July 15, 2011
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To put her feelings into words, one might say that she was feeling restless, weary of her insignificant chores and problems surrounding her final year of high school. However, the adjective of “restless” would do her no justice; her feeling was a verb of a new kind. It was an intense passion of running towards the unknown and leaving the world behind, all to pursue the chance of a dream. She was a verb. Her presence was a verb, an ever-moving-forward sound. Her own name was a feeling well shared by her peers; the emotion she felt could only be described by a name: her own.
To anyone who observed her, she seemed happy, bright, shining and kind. She laughed often and she laughed loudly. She wore her hair in yellow curls, and she saw the world through smiling eyes. Her nose was usually in a book, her hands generally splattered with paint. She wore a hummingbird necklace, because she dreamed of flying. Once, a friend told her that a hummingbird was an animal just like herself: cute, tiny, full of energy, and constantly in motion. She was a firework on a June night. She was the highlight of people’s thoughts. She loved her life, but life didn’t always love her back.
She was similar to many among her age group, but in more ways than naught, she felt different. Extended, like a bird on a branch, she longed to fly from the heavy bows of mundane livelihood. She was prone to strange habits, such as keeping objects overlooked by many. She collected cookie fortunes from Chinese restaurants, just to see if they came true. She wrote down significant happenings on slips of paper and stuffed them in a dusty painted soda bottle, for safe keeping. She taped anything inspiring to the walls of her room; she wrote poetry on her dresser drawers with a blue permanent scrawl. She made wishes on everything: dandelions, and birthday candles, shooting stars and rocks brushed by her delicate red lips, 11:11am and 11:11pm. But interestingly enough, she always wished for the same lovely musing.
His name was a verb of its own accord. He to, seemed “different” to onlookers. He was more solid than she, with her unharnessed dreams and ambitions. He was more concrete, but remaining whimsical as well. They were alike in numerous ways. He never followed the rules completely: If a teacher proposed that he write a thesis, he would write a novel, just because it fit better with his ideas. He often thought of interesting concepts, far beyond the reach of other class mates. He was worldly, in a strange sense of the definition. But whatever he was to the outside, to her, he was something of worth.
She noticed him on the first morning, miles away, chattering with a group of girls. One complained that he never stopped talking, but she didn’t seem to mind. He always talked about interesting things, things with depth and substance, unlike that of her peers’ nonsensical mumblings.
She noticed him again when he was made a celebrity of a small town, two years later.
She noticed him once more when he showed up in art class and he began speaking to her, instead of a gaggle admiring thirteen-year-olds. A friendship was formed.
He was beautiful, to be honest: Black hair, colorful eyes, and a lazy grin on his dark face. When the art teacher asked her to photograph him for an assignment, she obliged however awkward the endeavor was. After time they laughed and joked about it, but she never forgot that special morning.
They went well together, and after some encouragement from her friends, she took him to a dance. She wore red and he wore black. They were young and it took only a moment for her to want more than a friendship.
They both went well with the same group of friends. Once, when several of her companions had arranged a trip to the movies, the girl with the heartbeat of a hummingbird and the boy with colorful eyes, went on an un-official outing. They huddled together in the chilly night as the sky grew black and the silver screen played a story. As the credits rolled, he caught her gaze. She considered how much she wanted those eyes and lips and everything attached to them. She thought about kissing him, spoiling their “friendship”, ending the careless easy-going feelings. She dropped her eyes and forgot about her ideas hot behind her teeth. It was better this way.
The friendship blossomed with the summer heat and the yellow roses. When her family held a party, she was allowed to invite a few friends. One text, two texts, three texts, four, all sent out for the event. One response: his name lit up her phone. They spent the night running down the abandoned back roads, catching fireflies, and counting the stars. She lay down on the rough pavement, in the middle of the crossroad. He lay beside her, and they gazed at the moon. It was a happy night, with no consequences. She recalls it with optimism.
But things became complex when she met another soul, out of step with society. She fell in love with him almost immediately, and she was surprised how quickly she forgot about the boy from art class. She adored the new smile of her summer lover. She came close to spending her life with him. However, he snatched her heart, after eight months, and left her with a gaping, bleeding wound in her chest. She couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t forget. She couldn’t help herself, but for one remedy: writing.
The girl always was strong in language and literature; she wrote impressively and was praised by her English teachers. But on a cold night in January, she began to write for no one but herself. She wrote a novel, unknown and hidden from those close to her. She told of her broken heart and her broken dreams. She poured out all the pain from the breakup, like a bandage suppurating a wound. And after much time, she felt almost whole again.
Then the colorful eyes found her gaze once more. They spent time together, although nothing was ever planned. Her orbit casually ran off its course and she found herself revolving around her old dreams once more. He was still kind, still funny and still interesting. He still did things his own way, and he still talked constantly. She sang with him, and danced with him; she partied with him and ate dinner with him.
They went to shows together, theatre and cinema. They took pictures of each other at homely little restaurants. They went out on dates (as her mother insisted on calling them dates, even if the two were just close friends) to faraway places. They did handstands at a park in Chicago at midnight; they got lost in a Michigan high school looking for the community pool. They were both enrolled in the same college, in dormitories parallel to one another. People assumed they were together romantically, and maybe in some sense of the word they were. It was clear she thought of him fondly, and by his mannerisms, one could tell he wanted her as well, but his words conflicted his body language. He wanted no one, not even the golden girl of his thoughts. So peers deemed them as friends, and friends deemed them as something less vague. It didn’t matter in the end. She was happy. He was happy. All was fine.
However, it wasn’t until another dance came along that things changed between them. She had asked a new mate, one of her other platonic friends to a gala ball in May. She wore a dress of blue and her date wore a white carnation in his lapel.
It was hellishly hot at the dance, giving the girl’s date a bad migraine. She danced alone for a moment- she loved dancing- until the boy from her earlier years took her hands and spun her recklessly. He dipped her, as she arched her back. The two danced and swayed, mock tangoing to the sultry echoes of the dance hall. She laughed in a dizzy euphoria as he dipped her once again. The girl came up too quickly, too suddenly, too soon, and as the guitars played on and the song continued, her red lips crashed into his own. It was an accident, but it happened all the same.
The dancing ended and the two found each other at a friend’s house for an after party. The night was aging, it was nearly four in the morning, when most of the guests left and the girl and boy were left with two others, who were also spending the night. Jokingly, the boy climbed onto the couch and invited the girl to sleep on the edge with him. She confirmed it with a smile. It was accubitus of course-innocent in every way. They slept in each other’s arms: her head of curls rested on the rise and fall of his chest. In that moment, her restless feeling began to grow, until it enveloped her entirety and took control of her fatigue.
So there she was, a few days after the night with him. The restlessness only grew stronger, and she had the wild impulse to simply …let go. She was sick of missing opportunities. She was disgusted by how often people let go of their dreams and ambitions. People never followed what they desired, only what was required. Destiny was only a concept-no one ever thought much of it. No one tried, really truly, tried to control it or tried to suppress it- they all just watched as the chips fell to the green felt table. She wanted to leave, to run and stretch her legs. She wanted to fly, like the hummingbird on her throat. She wanted to make her own destiny.
In the starlight, she climbed out her windowsill, and fled from her house. Driving was not an option. She tore off into the darkness. She ran for miles through the woods, past country roads and city stop signs. She crossed the town in moments; she reached a house tucked away by rippling waters. She tapped the glass of his room. He opened it for her.
He spoke her name. Three little syllables fell from his lips.
She was a verb, he was a verb: Two people in constant motion. She found herself at his side in the darkness, and at last, the emotions transformed into something unique. She found the name of the feeling that touched every cell of her being: she called the feeling “emily”.

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