Submitted into Contest #74 in response to: Write a story in the form of a top-ten list.... view prompt

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Coming of Age High School Happy

Dear Christian,


Are you ready for this?

After ages, and yes, I mean an absolute eternity of narrowing, whittling, coercing, and wheedling this down, I have finally finished my top ten resolutions for the new year.

New Year.

It always seems like I should capitalize that, no matter the context, even though I know grammatically, it should be fine alone when saying "the new year". You taught me that, you know. I hated it so much at the time; those nights at the kitchen table hunched over crumpled paper and broken pencils. Even now, I can't help but feel anxious thinking about it.

So, the first resolution. Are you ready for it?

1) Graduate High School

I'm almost there! And I know I've had some bumps in the road, but I got this. It's been difficult, and I kind of want to give up. I won't lie to you about that. Especially after the fiasco of the Snowflake Soiree, sometimes it feels like I should just run away and join a biker gang to just travel around the country and look cool.

I could do that, right?

Yeah, yeah, I don't even need you to reply to this to tell me how wrong I am. Remember when you held me after my first date? I was so scared that I had screwed everything up, and even though I was happy, I couldn't stop crying. God, I cried so much.

2) Stop Crying So Much

I'm working on it!

3) Answer Mom's Calls

Oof. Okay. This is the hard one. I know, I know. You'll say that I need to just talk to her. Maybe wish her a Happy New Year? And it'll be awkward for both of us.

But it's not like she had to leave. I mean, okay, maybe she did. But she could have told us before. Or talked to us at all. And not been silent for a whole year. I'm still mad. Dad's still mad, you know, and he said he forgave her. But you can tell how hurt he is.

But I will. I promise I will call her. Or answer when she does.

4) Learn How To Bake Pie

Filling? Okay. That's easy. That's fine.

Dough? Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.


But I will for you.

5) Prom Date.

I never did tell you about the Snowflake Soiree, did I?

I don't really want to. But it all started with Abigail forgetting the entire thing was happening. So when I went to pick her up, her dad said she was out that night. AND she didn't have her phone. So I had to run all over town to find her. Then she said that she didn't want to go to the dance at all. Which, okay, that's fair, but I had been looking forward to it for months. So I went alone and without my girlfriend, but it turns out it sucked anyway because going alone is just sad and awful.

So I just ended up going home anyway.

I don't want prom to end up the same.

6) Win The Lottery

Every New Year's Resolution List needs at least one impossible item on it, doesn't it? So if that's too hard, all the others are that much easier. But I have to buy at least one lottery ticket. And who knows? Maybe I could get lucky. Ten dollars, maybe? A hundred?

On the other hand, if I actually win the lottery, I think that's a pretty good sign that I can do whatever is on this list, no matter how impossible it seems. So it's a win/win either way.

7) Finish The Scarf

I just have to get that snag out that I've been putting off for weeks. I have plenty of time and yarn, and I know Abigail will love it.

What? You think we broke up just because our last dance was awful? Never! We'll end up laughing about it someday, I'm sure.

8) Exercise More

This is the necessary item, along with the one impossible thing. Every year, everyone resolves to exercise more, and it lasts for a week or two. A day or two. But maybe this time, I actually will.

I can go out in the forest and jog around the lake or something. Or Abigail and I could get a gym membership together. Man, she'd hate that, but if we can do it together, it'd be so much more bearable.

9) Learn Something New

Not just like, something in school. But something big and new, like a hobby or skill. Maybe get my driver's license finally. Or learn how to ride a horse. Or play the guitar. Things that would all be cool to know, but I never had the means before. Well, I always had the means. But never the want.

One of this year's resolutions was to learn how to knit and look how far that brought me? I'm even wearing one of my sweaters now.

10) Visit You

It's tough.

It's been what, eight months now? And sometimes it still doesn't seem real, like you're just going to step out of your room and give me a noogie, or I'll hear your music and know you're working on homework or whatever.

I can say "fuck" without you yelling at me about language.

But I don't.

I haven't been back to the cemetery since that day. Because you’re not supposed to go see graves unless someone had a funeral, but funerals are supposed to be old people. Not you. Not for my brother. Not for you. But I guess sometimes that’s how the world is. Things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to.

I promise I will visit. And maybe take Abigail with me so you can finally meet her. I know you had wanted to, but I just…

I wasn’t ready yet. And then it was too late anyway.

I am sorry, Christian. And I miss you so much.

This next year will be better. I promise.



December 29, 2020 10:21

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1 comment

14:16 Jan 04, 2021

So sad. Yet lovely. Love this


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