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Sleep she says. She says I’m sick. She says I might not make it. She says that I need to understand this—I need to grow up for just a minute and understand what’s going on. She says the world is spinning so fast, I might fall off.
I say let me be a kid. Let me smell the sweet scent of the cherry blossoms before I go. Let me swing on the swing that used to be too tall for me to go on. Let me snuggle with my blanket and teddy bear and dream what little kids dream of.
She says I cannot go outside. She says I cannot open the window. She looks into the lake of blue I call my eyes and stares me down. She says nothing is going right. She says that any minute could be my last.
I say I don’t care. I say let me out, let me go. Let me hug my best friend. Let me climb up the tree house my dad built for me. Let me run up a hill, stretch out my arms and scream. Let me blow bubbles in my sister’s face. Let me twirl around a baton, and fling it up in the air so high I can’t see where it lands.
She says she doesn’t care what I want. She says she knows best. She says if I ever want to make it, I better listen. She says something I don’t want to hear. So I don’t listen.
I say that I know what’s best for me. So let me chew bubble gum and licorice. Let me drip ice cream on my new dress, and let my mom wipe it up with napkins. Let me make the seesaw go up, and my brother make it go back down again. Let me run around with my friends. Let my mind stop thinking for a minute.
She says I should really sleep. She says I need sleep. She says without sleep I won’t get better.
I say all I need is mint chocolate chip ice cream and a hug.
She says ice cream isn’t good for my body right now.
I say ice cream is good for my soul.
She says she can’t take me anymore, and demands I go to sleep. She says I’m annoying.
I say I know I’m annoying. I say I need some fun, so I will annoy you.
She asks why annoying her is fun.
I say because she won’t even let me open the window.
She says sleep. She smiles for the first time in hours. She seems…happy.
I say okay. The nurse leaves and I close my eyes. I’m swimming in the darkness under my eyelids.
She says in the hallway that I’m a good kid. She says that she hopes I’ll be all right.
I breathe, and soon I smell the cherry blossoms. I am gone.