The Picture This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Itwas warm, it was beautiful; Florence was absolutely beautiful. And I was free - Iwas lost, but I was undeniably free. Addicted to the breeze that made me sneeze,it was as far as an untouchable star to anything I had known. Stretched out onthat lovely gray cobblestone walk, I sat and watched the sky shrink and come thatmuch closer. The cool night was not as friendly, or maybe it was just a bit of arot, aware of its obvious vivacity, aware it had no need to compromise with mybody's weak ability to adapt to temperature shifts. Those traveling with me hadunjustly been robbed of the glowing night, already tucked into foreign beds.Every chirping cricket echoed the profoundness of where I sat alone. Every lazylizard reminded me of the beauty as they crawled along the white stucco walls.

I had a picture I had carried across that cold gray ocean to thisunfamiliar terrain. The crickets ceased and the lizards listened as I pulled itout of my backpack. As I sat on that bitter, gray cobblestone, I laid the pictureon the ground and it became an oh-so-lovely moment.

The burning starswere the only chance given for light. Distant cars hummed a symphony to the beatin my chest. The sliding winds chased each other through my tousled hair. I satupon a natural playground, busy with whipping winds and staring stars and cooingcars. But it was my picture that made me catch my suddenly homesick-stomachbefore it flipped, forgotten in a capsule of time.

And all at once, Iwanted to be there, had to be there, in my picture. I could see us and I couldtouch us, but I couldn't feel it. I couldn't feel his arm around my waist. Itouched my own waist, maybe unconsciously praying it would still be warm from hishand, but it was cold. Lowering my head in an onset of contemplation, I witnesseda curious camouflaged lizard slide across my bare ankle. I reached down to pickhim up but he scurried away in fear. I wasn't supposed to feel his hand on mywaist, because he wasn't supposed to be here. The little lizard lulled it to meas he crawled off my foot and onto the cool gray cobblestone.

As hedeparted he struck a chord, and I was forced to recognize that there was no oneto tell me it was well past two and that I had to be up at seven. No one to tellme that perhaps I should go to bed. No one cared that I was out there in pajamaswith my picture. This was my taste of freedom, and it was so sweet. This was allmy one thousand dreams I could not escape. And, oh, if he wasn't beautiful,beautiful as a Florence night with no one in sight, and the stars your onlychance of company, then a lizard has no place crawling along white stucco walls.

Haiti by Candice J., Hatfield, PA

Road Trip by Brian H., Benton, AR

A New Identity by Serena F., Riverside, CA

Hometown Proud by Jill P., Chesterland, OH

I'm from...(Based on a model by George Ella Lyon) by Olivia S., Denver, CO


By Ryan P.,
Greenwood Village, CO

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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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