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

It was autumn, I was in ninth grade, and I was walking home from the bus stop. I inhaled deeply, savoring the fleeting scent of falling leaves. It would be winter soon enough and thinking about numb toes and ice-cold bus seats made me crave my dog-eared copy of Cat's Cradle and the shelter of my blanket. I was trying desperately to push the thought of winter out of my mind when I saw the sign, peeking out from behind a sparse wood of shedding trees. It marked the crest of a path that stretched into the shadows. “Spring,” the sign declared boldly, with an arrow pointing down the pathway.

Spring. The season, I assumed, and according to that sign, it was located right down that path. I closed my eyes, picturing the unobtrusive warmth of the early spring sun, the call of songbirds, the anxious desire for summer. Down that path, there was a place called spring, a place where summer is never born and winter never lived, a place suspended between the eager anticipation of what's to come and the contented enjoyment of what is. I opened my eyes, and thoughts of ­winter were chased away by the knowledge that the quiet wonder of spring was a path's length away. I walked home instead of venturing down the path – autumn had not ended and spring wasn't going anywhere.

Winter startled me with its cold. Walking to and from the bus stop, I would cast a longing glance at spring. Its presence guided me through harsh days; if it had been particularly cold, I would reward myself with a peek down the path. I kept telling myself that the next day, or the day after that, would be the day I claimed spring as my own. Yet December, ­January, February slipped by, and I never strayed.

March strolled in lazily, not quite ready to thaw the frosted grass and teasing me with ­inconsistent warmth. I continued my daily walks, checking that spring still remained, until one day the sign ­disappeared.

I ran, bounding down the path, panic coursing through my body. I was desperate to find the long-awaited beauty of my spring at the end of that path. Instead, I found a car. And a house. And on the door hung a sign. Spring.

A moment of confusion, followed by a moment of clarity, followed by the understanding that I had been fooled. My path was a driveway, my eternal spring the surname of a family who lived in a house a block from mine. I walked quickly home before anyone noticed the crestfallen girl standing stupefied on the front lawn.

At first, disappointment settled in my rib cage as heavy as the stack of books looming unread on my bedside table. I had found a certain hope in spring – the hope I felt as a fifth-grader checking the mail for my ­Hogwarts Letter. But I hadn't found that much missed magic. I'd only ­succeeded in youthful delusion.

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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midgetgrrl said...
Apr. 12, 2013 at 11:27 am
i wish ur spring really was real... :D
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