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


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Listen: these are the observations of a daughter whose mother left her.
This is what I see. I see my mother who was – and still is – an artist. She cut stone and carved marble, hoping to create something that would last. Three months after I was born, she left for Rome. She was not ready to lose her life, her self.

My mother had been away six months when I became very sick. She returned immediately. She could not touch me or even sit near me; I was so susceptible to disease that even the common cold would have been deadly. All she could do was stare through the thick hospital window that separated us.

When she was finally allowed to be with me, she found that she could not leave. She felt my fingers and hands for hours and hours, refusing food and drink, refusing sleep. She made a promise to herself. She would put her needs aside. All she knew, all she had ever wanted, would give way to this helpless child. All her life, she had lived for no one but herself; now, she would live for her only girl and no one else. From that day on, I was all that mattered, and since then, she has never left me. Through joy and sorrow, she has held me – tenderly, tortuously, tightly.

Outside, it is pitch black and bits of red speckle the horizon. These bits are the stuff of dreams, dreams of dusk left over from desire and dread. These bits, these dreams, fade a little every time I look away. Thus is the way of nature; it is ephemeral and brief. And thus is the way of all things but love. What make us human – love, trust, honor – are eternal. And it is only with time that one realizes the single quality that goes ­beyond love, beyond trust, beyond honor, beyond truth and acceptance, fury and mirth: sacrifice.

Not long ago, I asked my mother why she did what she did for me. To give up her independence, her art – was it not impossible and irrational? She looked at me, smiling, and replied, “Life is as it is. You'll see one day. You'll make big sacrifices and little ones, and that's the way it's supposed to be. And art is something I've never missed. My greatest, truest masterpiece has invariably been you.”

This is what I know. Sacrifice is no act of heroism, no fantastic feat. It is, as my mother said, a part of life. Sacrifice is a strange word and an even stranger concept. It is duty and obligation, beauty, humanity at its best. It is something to aspire to, not something to regret or resent. Only through sacrifice can one learn firsthand what is most great and true; my mother taught me that. The hard-earned lesson is this: individual moments may glimmer and shine but they soon become dry and dusty, lost forever. It is not the individual moments that matter, for only the spirit of sacrifice remains forever in the human heart.

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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16hlew said...
Aug. 17, 2012 at 12:45 pm
I loved this piece! For one, I'm from the town you're from so I guess that was a cool coincidence. Aside from that, your very first line was so intriguing and you really show an honest opinion on sacrifice, and what it is means to you. Great sentence variety too!
 
salysunshine said...
Dec. 15, 2011 at 11:56 am

the beans kid      

josh da man

 

 
sally sunshine said...
Dec. 15, 2011 at 11:49 am
the beans josh da man
 
Feathered_mortal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 21, 2011 at 6:51 am

This is amazing. For one, your vocabulary is fantastic! But more than that, you tell a story very well, I was captivated. Great work :)

 

 
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