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Author's note: I wrote this piece for my Sophomore English class a few months ago (In February). My English teacher was so moved by this piece and I hope you are too.
Her lower body flopped in the sand as her whole body felt as if it was hit by something. Her left arm shook violently as her eyes slowly opened revealing dark green orbs. Her brown thin eye brows narrowed in confusion as she crinkled her nose. “Where the hell am I?”
With her right hand she dug deep into the beige thick sand, scooping it up she felt familiar warmth that she hasn’t felt in such a long time. Slowly, she let the sand fall through the small gaps separating her fingers and pressed on it gently so it would be compacted evenly with the rest of the sand around her. She did not see the sun in front of her; she didn’t need to, to know that it was there. The sun's rays played with the back of her dark brown hair, it was almost night time. Thinking about the ocean, she pushed her body over, to face the sun.
Taking a deep breath she took in the ocean's salty smell carried by the calm breeze. The breeze was soothing, it tossed her hair from side to side and carried little particles of the ocean with it, splashing her face. She was taken in awe by beauty. The water closer to the shore was crystal blue, while the water closer to the horizon was a dark blue with small highlights of light purple. The sky about was nothing like she had ever seen; it was a light violet with large magenta and deep royal blue clouds that were all spread around the sun. The sun was right at the horizon, meeting the ocean and leaving a long spill of steam and fog. Looking back at the water she felt tempted to go in, she has always wanted to experience the whole meaning of something of its beauty. “Maybe just one dip.” She stood up and her world was spinning. She began to sway a little as her head began to pound as if her head were a steel jail and her brain was a prisoner, trying to get out by punching the walls. A moment later she was able to think and perform her actions again. She dusted the sand off her blue jeans and threw off her low top purple and white sneakers. Without hesitation she bolted off towards the horizon, shut her eyes tight, jumped into the calm waves. She felt warm as the water soaked her. Carefully, she opened her eyes to see hundreds of tropical fish swimming around in the reefs 10 feet below her. It was nothing like she has ever seen. Bright orange with black striped clown fish, light yellow angel fish, and many other bright blue and dark neon purple fish were swimming around, not noticing that she was there. Slowly, large air bubbled began to seep out of her mouth and nose, she was losing oxygen. Feeling the lack of air in her lungs, she closed her eyes and swam swiftly to the surface. Giant air bubbles escaped her thin lips as she swam. “Air! Air!” She threw her head out of the water and gasped for air. The rough wind whipped her face and she noticed that the smell of the air was not the same as the oceans.
It was a sweet smell of wild flowers mixed with sweet wild strawberries and the way summer night’s smell. She wiped the salt water from her eyes and stroked her long fingers through her hair. It wasn’t damp at all, she wasn’t wet. She opened her eyes with shock and looked at her fingers, not one was wrinkled from the water. She felt her jeans, they were dry, she felt her purple, long sleeved shirt, it was dry as well. “How did I get here?” She turned her head all around her and took everything in. It was dark out. There were no lights except for the large orange moon sitting behind the tall dark trees. There were thousands of stars shinning in the black sky. Many of them dancing along the sky as if it was a stage and they were the ballerinas. A tear slipped down her cheek when she heard a very small sound coming from the sky. The sound was so small that only in the quietest of moments it was very hard to hear. The sound was very lovely, it was a very soft pinging sound of two beautiful things trying to collide with each other. It was coming from the north side of the woods, and she hoped it was what she had always dreamed of seeing. As she waited patiently, the wind began to kick up and the thick high grass of the meadow began to sway, along with the trees and the flowers. She never kept her eyes off the sky, she didn’t want to miss it. From the corner of her left eye she saw a trail of yellow and green that dance together in the sky. “Oh my gosh, is this what I think it is?” The colors swayed in front of her eyes, making its way past the moon. Astonished she just watched with her mouth open as yellow and green clashed into one another, leaving long trails of their mixed color. The aurora borealis, something she had always wanted to see since she was five, was putting on a show, just for her tonight! As the lights moved out of her view, she frowned to herself. “I’m going to wake up from this dream soon. I’m gonna be forced to be brought back to my reality. I can feel it.”
“Pretty, ain’t it?” The voice came from behind her, it was coming out of the woods and into the meadow where she was. She was not frightened like her best friend's younger sister would have been, the voice was sweet but stern. It reminded her of honey, how just with one touch it could stick to you with its sweetness. She turned her head to the woods and a tall dark figure was already almost near her. She squinted her eyes trying to make out what he looked like. He was tall, about 6”1 and had thick black hair that flipped out at the sides. He had a think face and beautiful emerald green eyes. He wore black baggy sweat pants and a short sleeve navy shirt. He was like California surfer, lean. “I’ve never seen him before…how could he end up in my dream?” She just stared at him quizzically. “A mute aren’t you? Here.” He began to move his hands in quick motions, making simple sentences that she was able to understand. He signed her the same question he asked: “Pretty ain’t it?”
“I’m not a mute! And yes, it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before.” She turned her head over to the sky and gazed at the stars. “The way the colors move around in the sky, brilliant, like a collidiscope. The stars, I can’t even compare them to the ones I see at home that do nothing most of the time. They never move around. They mainly hide behind the clouds of my town.” Her eyes traveled over to the boy who just stood and showed no emotion, as if he was hiding a dark secret from her. “But ‘ey, what’s your name? And why do you look so, I don’t know like your hiding something?” She stared into his eyes and could tell that something was bothering him. “Ha. I bet you’re here to kill me or something? Well I’m sorry this is my dream, and I can wake up whenever I want. Father can’t get into my room, I took the key to the bedroom lock. See?” She placed her hand in her pocket and she violently searched around for a key. “See?” She pulled out a small bronze key and held it up into the moon light in his face.
“My name’s Andrew, and kill you?! You think I was sent here to kill you? Hahaha, oh please, Monica, why would I want to kill you?” When he said her name a cold sweat traveled down her back, making her shake.
That’s what they all say, and then they backstab. I’m sick and tired of being backstabbed-wait a damn second-I never told you my name. And since this is my dream, and I’m living in it, I don’t recall ever tellin’ you it.” He smacked his forehead and shook his head in his right palm. “Oh wait, I forgot this is my dream, and you’re a part of my imagination so of course, you’re gonna know my name.” She threw her head back and laughed to herself.
“Look, one, I’m not going to backstab and kill you. Two, of course I know your name, three, I’m not a part of your imagination, and four, you aren’t dreaming.” Monica stopped laughing and looked at Andrew who had a straight serious expression. She then through her head back and burst into laughter.
“Ahaha, ok, yeah, sure, ahaha, of course this is a dream! If it wasn’t, then how would I be able to go from one place to another in a blink of an eye? See?” Monica shut her eyes closed and in her mind pictured a mountain range.
She opened her eyes to the smell of fresh snow, about a day after it had fallen. All around her were tall white mountains with bare trees covered with white fluffy snow. In front of the mountain was a large quiet lake that reflected everything around it. “Only in dreams can this happen. Reality is too cruel to allow things like this to happen.” Monica grabbed her right wrist, pressing her thumb on her battle scars and began to rub them. “Reality and society are too cruel.” She whispered to herself locking her eyes with the water in the lake. She felt Andrew put his hand on her shoulder, but when she turned to face him, he was younger. He had a coconut haircut, and round light pink cheeks, his eyes were dark orbs and his lips were pierced into a crooked smile.
“You really don’t remember, do you?” He said in a high pitched, ten year old voice.
“I really don’t have anything to remember. Hey, what’re you doing?” Andrew slowly walked to the lake and knelt down. Monica walked to him and sat beside him on the cold ground that was covered in a thick sheet of light snow.
“Monica, may I see your wrists and arms please?” Monica grasped her right arm and held it close to her chest. No one has ever asked to see her arms and wrists before. “Please, Monica. Let me see your arms.” He held out his right palm and Monica hesitated to give him her arm. “Now let me take a look.” He pulled up her long sleeve and flipped her arm over. There were about fifteen white scars and five red ones on her wrist and forearms. On her upper arm were huge black and blues and large deep gashes in her flesh. A tear slipped down Monica’s cheek, this was the first person she has ever shown. The first person to have ever seen, but how did he know? How did he know about her scars and wounds? “A human mind does not create faces, it physically can't. The faces you see in dreams are faces you have seen somewhere in reality. Have you ever seen my face before? Now, do you remember how you got here? Monica shook her head letting more tears slip down her face. “Fine, then I’ll show you.”
“Show me?” Andrew reached for the lake and placed his finger into the water. Once he did that, a bright white light spud out of the lake engulfing everything in its path. The light blinded Monica, she squeezed her eyes shut and clung onto Andrew for insurance.
"Monica, open your eyes and look.” Monica opened her eyes to find herself and Andrew in a hospital room behind a big green curtain. A rush of pain traveled down Monica’s spine as she slowly walked over to the curtain. “You need to remember, Monica.” Andrew walked to the curtain and pulled it aside. Tears filled Monica’s eyes as she stood shocked bewilderment. In the hospital bed was a girl with an oxygen mask over her mouth and nose. Her head was covered with huge white bandage, and through the bandaged was pink spots, from her blood. Her face was scratched up pretty badly, there was a huge gash on her right side of her face, coming from her temple down to her jaw. Her arms, covered in bandages, were pressed together on her chest. Monica didn’t even want to know what the girl’s stomach and lower body looked like. “Do you remember anything?”
“That’s me.” Trying to remember what happened to her, Monica walked in front of the bed and stared at her body. “I don’t remember,” Monica whispered to herself. Andrew grew really quiet, the only sound in the room was a very slow but high pitched beeping noise. The sound was coming from the machine with its pink crayon drawing mountains.
“Touch her hand, Monica.” Monica slowly moved her feet and walked over to her body’s side. Monica looked at her beat up face and reached over to her hand. “Here goes nothing.” Monica reached for her hands and grabbed them. A sudden rush of darkness surrounded her. “Monica look.”
“You look at me when I’m speaking to you!” Yelled a tall built man with brown eyes at the top of his lungs. He wore a white wife beater and had a bottle of whiskey in his hand. “You sonuvabitch!” He threw the bottle of whisky on the hard wood floor close to the girl’s feet. Her face was bright red and her eyes were swollen with tears. She held onto her upper left arm with her right hand that was covered with thick red blood. “You little whore! Get your ass over here! I’m going to freaking kill you, you b****!” He lunged at her, but she was small and managed to get away. She ran into her living room trying to make an escape through one of the windows or back doors. She threw her body into the corner where her back door was and moved the door knob back and forth trying to open it. It was locked shut and she didn’t have a key. “I got you now!” She was trapped and had nowhere to go. He had an evil grin on his face that she couldn’t tell if he was her father anymore or Satin himself. She broke down into a sob as she saw what was in his hands, a folded metal chair.
“Daddy, please!” She yelled as more tears slipped down her cheeks. She watched him approach her with the same evil grin on his face. “Daddy, don’t! Daddy!” Without hesitation, he lifted the chair over his head and with all of his might, smashed it down on his daughter. She moved her arms over her head to protect it, and when the metal met her body, she felt all the hate and disgust her father has towards her. He kept hitting her over and over again, the cold metal stinging her skin. “Daddy, please stop!” Hot tears streamed down her face. For a moment, she didn’t feel the metal on her anymore, her father bent down in front of her. Her father got all in her face, and she could easily smell the cigarettes and whiskey. The smell made her nauseous and dizzy.
“You’re nothing but a piece of s***! Everyone hates you! You’re a disgrace! You act all tough and that nothing bothers you, but you’re a coward!” His words stung her like a bee. She wiped her tears from her face and eyes and looked at him. Her heart beat with anger and hatred. “Angry are you? I can see it all over your hideous face!” He lifted his hand to slap her and she took the moment to kick him between the legs. He went down hard and she scrambled to get up. “Y-you, you b-bit-b****!” She saw him grab himself in pain, she ran to the front of the house and unlocked the front door. “Monica don’t you dare!” She opened the door, grabbed a red poppy flower out of her flower bouquet, and darted out of the house, into the darkness as fast as she could. The cold kissed her cheek and small snow flurries covered her hair. She was panting heavily and her body was telling her to stop running. She couldn’t stop, he could be after her in no time.
“I have to keep running.” She ran all the way down her street and began running on a street that was very busy during the day, but barely busy at night. She held the flower tight between her thin fingers, trying not to let it get out of her grasp. “Ok, I’ll stop for now.” She was in the middle of the road tired and worn out. “Ok, time to get-“ She felt a pair of high beams on her back, and she turned her head to see a car right in front of her. Her body flew back and went numb.
The red flower lay on the ice cold ground. Not once did it get up to move. But only its beautiful red hair swayed back and forth when the sharp, icy wind brushed passed it. The wind stung the flower, but it did not move. The flower stayed in its place, letting the soft snow bury it.
“I got run over or hit by a car, Andrew. It was because of my father!” Monica played with her body’s hair.
“I am really sorry about the way your father treated you, Monica.” Monica looked over at Andrew who was older again.
“Andrew, why can you change ages? And oh my gosh, people, we have to hide!”
“No we don’t, they can’t see us. Look it’s your dad.” Her dad, followed by doctors walked into the room. Her dad had tears in his eyes as he looked at my body.
“Can we please leave? I don’t want to see him.” In an instant, Monica and Andrew found themselves on huge pink clouds over the ocean. “You never told me why you can change ages, Andrew.” Monica said lying on the cloud letting the wind brush her hair.
“Does your dad hate you cause of your mother?”
“ Wait a minute, I never told you about my mother. How do you know about her?” Andrew took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
“Because Monica, I know your mother-“
“I don’t even understand why my father hates me! Maybe it is because after I was born my mother died. I just don’t know!” Monica sat up and pressed her face into her knees.
“Monica, I can change ages because I died a few days after I was born. I can change ages even though I’m dead. My body is in the ground as a new born baby, but my soul, me, changes as I get older. I know your mother, Monica, because she too gave birth to me.” A cold sweat and shivers traveled down Monica’s spine.
“What? I’m not a twin. My father would have…” She didn’t have to finish her sentence, it then hit her why her dad hated her so much. He lost his first born, his one and only son. He lost his wife after she gave birth to her. He blamed her for both of their deaths. “What does she look like, Andrew?” She held her knees closer to her face so Andrew couldn’t see the tears slip down her cheeks.
“She’s quite beautiful. You remind me of her actually. She has short black hair and emerald green eyes. She’s not too tall, but not too short. She’s a good height for a woman and also she isn’t the skinniest person, but she sure isn’t fat. You know, she and I have always been looking after you.” Monica smiled in between tears.
“Dad never described her to me. He would always tell me that I didn’t deserve to know about her, since I was the one who killed her. She died right after I was born, my dad said he didn’t know why. I thought it was the pain, he thought it was because of me.”
“She did not die because of the pain! She didn’t die because of you either!” Andrew’s eyes flamed with anger. “She died because of a brain tumor. She told me when I was old enough to understand. She was a strong woman. Her doctors told her that she couldn’t have children, because her brain tumor could burst, but look,” he smiled pointing at Monica. “She had a beautiful strong girl. She never told our father about the tumor, she didn’t want to upset him. She lived a great life Monica, she always tells me stories about it-“
“I want to meet her, Andrew. Please, I want to meet her so badly. Where is she?” Monica stood up on the cloud and looked down at the sea. The waves were calm and steady, reflecting pink, orange and yellow pigments from the sun. “I want to be with her and you.”
“Monica, if you want to be with us you know that you can never go back to your home. You can never return back to your body. You’ll have to leave your friends and father and never return.” Monica shook her head.
“I know. It’s a sacrifice I am willing to pay. I’ll see my friends someday again, I know I will. To my dad, hell with him. Besides, everyone dies, not everyone lives. It’s in our nature to die…please bring me to mom.” Andrew grabbed Monica’s hand and gave it a tiny squeeze.
“As you wish.” The clouds began to swirl together. It was like a giant battle, each one began to engulf each other. Andrew and Monica stood statue strong. A giant cloud reached over to the one they were standing on and engulfed it. “Open your eyes, Monica.” Andrew patted the scared girl on the head. The whole entire time she was frightened, but never showed it. Monica’s jaws dropped as she looked all around her. Monica and Andrew were standing in a thin sheet of water that looked just like the sky. Thin white clouds and a bright blue sky were above them and below them. “Welcome to Salar de Uyuni.”
“It’s like were in heaven. This place is a mirror to heaven!” Monica smiled looking all around her. For miles and miles the ground matched the sky perfectly, not one single flaw to it. “Where are we, Andrew?”
“We’re in Southwest Bolivia, almost near the Andes. We’re at the world’s largest salt flats! And not only does it look like a gateway to heaven, it is a gateway to heaven!” He pointed his hand towards the horizon where land and sky met and became one. “Mom, she’s all the way down there. She’s at the gate waiting, I can feel it. No turning back from here, you know that.” Monica kept her eyes locked ahead of her and took a step towards her future.
He sat in the big, white room, alone. He felt uneasy and tense as he heard the slow beeps of the monitor that connected to the body in the bed in front of him. He felt alone in this big white room with walls that stretched on forever. He began to lose his mind a week ago when the doctors told him that they didn’t know when she’d wake up. Within those days and hours, waiting for her to wake, he never opened his lips to say one word to her. Maybe he felt awkward talking to a possibly empty shell. Or maybe he was just waiting for her to open her eyes, even move a part of her body and talk. But he just sat there, in a small arm chair in his dark denim blue jeans and black jacket and listened to the slow beeping and the silence. Both sounds were like innocent, high pitched screams of a frightened five year old girl. They were unbearable. “Beep………..beep………..beep………” He was thinking of all the words he could say, but would she hear? “Beep……..beep….beep…beep…beep.” He looked from the body in the bed to the monitor next to her and saw the lines move up and down in a faster pace. “Now I don’t know if you can hear me,” he walked to the body and gently touched the girl’s hand that was folded on her chest. It was cold to his touch. “But I want to say that I’m sorry, and, if I could, I would take away and erase all the pain I put you through. Just please wake up, please!” His eyes traveled to the bouquet of flowers on the table next to her. There was one big red poppy in the middle of beautiful yellow and orange spotted canna flowers. They were her favorite flowers.
“Monica, we’re here, look!” Andrew took the first step onto the large, golden brick staircase that rose into the sky and sun. “I’ll race you up there!” Andrew sped up the stairs.
“Hey no fair!” Monica jumped onto the staircase and charged after him.
“Monica, can you hear me? Wake up please! I know you’re there, I can hear your heart monitor beat faster and faster. Come back to me please!” He picked her hand up and for the first time in a very long time, brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. He didn’t notice when he moved the hand away from his mouth that it was wet. He had finally started to cry for the person he had abused. “I’m so sorry Monica! Please forgive me!”
“Sir. Please sit in your chair! Her heart is beginning to beat way too fast. We’re going to have to shock her!” A doctor and a staff of nurses barged into the room with worried faces and rushed to begin their procedure.
“Hey, no fair! You got a head start, Andrew!” Monica yelled as she reached the top of the staircase. She bent her knees, breathing in deeply. The air tasted different to her, very damp and musky. It had the smell of a forest lake or pond in the fall, when all of the red, orange, yellow and brown leaves covered the ground, after it had rained. It was a fresh smell that she was very familiar to her. She was no longer in Bolivia. Monica was surrounded by a thick gray blanket from the sky to the ground. “Andrew! Where are you?” The sound of rushing and crashing water tingled in her ears. “There’s gotta be a body of water somewhere.”
“Hahahaha! Weeeeeeeee!” Andrew’s voice came from far ahead of her.
“Andrew!” Monica ran as fast as she could to find her brother. As she moved forward, she couldn’t see anything, the darkening fog grew too thick for her, even the jeans she was wearing.
He felt a small buzz in his pant pocket as he waited. Quickly he reached into the deep pocket to reach his cell phone. The cold metal grazed against his warm, stiff hand as he pulled it out in front of him. The ID on the phone showed up as Mike DiLacardo. A cold sweat traveled down his back as he answered. “Hello? Hi, Sir. It’s nice talking to you, boss.” There was a short pause as he listened to Mike carefully. “Yes sir, I understand….I know things got way out of hand at work that day…neither him or I meant anything… I thought a lot about my reactions from that day, when I was at work and when I got home,” He looked at Monica with sorrowful eyes. “I was just-uh yes sir! Thank you sir so much! You won’t regret having me back sir! See you Monday sir! Thank you!”
“Monica, come on!” The sound of rushing and crashing water roared, it sounded as if the body of water was right in her ears. Monica took a step forward, her right foot got completely wet and it felt like she was going to fall forward. The fog slowly began to clear from underneath her and water splashed onto Monica’s face. She could hear the sound of crashing water against water and rocks from below her. She was standing on top of a waterfall. “Monica come on, I’m waiting for you!” She looked down where the voice came from. Andrew was in the water below her, she couldn’t see him, but she can sense him.
An orange pedal fell on the floor besides him. Ever since her scare, that was just a scene of a movie to him playing over and over in his head, he never left her bedside. He was prayed every hour hoping for a sign that she might wake up. “Monica, please.” He whispered to the quiet body. His eyes traveled up and down her clothed body and stopped at her folded arms. Suddenly, her left arm moved off her chest and rested on the bed. “Monica!” A small tear dropped onto his pants as he looked to the ceiling saying ‘thank you’.
Monica walked away from the edge of the waterfall and sat at the bank of the river. There standing tall and proud next to her was a single, red poppy flower that swayed with the wind.
She threw off her shoes.