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

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     I stare at the paper with the instructions: “Write your name, likes, memories, and leaving thoughts.” I’m allowed just 875 characters to express the last four years of my life.

Millions of seniors have done this before me. They managed. But it’s unfair. Soul-searching isn’t my forte, and letting go of the past doesn’t come easily to me. This senior write-up, I decide, may be the most difficult assignment I’ve tackled all year.

I can write my name without a problem, but what about my likes? How can I express my love of lazy summer sunsets spent lounging on the warm concrete of the pool deck listening to music? How can I describe the happiness I feel when I sit with my boisterous family around the dinner table, eating my nono’s spaghetti and meatballs? “Summer” and “meatballs” won’t do.

I stumble into yet another obstacle when I delve into my memories. There’s no room to mention the time Mr. Newkirk threw the marker against the wall and it exploded, or the walks up from the bus stop with the neighbors. Where can I fit in the Fourth of July party when Alida and I spent the night playing flashlight tag and watching the illegal fireworks display? What about our first real road trip to Cape Cod when Lauren went around the rotary five times while I frantically searched for the correct exit? It’s memories like these that comprise life, and even so it’s memories like these that can’t go into the time capsule that is my tiny write-up.

At “leaving thoughts,” I finally break. There is no possible way for me to thank the parents who raised me and provided me with everything I could ever need or want. I can’t fit my appreciation for my siblings into one sentence, my thanks for their childish entertainment that filled the first 17 years of my life. And what could I ever write to my friends? “Thanks for the memories?” I don’t think so.

The most pivotal piece of writing in my life is an exercise in failure. Just 875 characters. I can’t do it.

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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