79 comments

Submitted on 08/07/2020

Categories: Adventure Drama

You spend your childhood wanting to grow up, and you spend your adulthood wishing you were a child again. That’s what people say, and I find myself believing in that more and more with each passing year. Sometimes, I really want to go back to the times when my principal tasks were to make it to the beginning of my favorite cartoon, decide what games my friends and I want to play, and convince my mum to let me go to the sleepover. Those days were great and filled with mostly positive moments that seem so carefree and bring warm and fuzzy feelings. I will not claim that I am mature and ready to face challenges my destiny has prepared for me, but now is the game-changer event in my life. 

Maybe going to college isn’t something that would turn my daily routine upside down. However, I still want to believe that the next years would be exceptional. Teenage movies and youthful high spirits must be the reasons that make me ascend to a different life that I could never actually live, wow. But, who said that it’s wrong? I guess that’s something that leads to understanding ourselves, other people, and life itself.

 The reality hits us, and we realize that we’re not in a romantic comedy, where all the actions are scripted and lead to the happy ending with touching music, hugs, and tears of joy. If there was some kind of a book where all the decisions I need to take would have been written, I would use it beyond any shadow of a doubt. To me, there is nothing worse than choosing what I have to do not to screw everything up.

Oh yeah, I forgot to introduce myself, I am Ollie Garraway, a freshman who is both desirous and afraid of change. My life is not eventful, but also not as boring as I sometimes imagine. I want to get to know the world, and communicate with different people, make a lot of acquaintances and do crazy things. But my introverted nature does not allow that sociable person inside me to come out. Well, that's about it. I often overthink events and come up with complex and hypothetical situations that prevent me from doing things I truly want to do.

From day to day, my motto is "stressed, depressed, and not even well dressed." Certainly, that is a kind of exaggeration, but my mood swings are always there for me. You know those people who look very quiet, but when you get to know them better, you receive messages all day long, and you can discuss literally anything with them? I assume that I am one of them, or, at least, want to be.

In a couple of days, I am leaving my hometown and going on a lifelong adventure. How do I feel? To be honest, fear and inspiration, joy, and all the universal sadness are mixed inside of me. I don't know what to expect, but everyone around me keeps saying that college years are the best period in one's life. Also, this is a chance to try everything and understand who you are. I hardly believe it, since I am moving far from home, having no connections in that new and unknown world. But everything that’s done is done for the best, isn’t that what they say? 

The mere thought that I have no idea when I will come home again makes me sad. I adore my small town, where everything is so familiar and dear, where is the most delicious food, and where the smell in a tiny shop with sweets takes me many years ago when I could not decide which candies I wanted more. In this place are the most beautiful sunsets, which I always admire from my window and dream about my future achievements and experiences.

There, all friends will remain in my memory as those with whom I lived the brightest school moments. Although we all will have different paths, I will always hope that we would cherish what we had. Of course, nothing will be the same, but I genuinely want to believe that none of us dares to turn 17 years of friendship into memories that will sweep away like autumn leaves from the light wind of change. We will probably outgrow each other, and I will always have bittersweet feelings when reminiscing on the moments of our youth. 

I have decided to bring a small gift to my friend and wrote a letter, thanking for being with me through thick and thin. We have divergent academic strengths and will be studying in different places, but agreed to chat every day. Probably, that sounds naive, but this is what makes me feel a bit more confident when looking ahead. This thought is like an anchor that will prevent me from getting lost in the sea of boundless events. It’s always been hard for me to meet other people, and it takes time to start feeling comfortable around them. That’s why I value friendship to a greater extent than my buddies do. Sad, but true. 

My partner in crime and my best friend in the world, Charlie, and I, have experienced many situations, where our connection was tested. Some of them, like when she betrayed me for other more popular classmates, have almost led to the complete disappearance of chances to get back what we’ve had before. Luckily, we became close again, but her choices will always remain in my memory, recalling that, in the first place, I should be my own soulmate. 

During the last day back at home, I felt weird because I wasn't sure that everything needed was packed, and probably checked my bags around 100 times. I was worried about the road and my first days there. It is often when you meet new people, and they ask you to say something about yourself. I honestly hate this "tradition" because right at the moment I hear this question, I forget everything and simply say random things, trying to improve the situation. In these cases, I always feel some sort of pressure and want to scream: "My name is Ollie, and I'm not dumb, I just need time to figure out who I am!" 

I promised myself not to cry before leaving. But when I headed to the car, my eyes filled with tears, and I couldn't say a single word because I had a lump in my throat. After a lovely farewell, I sat down in the back seat and smiled. On the car radio played one of my favorite songs, "On Top Of The World" by Imagine Dragons. Yeah! Ollie Garraway is going on an adventure, hoping that everything will be fine because this is the only way.


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79 comments

Doubra Akika
18:47 Aug 12, 2020

Really amazing job! I'm glad I checked this out. You have an amazing way with words and your writing style is fantastic. Practice makes perfect, so I hope you don't stop writing. Looking forward to more of your work!

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Velma Darnell
18:52 Aug 12, 2020

What a wonderful comment, Doubra! Thanks for reading my story, I truly appreciate that :) Have a nice day!

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Doubra Akika
20:11 Aug 12, 2020

It was honestly my pleasure!

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Sue M
13:34 Aug 12, 2020

Velma, First, it is so impressive that you received so much feedback. Not to mention it's your very first story! I could go through your story and outline a number of grammatical issues, but I'm hoping by re-reading (I recommend you read it aloud) you will be able to pick them out on your own. You came up with a number of excellent lines, such as: "From day to day, my motto is "stressed, depressed, and not even well dressed." ..."but I genuinely want to believe that none of us dares to turn 17 years of friendship into memorie...

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Velma Darnell
13:54 Aug 12, 2020

Thanks for a detailed comment, Sue! Grammatical issues are always following me because I find it too hard to check my own stories, lol. However, I'm trying my best to avoid them. Actually, I would truly appreciate if you could point out the mistakes you have noticed, if it's not too much trouble. Also, I love that you included the lines you enjoyed in this feedback, it means a lot to me:) Again, thank you! Have a great day :)

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Scout Tahoe
14:28 Aug 11, 2020

First off, I absolutely love the motto! Secondly, I admire how you can write with no dialogue but still produce a beautiful story. Ollie's voice is smooth, and it makes the readers want to read more. This might be your first story, but it doesn't seem like it. It's amazing! Thanks for reading my story. Keep writing, -Scout

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Velma Darnell
14:44 Aug 11, 2020

I appreciate your comment, Scout! Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the story :) Wish you the best of luck!

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Laura Clark
08:51 Aug 20, 2020

Hi Velma, here as requested! This was a lovely first story that really encapsulated the feeling of nostalgia and the strange experience of feeling nostalgia even before you’ve left somewhere. I think a lot of people can relate to this. I think you’ve also managed to capture the anxiety of changing your entire life and friendship groups really well. Make sure you proof read carefully (the website Grammarly has really good reviews for this if you need some help). Really enjoyed this – thanks for inviting me to read it.

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Velma Darnell
11:32 Aug 20, 2020

I truly appreciate your comment, Laura! Actually, I used Grammarly to check the text, but there still are some mistakes, which neither the website nor I have noticed. Again, thanks for reading the story and sharing your opinion :)

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16:50 Aug 16, 2020

Hi Velma :-) As I had promised, I read your story. It is beautiful and felt very realistic. I enjoyed reading it very much. As I am becoming engrossed in your story, I am agreeing with your observations about life and longing for childhood when one is older. I find myself often going back to my childhood and recalling carefree fun days. The real world hits after high school and you have to try and figure out the 'now what?' part. And many people never do. Sometimes, it isn't until much later that a person figures where they want their ...

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Velma Darnell
19:22 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you so much for your feedback, Elizabeth! I appreciate that you've shared your thoughts on the topics of growing and making choices. I loved that phrase "for some things it isn't too late" :) Again, thanks for the comment, such support from other people inspires me to write more!

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Shivani Manocha
11:42 Aug 14, 2020

Loved this! This is such a sweet story. I also liked the confessional style of writing that u have used. I loved the line "From day to day, my motto is "stressed, depressed, and not even well dressed." Can somewhat relate to this. Good work. Keep writing:)

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Velma Darnell
12:09 Aug 14, 2020

I truly appreciate your feedback, Shivani! Thanks for reading the story :)

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Shivani Manocha
14:55 Aug 14, 2020

The pleasure was mine:)

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Yolanda Wu
05:51 Aug 14, 2020

I loved the descriptions at the beginning, and just the intricacies in the writing that really make you feel for the main character. Anyway, amazing work!

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Velma Darnell
09:56 Aug 14, 2020

What a lovely comment, Yolanda! Thank you for reading this story :) Wish you the best of luck!

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D. Holmes
05:22 Aug 14, 2020

Loved the last two paragraphs in particular! And the ending line was beautiful.

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Velma Darnell
09:53 Aug 14, 2020

Thank you very much for your feedback!

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As I read, I just kept thinking about how the main character, Ollie and I are basically the same person. This was so relatable to me and I enjoyed that very much. 'stressed, depressed, and not very well dressed.' My favorite line. I thought that was awesome. That literally describes my life in a nutshell. Awesome job on this! Please go check out my latest story.

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Velma Darnell
09:52 Aug 14, 2020

Thanks for appreciating this one, Melony! It means a lot to me that you have found something in common with Ollie and even pointed out your favorite line. Sure, I will be glad to read your story :)

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Your welcome! ;)

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Becky Holland
20:26 Aug 13, 2020

Wow! What a deal for first story, and look at all the likes you got - I have not even got there yet. How do you do that -get so much feedback and likes? The story is good. But here ... Maybe it is me- the former newspaper editor - but I feel like you need to do some more reading over your story, and some editing. There are some mechanics that might need adjusting (punctuation) and grammar challenges (I don't like to use toxic words like problems.) But one good read through and you will be able to do some correcting. Liked the story!

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Velma Darnell
09:32 Aug 14, 2020

Thank you for your feedback, Rebecca! I will try to focus more on proofreading when writing the next submission. I truly appreciate your comment :) Have a nice day!

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Alby Carter
18:04 Aug 13, 2020

Hi! I like how you took the basic plot and made it charming and realistic with a charming and realistic character. Great job! Also, if you have a second, would you mind reading my story, "Bright Yellow"? Thanks!

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Velma Darnell
19:40 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you for the feedback! I would love to read your story :)

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Karin Venables
13:38 Aug 13, 2020

At first I thought I was going to get the view point of a much older person remembering, but it was a nice surprise to meet Ollie. I have a great grandson named Ollie. Hes the light of my life. Ollie's introverted thoughts remind me of myself at that age. I would have been happy never to have to introduce myself, Saying something about myself at that age, made me quiver. I still do, but I've finally learned that bragging about myself is sometimes necessary. Nice job on the technical aspects of writing. Good grammar and word choices h...

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Velma Darnell
14:00 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you for your comment, Karin! I loved your thought that "bragging about myself is sometimes necessary", I'll keep it in mind. I truly appreciate your feedback, and thanks for reading the story :) Have a wonderful day!

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Keerththan 😀
12:43 Aug 13, 2020

Amazing story. I loved it. Great first story, Velma. Keep writing. Waiting for more of yours......

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Velma Darnell
12:49 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you for your feedback! Have an amazing day :)

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Kristin Neubauer
12:38 Aug 13, 2020

Such an insightful and reflective piece, Velma. It struck me as sort of akin to the stream of consciousness style, which I have always found so interesting because it's a deep look inside a narrator's mind. I think you captured the mix of Ollie's anxiety, sadness and hope skillfully and you leave me hoping that things will work out for him at college. Well done!

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Velma Darnell
12:48 Aug 13, 2020

Thanks for reading my story, Kristin! Your kind words mean a lot to me :) Wish you the best of luck!

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12:03 Aug 13, 2020

I enjoyed the way Ollie oscillates in her feelings. In another character that might have been a criticism, but in a teenager on the brink of change, that is incredibly accurate. I was wondering if her voice was a little too mature, particularly early on.

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Velma Darnell
12:37 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you for your feedback, Jessica! Have a wonderful day :)

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Anne Benita
06:34 Aug 13, 2020

Well written.

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Velma Darnell
09:02 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you, Anne!

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Arya Preston
05:26 Aug 13, 2020

Wonderful story, Velma! I really enjoyed the monologue style this was written in though it could have been expanded a bit through some description in the middle. There were several lines that stood out to me - the first and last in particular, all very inspirational! I did spot a few minor grammatical errors, but you're definitely talented and I hope you keep working on improving :)

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Velma Darnell
09:29 Aug 13, 2020

I appreciate your feedback, Arya! I'll try to work more on the "middle section" in my next submission. Thanks for taking the time to read this. This means a lot to me as I've been trying to include some powerful lines, and worried if they were good enough. Wish you the best of luck!

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Katina Foster
01:38 Aug 13, 2020

I enjoyed your story. It was mostly inner dialogue, which is great, but might have been more compelling if it had been mixed in with the action of saying goodbye to her dearest friend. Keep writing! You have a strong voice!

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Velma Darnell
09:30 Aug 13, 2020

Thanks for your nice feedback, Katina! Have a wonderful day :)

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Romneya Quennell
01:09 Aug 13, 2020

Well, I loved this. It actually seems rather rare for first stories to be so well-written, but this one is! I do agree with Sue's critique, and want to add that you did well with showing Ollie's emotions. I felt them as I was reading. Something else is that you seemed to jump back and forth from prose to writing (it's actually rather common, no worries!) ex. 'but her choices will always remain in my memory, recalling that, in the first place, I should be my own soulmate.' I would consider this prose. Flowing and poetic, well done! T...

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Velma Darnell
09:23 Aug 13, 2020

What a wonderful and detailed feedback, Romneya! Thank you for pointing out and explaining the need of transitions with examples, I will keep it in mind when writing the next submission. I truly appreciate your comment and kind words :) Wish you best of luck!

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Romneya Quennell
12:15 Aug 13, 2020

Of course! It was my pleasure :) Wishing you the best of luck too! 💖

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Anna Irwin
00:54 Aug 13, 2020

I thought the way you wrote was very beautiful! Loved the thought process and there were so many moments when I was just like, "wow. I love that sentance." 😊

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Velma Darnell
08:18 Aug 13, 2020

Thank you for this nice comment, Anna! I truly appreciate your feedback :)

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