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You sat cross-legged in a living room recliner, pink socks donned, advertising that they are the world's softest. Swinging your feet out of slippers, you settled in. You always wore your long gray hair in a high ponytail, one of about a thousand different scrunchies to hold it, depending on the day's outfit. I think that one was brown, that day. Your pretzel legs were covered by fall colored paisley corduroy pants from a rich woman you know whose old clothes you liked.

My favorite, of all your eccentric attire, was the burnt orange Princeton sweatshirt. I told you that that was the precise color of Wednesday. You tried your very best to wear it on those days, though the laundry cycle didn't always match up. I remember one particularly overcast October day, a Wednesday, as you read us Romeo and Juliet. You felt like my mother. Not my actual real life mother, but everyone's mother. You told us that we should do one nice thing for ourselves every day. Until that day, I had been relentless, and am sometimes still. We tend to forget that we ourselves are also people, that despite our shortcomings, we deserve to be loved.

I have to say that you gave me more love, though distant love, than I had ever expected. I think of you still, nearly every day, because when I was a scared fourteen year old girl who had no idea who she was, you were my mother. You gave me an hour each day of home, you let me be content, and I didn't have to hold my breath.

I took you in as small doses of orange. You were a fire to warm my hands by, you were always just a few rooms away in which I could find open arms. I can hear your squash sandwiches sizzling in a pan in the morning, just as I imagined them from your stories. Two slices of bread, bologna and American cheese melted, squashed flat and cut up into little squares. I can hear your shrill calls as the bell rings, telling us to sit down and fasten our seatbelts. I did, I did, and at the end of the year I walked right out of that room with you. I unfastened my seatbelt and now I'm traveling.

Wherever I go, I like to take with me small doses of orange. There are these post-it notes that are pretty close, a tube of burnt sienna oil paint, the copy of The Catcher in the Rye that I traded you for because the color was just right. Wherever I go I look for the orange, and not only on Wednesdays. Wherever you go, it will be a blessing to the people there. And so though it is brimming only with sparkling apple cider, I raise my glass to you, Mrs. Kim, thank you.




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