The Diamond In The Ring This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Morning reminds me of the beginning of life. The world must be braved. Memories crowd like shadows, but are pierced by the first grey light of dawn. They flee. Consciousness returns slowly, as if part of me is reluctant to awake. Obstacles loom in my path. Each contains a challenge to be overcome and a lesson to be learned. The lesson may only be learned by overcoming the challenge. In the morning I feel like a child trading the warmth and security of the womb for a life of bright light and endless opportunity.

I am reluctant to leave the warmth of my bed, but I know I must. Lingering memories flash in a muddled kaleidoscope before my fuzzy vision, and I sigh. I make my way half blindly toward the shower, bumping often into half perceived objects. The water hisses and steam rolls up in billowing clouds so that my feet are hidden from view as I shift them back and forth on the icy tiles. Warmth, reminding me of sleep, is snatched away as the shower door shuts behind me with a plastic "c-click." My blood is flowing faster now, and I can clearly perceive a squinting face in the glare of twin mirror bulbs. My breath comes faster, frosting the glass as I tug at tangles in damp hair. The deafening "Bzzzzzzzz" resounds throughout the dormant household as I shave away bristling whiskers just long enough to prickle the touch. The hum of the microwave stops with a loud "Beeeeep," and breakfast is served. I think that everyone in the house must be up by now, but I hear no stirrings as I pick the blueberries one by one from the hapless muffin. A flash of cold from the milk used to wash it down, and I am on my way.

I trade muffled words with my father as we walk to the car. The crash of car doors being shut interrupts our hushed conversation. The car seems weary as it grumbles to life and labors to get up on our way. The welcome heat revitalizes us, and we comment upon the usual daily matters. The cold burns like flame as I stand under a bleak sky waiting for the trolley. The green car rumbles up and I board, plopping into the nearest seat to thaw out. The car starts up again with that common jerk, and rumbles off down the track. T riders become innovative in finding ways to pass the travel time, for the T is too jerky for work and too dangerous for sleep. It is a rare T rider who has never awoken to find the doors closing at his stop.

I change lines, and wonder for the thousandth time at the incredible variation in T riders. A woman that I could imagine attending lectures at Harvard walks among heavy-booted laborers, and they pass a dirty man snoring on a bench without a second glance. As I pass the same man, I realize how much the T immunizes riders from such sights, even as he clutches something in a brown sack for security. I stand among others, waiting, as all T riders spend much of their time doing. The familiar grumble and rush of air signifies the approach of the Braintree car, which a month before would take me past my stop toward points unknown. I board in confidence, however, knowing full well that the new JFK/U-Mass stop eliminates the problem.

The Redline is one of the more efficient T lines, and it is also, ironically, one of the dirtiest. The floor is adorned with scattered fragments of glass accompanied by the smell of hard liquor, while the diversity of advertisements is matched only by the variation of graffiti adorning them. Watching the lines and patterns of the tunnel way as they flash by used to be one of my favorite pastimes, but now my interest has been dulled by overexposure. Time is warped by the T, for even though it may seem like an eternity to your stop, you are often caught off guard when it does roll around. The doors clank open, and I am greeted by a blast of frosty air as I set out toward school. I pull my jacket closer against myself, wishing for the weekend that, like a diamond in a ring, interrupts an endless circle. n


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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