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Destructive Construction This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Black shadows of boards shoot upward, darker than the dark sky. I close my eyes as the night breeze sweeps by, rushing through empty open rooms. I close my eyes to the horrid sculpture of wood, glass and concrete, but am not rid of it. It will always be there, every time I look out the window at breakfast, every time we pull into the driveway, every time I go outside on a night like this and sit on this stonewall.

Orange clouds tear across the sky as my feet dangle, and I contemplate the pile of dirt, nails and cigarettes below me but decide to jump down on the other side anyway. Picking my way through the leftovers of a rusty steel frame, I find myself in the shell of a giant swimming pool. Surrounded on almost all sides by walls of concrete, I stand alone in the place I have come to hate, the artificial monstrosity that will block the sun.

It is a married couple, a doctor and his wife, and they have every right to build it. But just because you can doesn’t mean it is right. They chose to build a three-story fortress that towers over our property. Soon they will lounge on their balcony, peering into our backyard as if it were a fish bowl, because that’s what they have made it.

When did it become necessary to build a house big enough to be a hotel in a neighborhood of such small homes? When did it become okay to ruin your neighbors’ surroundings and dissipate their privacy? It just doesn’t seem right.

I look around at the menacing frame and am reminded that courtesy is dead. Have people just stopped caring about ethics or are they so ignorant that they can’t see how they are destroying the lives of those around them? I hope it is the latter. I scatter a fistful of pebbles against the wall. All we can do is watch as the construction unfolds behind us. This place is making me sick.

I don’t really have to care so much. In a few years I won’t live here anymore. All I will have are memories of a different place than it is now. I remember the games in that once-grassy lot, the tall trees that supported a swing, and the wild sunflowers that grew there. I realize that I can’t change what is happening, no matter how much I want to; I can only hold onto what I already have. These memories are something I will always have, and can never be buried under the foundation of someone else’s greed. We need to remember what was good, because maybe then there is hope when we ourselves are faced with the decision of what is right. We need to remember, because then in some way what is close to us will still exist.

I guess our new neighbors deserve a thank-you. They have taught me how much our actions affect others, and shown me what never to do to someone else. I can’t hold onto hate, because it makes me no better than they are. Life is far too short.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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