we both forget that I’m going to New York in two months and she’s staying in California.
December 23rd, 2009
It’s been three years since my heart broke in a plane on the way to the city that never sleeps, since I last saw the face that I would always hold close to my heart. Three years since I thought I would never see her again.
And now here she is, right in front of me, looking at tacky sweaters adorned with Christmas trees on a table at Costco. God, she looks good. I wonder if she’s still the same girl I knew a few years back. My heart wrenches. Has she been with other guys since me? Have I been replaced?
There was only one way to find out. I approached her lean, curvy body, and tapped her on the shoulder. I was delighted to find her just as pleasantly surprised as me. We talked about a few broad topics: college, internships, holidays.
I took her back to my place that night. We spent the last week of break together, and while the miles separated us once again, the distance wasn’t strong enough to keep us apart.
September 27th, 2015
She walked up to me, and I was so taken by her that the words of the priest floated right over my head. Her dress was so white. It reminded me of the sheets that once covered us years ago, when we were teens. She still looked just as gorgeous, if not more. I kissed my bride, and took her up into my arms.
April 16th, 2017
“Your turn,” she mumbled, half-asleep, pillow over her head. I cursed as I stumbled over the shoes I had left by the door. This was the third time tonight Rhiannon woke up in a crying fit. I doubt I’ll ever get a full night of sleep again.
Yet, in spite of the drowsiness that was weighing down my eyes, I couldn’t help but be filled with wonder when I lifted her out of her crib. She was only a few weeks old, and I could already tell she was going to look exactly like her mother.
November 7th, 2067
When the light hit the water on the lake by our house, it was the most stunning sight in the world—like it was filled with sapphires. There was a reason family gatherings were always held at our place.
She slowly made her way out to the balcony where I was sitting, and the wheels on her walker made a creaking noise as they rolled along. I smiled.
“Hey old man,” she gasped, out of breath as she sat down next to me.
I took her knotted hand. “Nice to see you, young lady.”
It didn’t matter that we were both nearing the end of our lives. She had been there for me through the years. We fought, like all couples do. And we always made up, a rare thing nowadays. I was still just as in love with her as I was when I was a kid. I had to slap myself on the face for a moment, when I realized that the light that hit the water on the lake by our house was only the second most stunning sight in the world.
August 23rd, 2077
Silence. I can see the water rippling, and birds pecking at the ground. The wind kisses my face. I fumble with my hearing aid for a moment, and finally turn it on. And then, I hear my old bones creak as they sit down on an old wooden chair I brought out here five years ago.
“Hello, young lady,” I sigh, looking upon her headstone. Five years. “How you doin’ today?”
While she may not physically be here anymore, I still feel her with me. I see her behind the lids of my eyes. I can hear her breathe, “Ready?” into my ear like she just said it yesterday. Of course, darling. I would always be ready.
Our love. It’s everlasting. Through the seasons, it has held strong. It never loses color in the heat of the summer, and never dies with the plants in the fall. It stays warm in the brutal cold of the winter, and celebrates its beauty in the bosom of spring. It’s immortal—life can’t wear it down, and death cannot vanquish it. Our love—it’s evergreen.
Above me, the evergreen tree she’s buried under sways with the breeze.
December 14th, 2005
I emerged at the surface from the depths of her eyes, and couldn’t breathe for a minute. I felt myself, the sheets, her. It was all solid.
“Skye, are you okay?” She looked concerned. The flush was fading from her cheeks.
“Lyla Marie Hart, I love you more than anything in this world. That will always hold true.”
I was ready. And as we pulled the white sheets over our heads, and as she kissed me full on the mouth, I knew that what we had, would last.