All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
There’s something strange about life, something I’ve never noticed until now. I’d assume that’s due to the fact that I’ve never been forced to notice nor compelled to care. Life is like a wavelength of different actions, reactions, and indifferent circumstances. My story falls somewhere in between, I’m the middle of everything. I am the ocean tugging on the sand but being pulled back by the forces of the moon. That’s my dilemma, I have no place where I belong—not a home that welcomes me with its comforting warmth or stone patterned walkways. I am nothing, I have nothing, and sometimes I feel like I mean nothing. That’s the strange thing about my life, I don’t have one.
Maybe it seems as though I’m being drastic, over-dramatic, or cliché. I encourage you to believe what you want; I’m no longer interested in what others think of me or even what I think of myself. There is only one thing I believe in, that is the truth. The truth that the sun comes up each morning and the moon appears at night. The fact that the dandelions outside my old bedroom window grew taller than the sill. The reality that time doesn’t also pass as evanescently as we’d like to imagine. Sometimes time stops completely, sometimes the sun doesn’t shine and the moon never emerges. Within those wavelengths of time, the wavelengths of fact verses fiction, and the realms of reality—I’ve found a shade of darkness that my eyes can barely see. A shade so dark that nothing in it can be seen and the human eyes cannot bear it. Depression, that’s what this is called I’d assume. Though, I am not sure that I know much of anything anymore, or maybe I simply know too much.
“Valarie! Get out.” Miss Lums barked. She’s plump and short with the greatest power surge I have ever seen. However, Miss Lums has no idea how to sufficiently hold power, she far too busy scoffing down margaritas. If you ask me, I think she’s just afraid of losing the little power she believes she has. “Valarie Costwell if you do not come up here right now you will not get breakfast.” She says it as though breakfast is a three course meal. I wouldn’t call grey oatmeal with strange lumps in it “a meal,” actually I call it dog food. Honestly, that’s probably what those weird lumps are.
“I’ll be out in a second.”
“No, no more! You do this every single day and I am sick of it Valarie.” Her words slush and slosh together curling in anger.
“Good luck getting in here then! It’s not like you have a key!” I let out the loudest laugh I’ve had since last year, when I was sent to this place on court order.
“Fine. Have it your way.” In that instant I hear a blaze emerge, she has set the basement door on fire! I knew she was crazy. I knew she was insane but this insane? To be truthful, I’d rather die down here, and then at least I would have something. I’d be able to see my family again. My little sister Ally hugging her pink teddy bear with its ripped feet and chewed ear— which the family dog, Blackie had something to do with. If I died here, I honestly don’t believe I’d care. Hearing my mother’s laughter once more, and my father smooth tenor voice doesn’t seem too bad. I miss Blackie too. That’s the truth I believe in, the truth that in this five by five basement room my only fear is the outside world. I haven’t eaten in days; I stopped eating once I realized there was no pleasure in doing anything now. Not even food can please the emptiness knowing at my insides, tearing at my heart, and ripping me away bit by bit. Nothing can fill the gap of what I’ve lost.
The smoke is slipping under the door, and my lungs reject every breath. I’m coughing, choking the thick black smoke that surrounds me. The walls are closing in on me.
“Val-we! Val-we wake up!”
A familiar three-year-old’s voice booms into my ears, Ally, it’s Ally! But wait, it can’t be Ally, Ally died in the house fire, with Mom, Dad and Blackie.
“Val-we!” Ally’s voice is getting frustrated now and I feel a tug at my arm.
“Ally, the doctor said she may not wake up for a while sweetie. She may be asleep for a very long time.” I hear mother’s voice muffled beneath the air, the type or blurriness that happens when your eyes well up but the tears don’t come yet. It’s like a film layering everything with a stiff blur, a smog rubbing in on me deeper and deeper every time I try to listen to my sister’s command. I can’t move or feel my legs.
“Will Val-we every wake up? I miss her Mommy!” I can feel that same teary-eyed film in Ally’s eyes. The sound of her voice assures me that she is crying. I think to myself, ‘I miss you too, Ally… more than you will ever know.’
“Pwease wake-up Val-we…” I feel her tiny fingers press into my palm, and I reach out to wrap my fingers in hers. “Mommy! She moved Mommy I just saw her move!”
“Ally, baby, I wish she did. I wish she did.” My fathers voice pitches in, the warm and comforting tone.
“Daddy look!” She tightens her fingers around mine and I squeeze them.
“You’re right, sweetie she is moving.” My fathers voice sound afraid, afraid that what he just saw is a trick of the eyes. I feel a strong fear lingering within his voice, and he clears his voice a little as to rid himself with it. But his cough comes out slightly weak, and jagged like a fresh cut or stitches.
“Val-we open your eyes!” I can feel Ally’s eyes watching me; my heart tugs at my soul… I cannot disappoint her. My eyes feel like gorilla glue has sealed them shut, I feel, the pressure is overwhelming. I manage to crack my eyes open. Ally squeels in delight. “Val-we! Hi Val-we, why have you been asleep so long. You promised to play barbies with me after your soccer game last night. Member? But then you fell asleep!”
I look at her and smile, and for the first time in what feels like forever, I truly do smile. I even feel a giggle emerge in my chest but it gets stuck in my throat and crackles out like a cough. Then, I remember the soccer game. I feel and hit my head…. I repeat the thought out loud, “I fell and hit my head.” Four sets of eyes are staring at me; their expressions are unsure and fresh with fear. The nurse holds my wrist and checks my pulse, my mother smiles and covers her mouth with her fingertips, my father presses his hand against my mother’s cheek, and Ally is still tightly gripping my hand. “I’m sorry Ally, I’m sorry I didn’t play barbie’s with you.”
“It’s ok Val-we, I brought them here!” She handed me her favorite red-haired barbie, it matched mine. Then she kissed my cheek with her Barbie. Then I realized that all the former truths I had believed in, each became it’s own wavelength, the true and the untrue, and the indifference of it all.