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Unnamable Forces This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The faint itch of dust filled my nose, and the salty taste of sweat on my upper lip mixed with the discordant buzz of the cicadas. I sat in a mesquite tree, a wizened beacon at the center of our dirt yard. The sweltering Arizona heat had prevented anything else from growing in the dry, caked dirt laden with tiny fissures. Whenever I felt the need to look inward, I would sit in this mesquite tree and think, sometimes for the whole day, and today was one of those days. Sitting there staring at the telephone clenched tightly in my sweaty hand, I could think of one thing, and one thing only – her.

Contradicting every message I tried to send from my brain to my shaking hands, my fingers trembled over the numbers I shouldn’t have known. Though I desperately wanted to tell her how much I liked her, the voice of reason somewhere inside me was praying that nobody would answer, and it got its wish.

“Hi. We’re not at home right now but please leave a message and –” The calming voice that could only belong to a mother was stifled as I turned off the phone. I couldn’t tell a machine how I felt. I needed to talk to her. I sat there, my clothes sticking to my clammy skin, indecision racking my thoughts.

After a moment, I leaped from the towering tree and rushed into the garage to find my bike, barely remembering to satisfy my parents with the lie that I was “off to the park.” Within 30 seconds I was speeding down the road toward everything that made me uncomfortable, nervous, and unsure.

It seemed right to consider what I should say upon arriving, but nothing came to mind, and thinking only made me more anxious. My trip, although it was a fairly long distance, was uneventful.

I finally caught sight of her house. I realized I had half expected to find that she lived in a castle or mansion. My pace slowed and I focused once more on the task at hand. Abandoning my bike in the middle of her driveway, I forced myself into a sort of stiff march, stopped my legs from driving me straight into the door, and rang the bell.

It seemed like hours before anyone answered, and I was about to leave when the door swung open to reveal her beaming face. Seeing this, I got overexcited, and the words I had been attempting to formulate spilled out in a jumble.

“Hi, Ijustwantedto … saythatIreally … likeyouand … maybeweshould … gooutsometime?” My pathetic excuse for a sentence trailed off as I saw her expression change. I later learned that she had been expecting her father home from a long ­business trip and, her parents being divorced, she had been excited to see him.

She mumbled my name, and said, “Oh, um … hi.” She read my horrified expression, and my discomfort transferred to her like a virus of adolescent awkwardness. “Well, I don’t really like you ….”

I could hear nothing. The bright colors and neat furnishings of her home began to spiral into a blur, and whatever speech I had retained escaped me, my lips glued together by unnamable forces. After an unbearable, drawn-out silence, I whispered a weak “bye,” turned, and moped back to my bicycle.

The wind blew through my hair as I sped through the neighborhood. Everything was a jumble, my thoughts and emotions conflicting, but the rush of air helped calm me.

By the time I made it back to my garage, I realized that I needed to put on a show of indifference for my parents, which I did very well. My mother called my name when she heard my heavy breathing at the front door. “How was the park? You took a while.”

I stepped into the kitchen, where she was making me a bowl of macaroni, and downed a glass of water before answering nonchalantly. “It was okay. Sorry I took so long. I went to the grocery store for a snack.” My parents never learned of the events that transpired that day that helped shape the person I have become.

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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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

summerpoet817 said...
Jul. 23, 2009 at 11:41 pm
Hey that's hard. But you know what? I've always been afraid to say something like that to the people I've liked. At least you did, so you'll never have to agonize over what might have been. I admire you for just doing it.
 
His-Bright-Green-Eyes... said...
Jul. 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm
okay now i'm sad... i agree with CelloString what? no happy ending?
 
CelloString said...
Jul. 18, 2009 at 1:38 am
That's it? No happy ending?
 
Ruth T. said...
Jul. 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm
Aww...
 
MelodyJoy said...
Feb. 5, 2009 at 3:58 am
That really sucks. Im sorry
 
Sunnysall said...
Dec. 21, 2008 at 12:57 am
that must sting
 
MusicalJoy said...
Dec. 14, 2008 at 4:32 pm
Ouch
 
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