Table of contents:
- A meal for the ages
- Night Hawks
- Time machine
- My creative space
- The year that was and the year that will be...
- Nature haiku
- Nature free verse poem
- ABC poem
- Ode to headphones
- Fiction story
A Meal for the Ages:
I awoke to the sound of clattering dishes and hushed voices. The air smelled of freshly cut grass and bacon. The upstairs loft in which I had spent the night in was cozy and filled with twin beds for all the kids in my family. I glanced out the window and looked at the large field that my family's cabin was built in. I saw the volleyball net, the fire pit, and the vast woods beyond. I felt happy. I swung my feet around the side of the bed and made my way across the creaky wooden floor. Some of my cousins had already gotten up. I carefully climbed down the narrow staircase, and walked into the kitchen. I settled into a space at the counter. My grandpa was making banana pancakes and strips of bacon sizzled in a pan. The sounds of the morning comforted me. I felt safe. My cousins chattered around me and my grandma hummed softly. He loved to sing while he cooked. His song reminded me that everything was okay.
Cool air blasted at me as I walked into the brightly lit bar. It was simple inside. White walls, a polished wood counter, and a single bartender. It wasn't that I even liked to drink. Sometimes I just ordered a water and sat quietly for 20 minutes or so. The place calmed me. After a long day of complex problems and crushing workload, I just wanted simplicity. A man and woman were chatting softly at the bar. I lowered my eyes and walked to a stool. I gave a slight nod and smile to the people across from me. The man behind the counter spoke, asking me a question. I could assume what it was. "Yes, I'll just have a water please." The man stared at me as he took a sip of his small glass of hard liquor. I ignored him and cleared my mind. The man returned to his conversation. The bartender slid a glass onto the counter.
The rock could be seen clearly among all the others. I was bright purple and clear. I gleamed in the sand, calling me. I picked the stone up and it was smooth. The waves crawled up the shore gently. All of the sudden, the calming breeze began to whip around me. The ocean crashed upon the shore, reaching farther every time. Soon the water covered my feet. I struggled to escape the column of wind around me, it held me in place. I fell to the sand. The wind overwhelmed me and the ground gave way. I sunk lower and lower until the sand swallowed me. The world went dark. The rock was still in my hand.
Voices in the darkness. "If you could talk to your younger self, what would you say? Where would you go?"
I considered the question. Would I go back in time? Even if I could, what if I changed the course of my life so drastically that I became an entirely different person? Let's say I could go back in time. Let's say I find little Sophie, insecure and worried. Is there anything I could say to improve her life? I walk the line between consciousness and sleep. I feel the bright purple stone in my hand.
The voice. "If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, would you?"
Yes, I would.
The darkness envelopes me and my brain shuts off. When I awake, I'm not on the beach anymore. I am at beaver creek elementary on the playground. I see my 4th grade class emerge from the doors for recess. I see my younger self. I walk towards her.
My Creative Space:
There is instrumental music playing. It smells like running water and flowers. There are hardwood floors and strings of lights. I have put up pictures, ideas, magazine clippings, and quotes on the walls. There are a lot of large windows that allow streams of sunlight to come in. From my house, I can see mountains in the distance. My desk stands in front of the window. I can see tall trees and colorful leaves. My creative space is away from things that stress me out. It's a place where I can clear my head and think for myself.
The year that was and the year that will be...
While I consider 2016 to be a difficult year, I have a hard time saying that it was the worst. While bad things can be remembered from this year, I feel like I resolved many things that were holding me back. I believe that 2017 will be better. I am happier than I was in 2016 and I feel like I can now hope for a better future instead of reminiscing over the past.
Red and orange drift down
Worries drift away from my head
Sunlight overcomes cold
Nature Free Verse
The sweet smell of autumn lives in the air
Trees shed their shells
A soft breeze pushes leave on their way
I don't want it to end
The brightest thing I've seen all day
Red and orange fall on my shoulders
My hair rides the wind
Music fills my ears
My thoughts subside
The day calms down
Alarm clock rings
But I want to sleep in
Can't stall anymore
Don't want to leave
Even if today will be great
Friday couldn't come sooner
Got to go
Ode to Headphones:
Bring music to my ears and let me ignore the world
Podcasts and playlists
Make light of the day
When you can't bear to think
Put in headphones and just listen
At War with Myself
By Sophia Mitchell
A loud beeping blared from my IPhone. Morning streamed in through the sheer white curtains that were draped across my bedroom window. I began my day by racing across the room to turn it off. I passed by my mirror and shrieked. Mascara stained my eyes and cheeks. I glanced at my pillow. My tears had dried onto the bright white fabric of my pillowcase. I had to hide it before mom saw. I went into the bathroom and considered wearing no makeup today. A figure appeared in the doorway, staring down at me. My mother squinted in the presence of light and shivered in her fluffy robe. I began brushing on mascara.
My parents conversed quietly in the kitchen as I walked downstairs. Mom stared blankly at her phone, her glasses reflecting a faint blue light. Dad stayed busy cooking eggs and toast.
It didn’t seem to disturb them when Logan came running down the stairs, backpack in hand, panicked look on his face.
“Come on Mel, we’re gonna be late!” He exclaimed after retrieving a granola bar from the pantry. He rushed out to the garage and I heard the rumble of his car starting. I followed him.
“Have a great day, honey.” dad hugged me. I smiled.
“Don’t you think that’s a little too much makeup, Melanie?” mom studied my face. I briefly met her glare. While her face held a sympathetic look, her eyes were filled with intensity and anger. I refused to answer her. Her expression quickly changed to one of disappointment.
She thinks you’re rude and inconsiderate. You’ll never be good enough.
I watched the sky as we drove down the winding road. The car ride was usually silent. Sometimes the silence filled the air so heavily that I had to talk.
“What do you have going on today?” I inquired, trying to sound cheerful.
My brother’s weary eyes remained on the road. He did this sometimes. I knew it was because of how stressed he was, but it still hurt when he refused to answer me. I stared at Logan. I felt sick all of the sudden. My heart pumped faster and an ache settled in my stomach.
“Logan.” I repeated. “What do you have going on-”
“Shut up Melanie! You should be thankful that I drive you to school! I’ll drive you home if you don’t stop talking right now!”
He ripped a pair of headphones from his pocket and began blasting music.
A lump formed in my throat and I was afraid. I couldn’t cry. Not now. What was wrong with me?
It’s your fault he has anger problems. You should just keep to yourself.
At school, I tried distracting myself with work, but I’d still find myself thinking. The inevitable fact of going back home to my mother’s judgement overtook my brain. Thoughts whirled around in my head so fast that I couldn’t listen to any them.
My classes dragged along. I took notes but processed no information. Did mom even care about me? Everything she said and did was ingenuine. I didn’t even know who my mother was. All the sudden, I found that everyone in my english class was staring at me. I must have been called on. I searched the board for anything that might help me. My peers giggled quietly. I couldn’t breathe.
“Um,” I choked out.
Everyone stared at me for what seemed like minutes. Why couldn’t they just stop? My face burned and a trembling enveloped me.
They think you’re stupid.
I had to leave. I heard the roar of heart beats as my vision blurred with tears. I sharply rose and proceeded to hurry towards the door without bothering to grab my backpack or tell anyone where I was going. After I began crying, I couldn’t stop. I raced to the stairway and let the door slam behind me. Past conversations and pain danced through my head.
Everyone else at school managed to get through the day without breaking down. Reality knocked me down like a giant wave. All my mom cared about was how I looked. Logan couldn’t stand having a two minute conversation with me. The only person who seemed to have a genuine interest in my life was dad. I sunk onto a step and buried my head in my arms. I wiped my eyes and sniffled. I was tired of crying. I was tired of everyone looking at me like I wasn’t worth it. I pushed open the door slowly.
The school counselor’s office was small and cozy. The lady at the front office told that Ms. Johnson would be here soon. As I waited, I read the array of colored posters that adorned the walls.
You shouldn’t be here. Some kids have real problems. You’re wasting her time. It’s all in your head.
I closed my eyes and thoughts consumed me.
You need to go back to class. You’re being dramatic, just like mom always says. Your life is perfectly fine. You have no reason to act like this.
I stood up abruptly. I couldn’t handle the silence. I opened my eyes to find a figure sitting in the chair to my right.
“Hi.” A woman stared at me. She had dark hair and kind eyes. A clipboard rested in her arms and a pencil in her hand.
The voice startled me. I never heard anyone come in.
“I’m Ms. Johnson, the school counselor. Do you want to sit down?”
I returned to the couch.
“What’s your name?” Ms. Johnson asked as she pressed her pencil to the clipboard.
Ms. Johnson scribbled on her paper.
“So what’s going on?” She tried to sound casual, like this situation wasn't weird and uncomfortable.
She has a million other things to worry about. You shouldn’t make her deal with your problems. She just has to act like she cares so she gets paid.
I paused for too long.
“Sorry, um, I didn’t know where to go.” I replied.
How is she supposed to know what that means? Stupid.
“I started crying, and I, uh, I don’t know.” I stared at the rug.
“What’s on your mind, Melanie?”
My brain was like a factory and every word took all the fuel I had. I fiddled with a string on my sleeve. My eyes remained on the ground.
“I’ve just been thinking a lot about my family, I guess.” I muttered.
“What’s going on with your family?”
This was harder to talk about than I thought. What if Ms. Johnson tells my mom that I’m here? I wouldn’t hear the end of it.
She’ll call you dramatic and that your feelings don’t matter.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to tell someone.
“It’s just, I’ve felt like nobody really cares about me sometimes. My brother yells whenever I try to take an interest in his life. And even though she never says it, I feel like my mom wouldn’t care if I disappeared. Whenever I try to say anything against her, she looks at me like I’m the biggest disappointment in the world. All I can think is that I’ll never be good enough or worthy of her love. So I overthink everything until all I can do is… is cry. ”
I paused and tucked my hair behind my ear. Ms. Johnson wasn’t writing anything. I felt her staring at me. Did I say too much? Does she want me to keep talking?
I took a deep breath.
“So, is there something wrong with me? What do I do?”
My heart lurched.
“I can't tell you what to do. That's your decision.”
“What I can do is tell you that there is nothing wrong with you, Melanie.”
My eyes widened.
“Nobody else cries at school. Everyone acts like they don't have a care in the world. They think so much of themselves that it seems like nothing could ever bring them down.” I uttered.
“I know it feels that way, but I promise that you are not alone. Everyone has problems that they must learn to deal with.” She said.
For the first time in our meeting, I looked Ms. Johnson in the eye. She wasn't holding her clipboard anymore. Now we were just talking.
“You're gonna be okay, Melanie. Just by coming to see me shows that you’re taking steps in the right direction.”
The tears surrounding my eyes rolled down my cheeks and I smiled. Nobody had ever told me that. I never knew how comforting it was.
“Thank you for listening.”
Ms. Johnson nodded.
And in that moment, I believed her. No matter what was thrown at me, I would get through it. As we continued to talk, I began feeling more comfortable. Pretty soon, I glanced at the clock and realized that we’d been talking for over 2 hours. I started to panic. I had missed 3 classes. Mom would be furious. She would claim that I was just using the counselor to get out of school. My hands started to shake. Ms. Johnson starred at me and quiet enveloped the room.
You’re gonna have to tell mom about all of this. She’s gonna yell or ignore you. You’ll have no safe place to go anymore and everyone will laugh at you.
Thoughts tumbled through my head. They were unreasonable, but the more they repeated, the more real they seemed. I took a deep breath and tried to focus on staying calm. Even if I did have to tell mom what happened today, It didn’t matter what she said or did. I had validation that my feelings were real. And nobody could stop me from asking for help. If people laughed at me, I would handle it. As long as I’m living my life the way I want to, other people’s opinions about me don’t hold any power. My mind’s voice gradually died out.
“I should probably go back to class.” I stood up.
Ms. Johnson nodded.
“Wait a minute, Melanie.”
“Promise me you’ll get help when you need it. You don’t have to face your problems alone. You can come back here anytime you need a safe place or someone to talk to.” She smiled.
I’d love to say that telling my mom how I felt was easy, and she finally changed her ways. But that’s not true. That night, I sat down with my mom and explained what happened that day. I told her that I panicked and ran out of the classroom. She appeared emotionless. I told her that I broke down and cried in the stairwell and she stifled a laugh. I told her that I went to see the school counselor and she interrupted me to tell me the last thing I wanted to hear.
“Don’t you think you’re overreacting a bit? I would probably be annoyed too if you pestered me like Logan.”
My heart sunk. She would never understand.
“You’re not listening to me. Mom, I had an anxiety attack today. You don’t even care.”
She gave me the look she was best at. While it looked like hurt on the surface, her cheeks flushed with anger.
“Rude, ungrateful-” She began.
I sharply got up and headed to my room just as my dad arrived home from work. I heard her call me names and claim that I attacked her. I could never win. My door slammed behind me.
I stayed in my room for the rest of the night. I did my homework and chores. Nobody bothered me. Normally, I would have cried for hours. But for some reason, I didn’t feel like crying anymore. I had wasted enough tears on other people who didn’t care about me.