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The Things We Stay Alive For This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I'm swinging on the blue swings and imagining the cemetery across the field, even though it's hidden now that the summer's made everything grow. I'm licking ice cream piled a foot high with my best friend. I'm sitting on the pier I'll never stop going to and watching the sailboats come in as it gets dark with my dad. I'm running my hand down every aisle at my ­favorite grocery store. I'm driving through the empty high school parking lot and wondering if I did okay. I'm driving along all the back roads I can remember and can't and laughing, laughing and driving as fast as I can and breathing more deeply than I have in months, years.
This is the last summer of being a kid and the first summer of everything else. This is my reward for not running away, for biting my tongue, for saying the right things even if they were the wrong things. These trees, the giant oaks more gorgeous than anything, are my trophies. The flowery meadows are my medals. And I grab and hold all of it as close as I can, right up to my chest, my heart burning just on the other side.

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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