The dull light of the flashlight played over the familiar faces inthe circle assembled on the grass of Foss Hill. It was my last night at the Center for CreativeYouth, the art program I had worked so hard to get into. It seemed just days since I had arrived onthe school grounds with 166 other students, all of us shy and unsure of what to do. Now we wereeach saying a little something about each other and emotions were swirling. We had spent five weekstogether and no one wanted to leave.
Every time the flashlight was passed to another andthat person mentioned me I felt as if I could cry. A knot tightened in my throat yet the tears didnot come, making my head ache from the emotional build up. I couldn’t imagine leaving all thewonderful people I had met in these five short weeks. When I arrived, I was shy and kept to myself- I wasn’t even very open with my friends at home. Now that the program was coming to an end,though, I realized I had been around so many people who were open with their thoughts that I hadpicked up this trait and shared almost everything with them.
My watch read 12:30 a.m. Thirtyminutes till curfew, which had been extended from the usual 11 p.m. Tears began to roll over mycheeks. My friend Nick sat down and hugged me.
“It’s going to be okay, Sarah.We’ll still get to see each other once in a while ... please don’t cry,” hemurmured. I buried my face into his shoulder as he rocked me back and forth. I couldn’timagine this happening, these people felt like family to me and it was as if I would never see themagain.
Then the flashlight was handed to me. Wiping my cheeks with my sleeve, I took it.Unsure of what to say, I looked at the circle. I spoke about how Kate’s dorm room was neverlocked and you could just walk right in, or how she would always sneak through windows into otherstudents’ rooms to drop things off or trick them. I talked about how my group of friends wasknown as the “Nomads” because we never sat at the same table during meals. I talkedabout how my friend Pasha and I met that first day, yet “knew” each other right away.In five weeks, we had grown to be close friends.
When everything had been said, we returnedto our dorm rooms. My hall stayed up for awhile, sitting in the hallway and talking of good timesas we snacked. When sunrise rolled around I was woken up by a friend pounding on my door. Icherished those last hours with my friends on Foss Hill, talking of plans to see each anotherbefore the summer ended. When my mom pulled up we loaded everything into the truck, then I saidgood-bye to my friends and went to sign out.
Walking into Hewitt Lounge I felt as if mywhole life were going to be left behind. Paul was already signing out with tears streaming down hisface. I hugged him and said good-bye but he was too heartbroken to utter a word. When it was myturn to step up to the table my eyes too welled with tears. The woman collecting the keys smiled atme as the tears began to run down my cheeks.
Getting into the truck, I paused to look backat the school grounds, back at the five weeks I had experienced and the many new faces that werenow old, and hopefully would not be forgotten.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.