Just a Room? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     There was a slight breeze and the sun was shining. Such perfect days are few in Belgium, and it would have been a truly perfect August day if we hadn't been moving. Boxing up my toys, I thought about the wonderful experiences I had known in this house. I picked up the last box and walked down the stairs and gave it to my mother. We were silent, though we knew we were thinking the same thing: how quiet this house, once filled with all my noisy friends, had become. The doorbell rang, and I wondered who it could be.

A woman I'd never seen stood in the door. She came in, explaining that she had once owned the place. She was tall and thin, her blond hair pulled into a bun. She introduced herself to my mother and they politely shook hands. She told us that she had just moved back to the area and saw we were moving out, so she thought she'd wish us good-bye. Her English wasn't too good, but it was comprehensible. My mother offered her a cup of tea, which she gladly accepted. Then they wandered out into the yard where my mother showed her our pond.

My sister and I had spent hour after hour there catching salamanders (which we learned years later were newts). We used to scoop up the murky water and see if there were any in the shuffle of leaves. Soon we mastered the skill and could recognize and name them by the markings on their stomachs.

After a few minutes my mom came in with the lady holding a bucket with a salamander. I gasped. My mother was giving away a salamander so it could live in the woman's pond! It was the one my sister had once saved. It had been caught in the thorn bush hovering over the pond, and my sister had pulled the thorn from its stomach. It had the scar to prove it. I was filled with sadness when I realized which one it was. I agreed she could have it, though, and the lady quietly said good-bye.

I went to my room to see if I had left anything and then shut the door behind me. I looked around the playroom. There was one teddy bear on the floor. He was my favorite; my friend had given him to me as a joke. I used to give only stuffed animals for birthday presents because they were my favorite kind of presents. I collected them and put them in a huge cabinet. Each day I would take them out and play with them. Some of my best memories came from the playroom. I picked up the teddy bear and left. I couldn't bear the stillness in the room.

I slid down the stair rail as I had a thousand times before. Then I went into the living room and sat on the floor, with my back against the wall, right next to my sister. We sat and looked at the empty room. This was where we had spent all our Christmases, Easters and birthday parties. Now it was just a room with a couple of windows and two little girls sitting on the floor looking around in disbelief.

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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