Skip to main content

Goodbye

Today I wanted to share a short story that I wrote a little while ago and is one of my favorites I've written. I submitted this to the National Council of Teachers of English awards and received recognition for Superior Performance in Writing, but since they don't publish an anthology, I never got to share the story with an audience. I thought that this would be a great first short story of mine to post on the blog for the writing section (I don't post more since many contests publish your work which prohibits me from sharing it myself). I really hope you enjoy it, and please leave me a comment with your thoughts. (And just to restate, everything I post on my blog I have worked hard to  create. These are all protected under copyright and reproduction for any reason without my written consent is both unacceptable and illegal.)

            Goodbye
            Come on Sadie!” called a little girl as she ran through a field of spring green grass as tall as she was. A crown of daisies hung through her amber curls, and there was a gleeful sparkle behind the bright eyes that matched the open skies. She turned and looked behind her to check on her friend and to any onlooker- there wasn't anyone there. But I was. I always am. I just happen to be invisible to the pesky nonbelievers, but I was the very important very best friend of one Maggie M. Mason.
            My feet floated effortlessly through the field after the little girl. “I know! I’m coming!” I called back.
            We have to make it to the fortress before the pirates get us.” Maggie made it out of the grass and onto the soft wood chips that surrounded the play set.
            The princess is coming,” shouted a rowdy little boy hiding in the brush.
            Princesses,” Maggie replied panting as she ran for the brush.
            Well if you have Sadie with you then I get to bring Jack to make it a fair fight,” the boy said. Evidently, the six year old didn't grasp the idea of a covert hiding spot well.
            You should invite him. He’s always so much fun to play with,” Maggie giggled.
            The boy straightened and pushed a thick mop of black hair out of his eyes before cupping his hands around his mouth and yelling, “Jack! Come play with us.”
            I watched as a thin boy with sandy hair appeared next to me. “I thought you’d never ask,” he joked. “I’ll give you a ten second head start Sadie, but that’s it. Get ready, Toby.”
            I took off in a run for the safety of the jungle gym that Maggie sat on dangling her feet down tauntingly at Toby who was just too short to reach one of her patent leather encased feet. Jumping with all the energy I had left, I reached out my hand for the rusty bar with chipping blue paint above me. Clutching it with one hand, I tried to swing my momentum forward so I could catch the other bar. Luckily, Maggie grabbed my hand and pulled me up through the gaps in the bars just before Jack tagged me.
            We win,” Maggie said in her best sing-songy voice before dissolving into giggles. Toby threw his cardboard sword to the ground in mock disgust, and Johnny demanded a rematch.
            We get to chase this time,” Maggie said with a smug smile.
            And I want your sword,” I added looking at Toby.

            I didn't realize how much I would end up clinging to those memories. Racing through fields and parks, making sandcastles on the beach, swinging on the tire swing. I had been there all along. Through every turn, disaster, and misstep, I was there for Maggie more than anyone you could see, but of course, she didn't remember that. The same thing happened to Jack. “If only kids weren't so forgetful,” Jack and I would say to each other when we would meet between the two neighbor’s houses. We were starting to fade, and yet we couldn't accept it and let go.
            Hey, Maggie,” I asked the girl as she walked into the room, “how was school?” What I got instead of an answer was an eye roll and a glare. She threw her bag onto her desk. I watched her walk around the room in her combat boots and short skirt. She took out the diamond earring from her ear- the compromise with her parents when she asked for a diamond nose stud. Her sweet amber curls had been flattened out, and she covered her sweet smile and cherubic cheeks with layers of makeup. Finding herself had been a hard road.
            I told you to call me Margret,” she said with gritted teeth. That’s why I’m still here. She hasn't forgotten me yet.
            Until high school, Maggie had stayed sweet and quiet. She had clung to her childhood so hard she couldn't part with her dolls, pigtails, or her favorite white sweater she wore with all her dresses. And I guess she got tired of always getting picked on, and she changed. I can’t blame her. Life with only friends that only exist in your mind is tough, but I never thought it would drive her to become the person in front of me. I could tell that she would forget me soon, but I had one last mission before I went.
            That night I snuck out to meet up with Jack. It’s not like Maggie missed me. “She just needs a little reminder of what life was like when she was happy and young. I can’t go knowing she’s spiraling head first into every mistake in the book,” I said to Jack as I paced in the alley between the two houses.
            She needs to see Toby. They haven't talked in years, and seeing that you’re still here, she still believes enough to keep you around. That should count for something. Toby can remind her of what it’s like,” Jack volunteered.
            I spent the rest of the next day making flower crowns and cardboard swords to carry into battle. When Maggie walked into her room that afternoon, I nearly pounced on her. “Put this on. We’re going somewhere important.”
            Why should I listen to you… or wear that?” she asked feigning a disgusted look at the pink dress, Mary Jane’s, and white sweater that lay on the bed.
            Just do it,” I said in my most authoritative voice. Remarkably, I got her in the outfit and to the edge of the field just on time. At the last second, I remembered to weave the flowers into her hair. “Now run through the field and make it to the jungle gym before the pirates catch you!” I said with a smile.
            She gave me an annoyed look and craned her neck to make sure no one she knew was near. After a deep breath, she took off running, obviously lulled by nostalgia. The grass only brushed past her hips now, and she was much faster, but I got what I wanted. She laughed and smiled back at me. “Come on, Sadie. Let’s do this together.”
            I matched her pace across the field and gave a thankful smile to Toby who crouched in the bushes, now much taller and with a better haircut. “Game on!” he called dashing out of the hedge as soon as we crossed the threshold of the playground. “Go get Sadie, Jack.”
            Jack appeared at my side a millimeter away from tagging me. “Not today,” I giggled. Maggie swung onto the bars ahead of me, but Toby was taller now and triumphantly held onto her shoe.
            Maggie slid to the ground to stand next to Toby. “I’m glad you came,” he said to her. She looked around at all of us.
            I’m happy I did, too.”
            That was when Jack grabbed my hand in his and looked me in the eye. “You know we have to go now,” he said. They were words I knew were coming when I did this, but I wasn't ready to hear them especially after all this. “You know it’s true, Sadie.”
            He moved to take my hand. I could only bring myself to nod my head. With a mournful look over my shoulder, I let Jack lead me toward the smoldering sun that fell from the sky to make room for the moon.
            My last glance before the park disappeared from view made me smile. Maggie and Toby were standing together giggling and smiling. Suddenly, he lunged toward her starting a game of tag- something that had been long forgotten. But the subtle reminder was enough to spark her interest and remind her of her skill. They were going to be okay, and that is why Jack was making me leave them. The funny thing about imaginary friends is that even though they’re often forgotten, sometimes they have to go themselves when they know that they’re not needed anymore. Learning to let go when you know the job is done is sometimes the hardest thing, but the sense of accomplishment is enough to get through the initial pain.
            She’ll remember me, Jack, won’t she?”

            Of course, how could she forget?”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (360 pages)
Overview: Five kids are in detention. Only four come out alive, and they become the prime suspects of the most botched police investigation ever. They're the beauty, the jock, the brains, and the slacker. They barely know each other, but they're all tied together in one way or another to Simon, the school gossip leader with a severe peanut allergy. When all their secrets come out, the police investigation become the least of their worries. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved McManus's cast. We get to see prospective from all three of them which is a nice touch. Each of them are a take on a classic stereotype. While they fulfill almost all of the regular archetypes, she makes them deeper, more human and relatable. I particularly loved Browneyn and Nate who are in the classic good girl/bad boy relationship, but somehow she makes it cute and irresistible not tired and cliche. I also loved the sister relationships that get explor…

Spotlight Review: Heretics Anonymous

Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry (August 7)
Overview: Micheal has moved four times in ten years. This time, the move has landed him at a prestigious Catholic school instead of the local public school. This does not go well with his atheist beliefs. On his first day, he meets Lucy, an outspoken Catholic girl who's frustrated that she can't change anything about the flaws she sees in the church she loves. She introduces him to the underground club, Heretics Anonymous where students of other faiths come to vent about the unfair policies of the school. Spurred into action by Micheal's fire, the atheist, gay, Jewish boy, pagan girl, Unitarian boy, and Catholic leader make changes in the school that no one will forget. Overall: 5+++

Characters: 5 This book carries a deeply complex narrative that is driven by the amazing detail put into each characters. One of the great tenants of writing is understanding that every character has their own wants and motivations. This is one of the…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

Into YA Interview: Eric Smith

Today I have an extra awesome post for all of you! As part of my new series, Into YA focused on giving you a look into what goes on before the book gets into your hands, I'm talking to rockstar agent Eric Smith (who is also an author himself)! If you don't follow him on Twitter over at @ericsmithrocks, then you should be. He has one of the best Twitter accounts.

1. How did you decide to become a literary agent?
I'd been working in publishing for a number of years, at Quirk Books, an indie publisher in Philadelphia known for books like Pride & Prejudice & Zombiesand Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, when I decided it was time to really focus on books that I wanted to work on. I loved everything we did at Quirk, but I wanted to focus on more Young Adult books, as well as the kind of literary fiction I loved. So... along came my colleagues at P.S. Literary, and it's been a happy place for the past three years. 
2. Like me, many of my readers are author…

Warcross

Warcross by Marie Lu
Overview: Emika is a bounty hunter with $13 to her name and an eviction notice on her door. Then she's the hacker girl who glitched into Warcross. And then she becomes Hideo's personal bounty hunter who stands to win ten million dollars. Emika's life has changed a lot, and it only gets more complicated as she gets deeper and deeper into the world of Henka Games. Overall: 4 

Characters: 5 Okay, it's hard to go into this much without getting spoiler-ey, but I'll be vague. First off, I loved Emika. She's a great main character with the right amount of sensibility and emotion. What was really impressive though, was how Marie Lu plays with character evolutions. At the end of the book, there will be a moment where you put the book down and go wow at how Marie is able to twist shades of good and evil making us think about the grey.

Plot: 4 I finished this book in a few days thanks to its fast pace and urgency. While some of the game descriptions were…

Why I Write Mostly Positive Reviews (Also Why It's Okay To DNF a Book)

You may or may not have noticed, but the reviews I post on the site have shifted a lot in the last few months. The average star rating of books I post about has shifted from a 3 to a 4, and the reviews are overwhelmingly more positive. I have lots of standout books, and 5 stars are no longer a rare occurrence like they were before.
This isn't because I've gotten less critical or careful with my reading and ranking. I still want to give the most honest content and only pair people with books I love. It's happened because I don't read books I'm not enjoying anymore. While I used to feel obligated to finish every book I picked up, I no longer feel tied to that seeming "reader rule."
I used to figure I had to give books at least to thirty or fifty percent or just barrel all the way through. This made me only pick books I was sure I would love. Even with that test, you can't know whether you'll like the voice or the writing.
It took school getting bus…

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (October 16)
Overview: Shirin has gone to twelve different schools. Jumping from city to city, state to state, and even country to country, Shirin's parents are always in search of a better life. But a new place didn't always mean better, and Shirin knows that well. Being a young woman who chooses to wear a hijab makes her both an object of crude fascination and, in 2002 post 9/11 world, an object of ridicule. No one around her understands her choices, and, worse, they don't bother to listen about how it makes her feel empowered. She's, sadly, come to expect the negativity, though at every new place she walks into. She lives her life constantly on guard against the abuse of the world which makes it hard for her to understand new boy Ocean's kindness and interest in her as a person. Can she learn to trust someone else enough to let him in? Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Wow. Shirin is an amazing character both in general and as a …

The Lake Effect

The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan (391 pages)
Overview: Lake Michigan is beautiful. That's why the town of South Haven draws so many tourists, or in this case, seasonal workers. Briggs gets the chance to return to the lake for a summer to work for an old woman looking for live in summer help. Though the lake promises beautiful days and abundant fun, it also opens him up to many new worlds. That of his Serbian employer oozing with spunk, the unintentionally mysterious girl next door, Abigail, and the whole crew of townies who fill his afternoons with beach volleyball. The time away also offers a fresh prospective on the family he left behind and his future priorities. Though he knew about the weather, the Lake Effect was something much greater than he anticipated. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Wow. So, I have to  say that when the book started, I was fine with Briggs but nothing special. He was the kind of guy who came from a somewhat privileged background that was a machine towards wealth …

Radio Silence

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (496 pages)
Overview: Frances has always known her across the street neighbor Aled Last in the periphery. He was Carry Last's sister until she disappeared. Now he's head boy Daniel's best friend. When she and Aled are thrust together on a drunken train ride home, Frances learns she's a lot closer to Aled than she thought. He's the mysterious creator of her favorite narrative podcast, Universe City. But when his identity surfaces on the internet in connection to Universe City, it all starts to fall apart for their friendship, and  Aled's life. Overall: 5

Character: 5 Frances, Aled, and Daniel are all extremely real people. France lives her life caught up on the dream of getting into Cambridge. If it's not helping her admissions prospects, she's not doing it- unless it's under a pen name and involving Universe City fan art. Over the course of the book, she realizes that the Frances in her head that she projects and the Fran…

Piper Perish Rewind before Art Boss!

Today I'm doing a little bit of a rewind of a past review to celebrate Art Boss by Kayla Cagan which hits shelves on Tuesday. I met Kayla two years ago at Teen Book Con where I discovered her first book Piper Perish. Appropiatly, because the book is about a group of artists, it is one of the best made hardcovers I've ever held. You will be impressed when you pick up a copy at how much detail is in the cover and inside flaps (and also how substantial it is). Inside, it also includes pictures interspersed with the journal entries which rings true for Art Boss as well. The thing that originally drew me to Kayla's book was it's setting. I used to live in Houston, where the book takes place, and it was amazing to recognize all the places mentioned in the book. I wonder if that's how people in L.A., San Fransisco, or New York feel all the time. Sadly, Art Boss moves the story out of Houston, but, appropriately, Piper's next chapter unfolds in New York City. So befor…