"Sweet Baby James" This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Sometimes you experience a moment, a definitive second, that is beautiful and just perfect. During these moments, I often ponder how wonderful life would be if it were like a movie. You could fast forward through the bad parts, put the confusing times in slow motion and pause on the perfect frames. The human memory serves this purpose in a way, and if I were to pick a recent moment to press that pause button on the remote, I would have no trouble choosing.

Emily and Michelle, Michelle and Emily; some call us “the Bobbsey twins,” even though we look nothing alike. It was great to spend the Fourth of July having fun together. As we descended the driveway, the gravel got into my flip-flops, scraping the tender bottoms of my feet. When we reached the yard, I had to shut my eyes against the stinging smoke of a bonfire. Once beyond it, I saw a small, weathered maroon cabin, a stretch of green grass and a beautiful lake. We stood close to the fire, staring into the orange flames leaping through the coal and wood. The warmth beat against my cheeks and seemed to radiate from the inside out.

We took off our shoes and walked down the small hill. The grass was moist with dew and felt lifeless under my feet. When we reached the water’s edge the small canoe beckoned us to sit on the two small seats with peeling paint and go for a ride.

We pushed the canoe into the water, the gritty rocks and dirt scraping its underbelly. Once in the water we hoisted our wooden oars and placed them in the black mirror of water. It did not shatter, but swallowed the oars, making them invisible in the twilight. Then my muscles tightened and the oar rose with a lapping sound.

We made our way effortlessly to the center of the lake. I couldn’t tell when I touched the water; it was the same temperature as the air. The stillness of the water stretched so far I imagined my fingers creating ripples which spread to the ends of the earth. The lights, small floating balloons of yellow in the distance, led our eyes to the outdoor concert nearby. The air was filled with the sound of a guitar and the smooth voice of James Taylor crooning “Sweet Baby James.” The music blew across the water, floating past my ears in a soft, magical way. We stayed there for a short time, or longer, I can’t be sure because time seemed to be waiting, to be standing still.

Then out of the darkness, a great circle of light exploded in the sky, and golden raindrops fell to the water. The fireworks that night, in that setting, can only be described as how you feel eating a delicious peach. It starts slowly as you sink your teeth into the skin; like when you hear the zipping noise which warns another explosion will soon be in the sky. Then you bite into the fruit with its stringy, soft flesh and juice, and the taste just explodes. Tangy, sour and sweet all at once, like the fireworks illuminating the velvet sky.

The reflections on the water made it seem like we were floating in the air and surrounded by an explosive rainbow. At the moment the fireworks burst, I could see the world in perfect detail: the edge of the water gently lapping the rocks, the brown, weather-beaten dock, my friend’s eyes glowing as she smiled toward the sky. That moment was one I will never forget. I know that soon my friends and I will be moving in separate directions, yet no matter what I do, or where I go, I find it comforting that I can always close my eyes and let the movie of my life play. I can rewind and pause on that night in the canoe with my friend, and enjoy that moment of summer, that moment of life at its absolute finest, over and over again.

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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