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Prologue
The second time I saw him, I thought it was a dream. He was singing into an old time microphone, his voice resonating like ripples in water throughout the bar. To be quite honest, he was hot. Not the jock-y, cliché annoying type of hot where all you can think about is his eyes and how great his abs must look in the dark of a bedroom, but the kind of hot where you want to know his story. I just wanted to look into his eyes and see if maybe I could hear it, just as stories are supposed to be told. So here’s mine. The good thing is that, at a certain point, he does make a chapter or two, or twenty-two of it, but the bad news is that all good things must come to an end. The summer. Relationships. And often times, even people. But in my story, it’s all about making the good things last and taking life as it goes, because even though things must go away, at least we had them in the first place. Well, for starters, my name is Stella Zoe Moretti, and the summer of my Freshman year ended up being the best and worst summer of my life.
Eleanor Rigby and the Boy with the Guitar
I was born into a pasta and cannoli Italian family who went to Church every Sunday and “loved the good Lord as much as we loved our ravioli.” My mom had me when she was sixteen, but as soon as I was born my father hit the road and she never saw him again. Until she graduated high school she lived with my Nonno and Nonna, working the cash register at their family store and making just barely enough money to support a child. Now looking back on it, I remember before opening the store every morning when I was little, my mom would take me into the back, where we kept all of the food for our café and she would make toys for me out of the Styrofoam plates. Then, while she worked, I would read stories that she kept in a plastic crate.
Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White were my best friends, and sometimes I would make Styrofoam crowns and pretend that my prince was knocking at the freezer door so that I could be swept off to the ball. One especially slow day, my Nonna came back and saw me dancing with my prince, and she pretended to be my ugly stepmother.
From that day on, every day was a day spent at the store. When I was ten I would get everything ready in the morning and help to stock the shelves, and my tasks continued to double as I got older, until it was the summer going into Freshman year and I was working part-time and the one hour of freedom I had per day was my lunch break. From 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., I would walk the streets of downtown Frederick and stop into my many favorite haunts for a few smiles and the occasional recap of my school year to the employees.
Frederick was always such a beautiful place. You could really transform it into a farm country kinda place, or it could be the bustling malls and highways that every city sported. For me, I preferred little old downtown the most. It was quiet and calm, and a center of culture that was a new experience around every corner.
On one particular day, I was rounding the corner of a street leading to the library when I spotted a teenage boy, about my age, playing the guitar and singing an old Beatles song. It confused me for a second, but when I listened to the lyrics I was completely transported into another world for a few seconds. I had never really been a Beatles fan, but the way his voice made me feel made me truly pay attention to what he had to say. I walked closer, my black hightops walking across the uneven pavement, and stopped in front of the store where he was singing.
It was the old Little’s Furniture store, and he was sitting on the front step next to a stack of flyers for the Frederick Rock School. I walked up and took one, hoping to see a performance of his, and caught a glimpse of myself in the store window. My skin was sun-kissed and my hip-length black hair was a stark contrast to my white loose tank top that hung on my thin frame. I had always been pretty, but able to shrink into the background if I wanted to. This summer, though, I was trying to focus on more important things. Rather than having fun, I needed to take my work seriously and get ready for the buttload of homework I was going to get nailed with the first day of school.
So, I tucked the flyer into my backpack and smiled as the boy nodded at me in thanks, his black hair flopping into his eyes for a second before he shook his head at a particularly high note. As I walked away, the song stuck in my head. I was humming the tune and repeating in my head the one line that caught my ear, the one about all the lonely people and where they belong. When I got to the library steps, I pushed the door open and cool air wafted into my face, posing the question of which book I was going to bury my nose into for the next hour and how I was going to go about meeting that boy again.





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