Good-bye, Caracas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

     I know what it's like at 3 a.m. in the middle of Caracas. Believe me - not many people do. The streets are deafeningly silent except for the occasional honking of a taxi piercing the still air with the force of a needle popping a balloon.

The atmosphere is mysterious and dangerously empty. The absence of bustle and activity in this big city leaves me slightly unnerved. But at the same time, the thought that my home has two completely different personalities is strangely calming, and I am spellbound.

All the stores are closed now; the tall buildings block the glow of the moon and the dusky streetlights are my only source of light. The only people I see are dark strangers huddling in the shadows of a drugstore trading stories over a cigarette. The smoke drifts my way and mixes with the cinnamon aroma from the bakery, the cold, fried smell of empanadas, and the all-too-familiar scent of gasoline lingering from the day's activities.

A dog limps down the street, its left leg obviously having seen better days. His eyes are sad and his tummy is sunken in. I am afraid to touch him since he might carry disease. At the same time, though, my heart goes out to him and all I want to do is give him a better life.

I look toward the sky and there, beyond the tallest buildings, the Avila stands looming over the city in all its magnificence, just as it always has been - protecting me. I remember the many hikes I have taken up that mountain and know that I will miss its greatness and indescribable beauty I have taken for granted. As I stare in awe, a light breeze whispers words of comfort, and I think how much I will miss this place.

I walk up the sidewalk with my best friend beside me, avoiding the cracks in the cement blocks. I know them by heart now. We reminisce about all the crazy stuff we've done; every building brings back unforgettable memories.

It's time to say good-bye now. I'm leaving tomorrow and moving to Pennsylvania. It's going to be so different. Hot tears sting my eyes and I can't hold them back. I hug my friend for as long as I can. I can taste the salt of my tears as they cascade down my face. As we pull away, I can see my reflection in her sad, shining eyes. We'll see each other again ... someday.

At least I've spent my last night strolling along the streets of my favorite city. I love Caracas at three o'clock in the morning.

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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Anton said...
Feb. 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm
Really beautiful  short story about caracas.. I was born here, and soon will be leaving for quite some time. the atmosphere of the city couldn't be more honestly true or accurately described. congratulations.
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