Haunted in an Ocean of Memories

Submitted into Contest #51 in response to: Write a story about someone who's haunted by their past.... view prompt

61 comments

Creative Nonfiction Teens & Young Adult Inspirational

"Hello." I said, giving her a small smile. Today was to be no different. She was back, yet again. I met her when I was six or seven, starting either kindergarten or first grade. I forget which, but I know that it was one of the two. She couldn't speak, for some reason. Back then, I didn't know why. Everyone seemed to ignore her, like she didn't exists or something. But, unlike others, I saw that she was there. 


It took me a while to find out what she really looked like, because I would only get a glance at her before she vanished from my sight. Over time, during second and third grade, I started to see her for longer lengths of time. I started to finally see her. She has thick, black hair that falls down her back in waves. Sometimes it's pulled back in a ponytail or a braid, and sometimes it's left down. She looks like she's just been to the beach, her skin tanned and reminding me of honey. Her eyes look exotic; though they are dark, dark brown, I can see hints of amber. I've read Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, and remember how Hera was described. 


"She had long, licorice- black hair. Her face was regal and unapproachably beautiful, like the face of a supermodel on a fashion runway. The Greeks described her eyes as "oxlike." Believe it or not, that was a compliment. It meant that she had large, soft brown eyes that you could get lost in. I guess the Greeks spent a lot if time staring at oxen." (pg. 95) 


This is what the girl looks like. She isn't a goddess, but simply a girl. A girl that is overshadowed by others because no one bothers to look for the diamond in the rough. I saw her, though. I saw that she was completing math problems as fast as the children categorized as gifted, and then helping the others who wanted her to explain how she found the answer so quickly. I saw that she, sitting that the back of the room, was writing stories with beautifully crafted sentences and vivid imagery that only someone a few grades above her could understand and comprehend. She was truly someone with natural talent, though no one could see it yet. 


"Lea," I would always say. "Do you have anything new that I can read?" 


And she would smile, flipping to a page in her blue, spiral- bound notebook, and hand it to me. Sometimes, I would meet heroes and villains, clashing for dominance in battle, soon finding out that someone had betrayed them from within. Other times, the story was of a person like her, striving to be heard in an ocean of voices. 


I never knew why she wasn't recognized for her work. Her singing, songwriting, and art was as good, if not better, than her stories. I knew others that were in the gifted program at school, but weren't half as good as her. So, why wasn't she known? The people that didn't qualify were, in my opinion, not given as much attention as the "gifted" students. 


Honestly, all of these labels that they give someone have no meaning. They simply become a ghost, following you for the rest of your time, marking you as a failure or as someone who couldn't live up to other's expectations. 


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I asked myself questions sometimes. Questions like "why aren't I good enough?" People, especially adults, say things like "Oh, you are! Don't say things like that to yourself." But, it really doesn't help. 


Every day since third grade where the "gifted" kids were singled out and given work that suited their level of need, I always stayed quiet, though I knew that the worksheets I was getting were far too easy for me. 


Once, in fifth grade, when my friend wanted help with a math problem that I had already solved a few pages back, I quickly showed her the answer. She seemed shocked that I could have gotten it so quickly, and so was another girl- Emrys- who was gifted, yet hadn't solved it as quickly or as easily as me. For the next five or ten minutes, I was showing a group of my classmates how to figure out those few problems that no one- except the "gifted" students and I- seemed to understand. My math teacher looked at me with a slight smile and gave me the subtlest of nods. 

When I came home from school that day, I told my mother and father what had happened, and they were happy for me, just as any parent would have been. They didn't understand how thankful I was that someone had finally noticed that I wasn't ordinary." I was simply glad that finally, for once, I had a sliver of everyone's attention. 


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I look up at the certificate of achievement on the wall behind my teacher's desk. It's for a short story contest that I had entered. 


No, the award wasn't for me. 


It was for Emrys, as usual. She probably had stacks of these papers at home, collecting dust in some fancy, glass trophy case with a drawer on the bottom especially for her certificates. 


My teacher looks up from the test that she's grading and finds me staring at the piece of paper held up on the magnet board. I turn away, not wanting her to see the tears forming in my eyes. 


"You're that good, Lea." says a soft voice as I exit the classroom. I halt for a moment, walking out of the classroom and to my locker a second later. 


She didn't say "You can do it" or "I'm sure you're that good" or even "You'll get there" like some teachers might. She said that I was that good. 


That makes me feel happy, just like that day in fifth grade. Not happy- acknowledged. It's like the tiny voice inside my head is saying that I ma good enough, for once. 


I glance sideways and see a girl with long, brown hair and dark eyes give me a small smile, following me out of the classroom. We walk in sync, always knowing the next move that the other will take as we dodge other students rushing to get to their lockers and then their next class. 


I know that tomorrow, I will still remember every single time that Emrys, Lillian, Nova, Ryan, or Parker were given a special assignment or came out on top when I was second. I am always haunted by my past, always befriended by Lea. 


"You're always friends with yourself." people say. 


That isn't always the case. Especially when you've hated things that you've had no control over. 


But, this time, I know that remembering my past self can be a reminder that you've gotten better- that you are good enough, no matter what anyone else says. Because, despite remembering everything tragic that's happened, I'll also remember the small acts of kindness in the ocean filled of memories. 


So, whenever I look over at Lea, at myself, I know that I am worthy.


I know that I am good enough. 

July 22, 2020 14:45

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61 comments

✰ Jennie ✰
14:42 Dec 07, 2020

darn good descriptions!!! last sentence hit different in a good way. Amazing job!

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Mira Caplan
14:43 Dec 07, 2020

Thank you!!!!! This is one of my faves of all the short stories I've written. It's kinda personal, but also relatable. (That's what I tried to do, at least)

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21:44 Dec 07, 2020

POST YOUR STORY PLS!!!!!

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12:45 Dec 08, 2020

POSTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT>TTT>T>T>T>T>T>T>T>T>T>T>T>T>TT>>>>>

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✰ Jennie ✰
13:12 Dec 08, 2020

wait me?

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13:13 Dec 08, 2020

Yeeeeeessss!!

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13:16 Dec 08, 2020

POSTTTTTTTTTTPLS I HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO!!!!!

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16:11 Dec 08, 2020

I made a new story Jen please get one out yourself.....

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06:49 Sep 18, 2020

I love the detail and the creative aspect!

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Mira Caplan
15:58 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you!

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B. W.
19:11 Aug 16, 2020

this is really good, i like it! amazing job

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Mira Caplan
19:13 Aug 16, 2020

Thank you!

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B. W.
19:13 Aug 16, 2020

no problem!

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Charles Stucker
16:48 Aug 02, 2020

So this is how to lightly line edit your work "Everyone seemed to ignore her, like she didn't exists or something. But, unlike others, I saw that she was there." You have the obvious exists reduces to exit. But then you have choices on how much is character voice and how much needs to go. Choice 1 "Everyone ignored her, like she didn't exist. But I saw her." This is the most extreme cut. It preserves some voice- the part "like she didn't exist" but pares away all the nonessential bits. Choice 2 "Everyone seemed to ignore her, like she ...

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Mira Caplan
00:25 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you for the writing tips you gave- I'm glad that I can still learn while not in school! I really appreciate you taking the time to write this out, so thank you again!

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Rose C G
01:51 Jul 29, 2020

Hi, I like how the character recognized herself as being worthy! (One small issue in the line "I am good enough..." it reads "ma." Is this a mistake?) ~Rose CG

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Mira Caplan
12:33 Jul 29, 2020

Aaaack- yes, that is definitely a mistake. I will fix that!

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Rose C G
20:54 Aug 02, 2020

🌹Thank you for following me!~Rose~🌹

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Mira Caplan
00:25 Aug 03, 2020

No problem!

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Tvisha Yerra
17:13 Jul 24, 2020

Yes, finally! I found another Slytherin who is proud to be one! Also, the story is amazing, I loved how you described everything so perfectly.

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Mira Caplan
17:16 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you! (Slytherin's the best house- no one can deny it!) :) #Malfoy4Life!

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Kelechi Nwokoma
16:46 Jul 24, 2020

Mira, this is a great story. I love how you described the character in the beginning and said she looked like Hera (I'm also a fan of Percy Jackson) I also love the normal of this story, and I see people in this world trying to prove themselves to others. I could totally empathise with the character. Great job here

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Mira Caplan
17:10 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you! I was actually reading Percy Jackson's Greek Gods when I was writing this story, so I'm glad that the quote about Hera I came across fit in well! It was easier to write for me because I do feel like I'm overshadowed by my own Emrys all the time both at school and when I'm doing things that I love. I'm glad that you could relate, because I was going for that in this story! Thanks again! #Theyna4Life

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Raquel Rodriguez
20:39 Jul 22, 2020

Oh my gosh! Love this, Mira. As a kid who is in the Gifted and Talented class (Lol), I have to admit that I see many General Education kids that are so smart, but my school relies on the tests that we take in kindergarten and first grade. Love this! Oh yeah, by the way, Gryffindor for life!

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Mira Caplan
21:03 Jul 22, 2020

Glad you liked it! This story was based off of my life, seeing that I'm not in Gifted and Talented, but am "like a flashlight in a dark room, looking at the other and wondering why I'm not as bright," according to my teacher from last year. (#Slytherin4Life, lol!) I read your bio and also LOVE The School for Good and Evil... Sophie is my favorite! (But the whole Rafal thing, though...poor Sophie.)

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Raquel Rodriguez
21:50 Jul 22, 2020

Yes, I also love Sophie's character! I really thought she would be in the school for good. Yeah, I feel bad for how many times Sophie's love has either died, didn't actually love her, or etc. But I give Agatha and Tedros a pat on the back. Also, both Rhian and Japeth are both buttfaces! (r.i.p Rhian)

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Mira Caplan
21:57 Jul 22, 2020

Exactly! Her character is intruiging because she's so obsessed with being prefect. When you realize her past, especially the thing with her mother, it starts to make sense. Instead of just being the love-struck damsel in distress, she actually has a backstory that relates. ( r.i.p Rhian) :(

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Raquel Rodriguez
22:03 Jul 22, 2020

Oh yeah, and Hort... don't even get me starteddd! I felt sooo bad for him when Sophie kept rejecting him and ridiculing him. Even though I sort of understand the reason that he hates Agatha, she's such a sweetheart and she has low self-esteem, so she's another one of my favorite characters!

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Mira Caplan
14:11 Jul 23, 2020

I know...that while thing with him trying and falling to impress her was honestly really sad. Agatha's awesome, I agree! But it's obvious that she gets together with Tedros. (I ship them!)

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I'm..... literally sobbing. Moving story, love love love it! YOU ARE A TERRIFC WRITER!

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Mira Caplan
19:47 Nov 29, 2020

Aaaaaaw, thank you!!!!!! I really appreciate it!!!

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*Happpy Sounds and Your welcome sounnds!"

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I love this story. The feeling of being inadequate is so realistic. Your descriptions are beautiful. I'll try my best to make it through your other stories.

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Mira Caplan
16:25 Oct 05, 2020

Thank you so much! I'll be sure to read yours, as well.

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Emily Brownlee
14:14 Oct 02, 2020

Great job on this!! Looking back at the beginning of the story after reading the end made it all come together in a fascinating way. You described so well what it's like to remember your past self, in flashes and glimpses, sometimes seeing the whole person if you really focus. And really inspiring to see a character that accepts herself and acknowledges her accomplishments! A beautiful story :)

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Mira Caplan
15:11 Oct 02, 2020

Thank you! This story, I feel, helped me come to terms with the fact that you don't necessarily have to be in the Gifted program to be good acknowledged. Thanks for reading!

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13:48 Sep 23, 2020

I love this! Labels are terrible for children. They are given for what one does on one day. I love how you capture that in this piece.

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Mira Caplan
14:10 Sep 23, 2020

I agree. As someone who is not categorized as Gifted, I feel left out sometimes, if that makes sense. Gradually, I've come to realize that labels aren't needed, just as Lea did in this story. Thank you for reading!

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14:21 Sep 23, 2020

I used to be a teacher and I saw stuff like this all the time. I broke my heart.

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Megan Sutherland
02:19 Aug 08, 2020

Hi Mira, great story! Also, I read your bio, and I am also 100% Slytherin too and I'm a huge fan of Draco Malfoy. Would you mind coming to check out my page? Please and thanks, and good luck with writing in the future!

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Mira Caplan
13:58 Aug 10, 2020

Draco Malfoy's my favorite character! (Slytherin for Life!) I'll be happy to read your stories- good luck to you, too!

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Zion Hintay
10:40 Aug 05, 2020

I was sorted into Slytherin, as well. But loved this story, I'm sure a lot of people relate to the message. Going unnoticed and not feeling like they are good enough. And that good memories are keystones to happiness. Best of luck to your next entry.

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Mira Caplan
13:57 Aug 10, 2020

(Slytherin for Life!) I'm glad that others can relate- I'm happy that this story made others feel like someone knew what they might be going through, because I certainly do. I'm glad you liked it!

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01:49 Jul 25, 2020

This story is so well crafted and meaningful. It is sad that children in the school system are labeled at such an early age. Look forward to reading more of your writings.

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Mira Caplan
14:06 Jul 25, 2020

Yes, I agree. Someone's fate at school is marked by a test. Thanks for reading!

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Millie Spence
18:49 Jul 24, 2020

This is so good. I loved reading this.🙂

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Mira Caplan
19:03 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you! (:

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Bibisha Shakya
16:43 Jul 22, 2020

I love this post! P.S. I read your bio and wanted to let you know that I'm 100% Gryffindor (according to Pottermore) and proud of it too! #always ;D

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Mira Caplan
16:45 Jul 22, 2020

Thanks! Gryffindors and Slytherins can become friends! (I'm a Twitchy Little Ferret according to my little sister) XD #always

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Bibisha Shakya
02:50 Jul 23, 2020

Yes, of course they can! My cocker spaniel, Dobby, and I give you and your sister the warmest of greetings! :)

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Mira Caplan
14:07 Jul 23, 2020

Aaaw! Say hi to them for me!!! :)

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Keerththan 😀
07:05 Jul 28, 2020

Great story, Mira. Loved it. Perfect story for the prompt. Would you mind reading my story "The secret of power?"

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Mira Caplan
13:13 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you! I'd be happy to read your story!

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02:48 Jul 28, 2020

🤯🤯awesome . I have no words!!

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Mira Caplan
13:14 Jul 28, 2020

Wow...thanks!!! (:

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Great job, Mira! I loved this story; keep it up! Would you mind reading my story ‘A Poem By A Star (No, Literally)’? Thanks! —Aerinnnn!

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Mira Caplan
21:56 Jul 26, 2020

Thanks! I'd be happy to read it! Sounds intriguing! -Mira

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Thanks!

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