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After I Left This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I never told you what happened after I left, did I? I knew I was never going to see you again. It really didn’t matter, anyway. Tomorrow you would be on a bus for Connecticut and I would be here, alone. I didn’t know what I was feeling. Was I supposed to be sad? Was I supposed to be happy? The only feeling I had was uncertainty.

It had just been raining. I could still feel the moisture in the air, but the clouds were gone. The wet black asphalt reflected the street lamps and flower petals from the trees stuck to the brick sidewalk. I walked quickly down West Springfield Street. I could hear the screams resonating from Tremont Street. A party was going on in one of the apartments. Police sirens echoed in the background. The city was still alive, but I didn’t feel part of it anymore.

I came to the Massachusetts Avenue T stop and took a left to the park. I could see the red neon arches of Back Bay Station. A man in his mid-twenties was lying on the grass with a white husky, staring into the darkness of night. He asked me what time it was. I didn’t have a watch, so I apologized and told him I didn’t know.

Maybe he was feeling the way I was. I wanted to ask him what he felt. I wanted to ask him if we could talk. I wanted to tell him he had the most beautiful dog in the world. But I just continued on my way toward the station, without another word.

I hurried along the sidewalk. A group of kids my age passed me. One of them asked me for a cigarette. I told him I was sorry, but I didn’t have any. He then asked me if I had any spare change. His friends giggled and some were embarrassed that he could even ask such a question. To his surprise I asked him to hold out his hands and I emptied my pockets of all the change that you had paid me back with. I think it was about three dollars of nickels. I didn’t need it. It was probably going to sit in a jar on my desk for five years, until I had some dire need for nickels. The kid thanked me profusely. I had given him enough to buy his own cigarettes and a soda.

I made my way to Back Bay Station. I quickly glanced at the clock as I ran down the stairs to track three. I had two minutes to spare. I watched people until the train came. Nothing was interesting or unique about them. They were all suburbanites thrown into the city for different reasons and now they had to go home.

The train rolled in. The wheels came to an earsplitting halt that left me partly deaf. The conductor gave his usual spiel.

“This is the South Attleboro local, stopping at Hyde Park, 128 Sation, Canton Junction …”

I got on the train and found an empty seat. I noticed a girl across the row. She looked like me … it was really odd. I tried to listen to her conversation, but she was speaking some Slavic language I couldn’t decipher. Maybe she was some long lost relative from Eastern Europe. I didn’t think so; every one of my relatives was killed in the Holocaust.

I forgot about the girl and put on my Walkman. “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails was playing. I wondered if it was appropriate for the mood I was in. No, it didn’t fit. I wasn’t that upset. You were gone, and I had to move on or else I would be caught up in another depression. You weren’t worth the trouble of being sad. The summer was coming up and it was almost a job requirement for me to be happy. You didn’t affect me that much. I smiled at that thought. My mom always said that I was too easily influenced and I had no mind of my own. I proved her wrong this time. It made me really happy to prove my mom wrong.

“Canton Junction,” the conductor hollered.

I got off the train and walked to my car. I didn’t cry when I left your apartment, knowing that I’d never see you again. And I’ll never cry for you.

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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