The Absent Me | Teen Ink

The Absent Me

December 12, 2022
By ToniC601 BRONZE, Cupertino, California
ToniC601 BRONZE, Cupertino, California
3 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“In the quiet, misty morning,
when the moon has gone to bed,
when the sparrows stop their singing,
and the sky is clear and red.”
-Homeward Bound (my favorite song)

Tomorrow I will be absent. 

I am a water bottle given to a girl on her twelfth birthday. On that day I received my first kiss. Later she became the kisser, and I became the caretaker. She gave me more than one kiss every day, kisses of smooth peach lips usually, tanned wrinkled lips after sports, cherry lips under the AC, and burning lips carrying an unbearable pepper smell. Meanwhile, I protected her every day at school and back home. Our favorite moment of the day was probably PE class. Even she lost count of the times I saved her from the blackouts of running and the headaches of jump-ropes. We agreed to always be together, or so I hope. 

The freezing afternoon of December 4th meant the last hours of my master’s science competition trip. We were on the way to return the rental car near the airport and then depart from Seattle International Airport to San Jose Airport. Despite the heavy snow outside, the girl’s hug made me surprisingly warm. Through the fogging window, I saw a mixture of raindrops and snowflakes shooting diagonally. Farther away on the mountains, troops of pine trees still maintained their formation, partially covered by powdery snow. “Toni, you will definitely miss the snow in Seattle, won’t you? You won’t get to see much in California.” My master’s mother said. My master sat in the passenger seat, replying with a grin, “I will miss the snow so much, but I will never miss this car lol.” She gently put me in the empty backseat as the car entered the highway. 

I agree with my master that I will not miss this car, either. I always have a preference for my master's mom’s car in California. This old red Corolla rental car bumps once every five seconds even though the road was smooth. I almost threw up the water in my tummy, as if I might be on a roller coaster. I never got the right to ride on a roller coaster but I know it makes people throw up, according to the girl’s story. Unlike her, I do not have those protective belts. This girl was recently learning about natural rights. Maybe I do not have the right to wear seatbelts or ride on roller coasters. It would be over anyway, I comforted myself, soon I will leave this crazy rental car. Soon I would be in the sunshine of California, or so I hope. 

“Oh Shoot!” the mother suddenly yelled and she beeped. As soon as the beeping entered my ears, things happened too quickly. I felt the whole world tilted to my right. Immediately after that, an unknown force pushed me forward. My rounded body cannot defend itself against this strong push, causing me to roll down the seat. Although this cliff was not too high, I uncontrollably continued to the cave under the master's seat. I could see her feet on the other end of this strange narrow cave. “Thank goodness you stopped just on time Mommy, just a bit too suddenly,” the girl said. Her mother and she did not get hurt. The main issue was how do I get out of this cave?! I tried to call them. However, my shriek compared to the K-pop music played was like a whisper compared to a hummer bang. I lost all of my energy to make a sound because my neck was stuck between the narrow cave. 

Five minutes later, a voice came out of the GPS. “Turn right, and the destination is on your right.” No! This would be where they will return the rental car. I could barely see the girl climbing into the backseats to get all her belongings. All except me. “Mommy, I double-checked everything. Let’s go return this car!” 

The sound of the final closing door pierced my heart deeply. I was physically full of water, but I felt emptiness. Our story just ended here, separated forever. Would she be strongly affected by my absence, or would she just kiss a fancier water bottle and live a life without me? To me, she is always my kid. Who am I to her, a family, a friend, or just one of her many possessions? I knew she would miss me, or so I hoped. 

The author's comments:

This story is based on a real event I did to my water bottle. I wrote as if I was the bottle. At the beginning of December 2022, I went on a trip for a competition. The competitiveness drained my brain energy to do things properly and think properly. I clearly remember how I double-checked with the rental car but completely forgot the water bottle I left behind. It was the best water bottle I ever had, so I wanted to honor it (you know what, I want to call the bottle 'her'). To answer her concerns(end of story), she was a part of my family and I do miss her. I am sorry for my clumsiness and it's an honor to kiss you.

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