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Drama Fiction Teens & Young Adult

I sit in silence as I examine the peculiar surroundings, watching people like a fish floating within a deep tank of water. Through the reflections of the moving water, I observe fragments of human exchanges–laughter, arguing, crying, hugs. The foggy images parallel the tank's glass full of children's cloudy handprints imprinted on the glass. The glass, a separate wall between their existence and mine, yet the remains of their life engraved within my vision forever. The water like a lens for my perceptions of how it flows and gleams, only allowing fragments of motion to be witnessed. That’s what it's like for me to sit on a bench. To watch the people around me and witness their own individual lives. I do so like an audience member of a theatrical play. As the others are performing, I become immersed in them and their story, sitting there swallowed in the dark shadows. I become entranced in their world, forgetful of my own. Even those with their own problems and pains, for I, experience them from the peephole of the small, distorted curved lenses placed in the median of the door.

Weekly, though mostly daily, I sit at the park just outside a field of woods that connects to it, this little bench just beneath a beautiful, large oak tree. The park extends for miles and contains a variety of hidden treasures throughout. There are some restaurants, gardens, a cafe, a playground for the children, some museums, an array of gardens, and a beautiful lake. It’s like an elaborate old home with various hidden rooms and peculiar additions, so vast new additions are always found despite living there all your life.

A young girl, around eight or so, and her mother, as they chatter and laugh, enter the park. Strolling along the sidewalk, walk past a large tree which has been there for 120 years, its long branches span its years alive, and bark full of the air often decades, the carved initials of two friends, the memory of the little boy who always climbed in the tree, and the remembrance from vibrations of the music festivals years ago held annually nearby. They walk past a family of six arguing amongst each other. They walk past a man sitting on a bench just outside the cafe. 

Ruling my attention in the next moment is yells coming from the distance. Likely from the street just near the park where many passers-by are. I turn my head, and there is a group of five kids, maybe around 11 or 12 riding their bikes. As they pedal hard, they stand to catch up to the others. "Hurry up! We don't have all day dumbo" The others yell, "Yeah! Come on, we have to make sure we're back before sunset!" There's a boy in the back among the other four boys who have fallen behind. Annoyed, he screams, "I'm coming!" As he speeds up. 

Their playfulness makes me smirk a little. The boys' teasing and yelling, hair dirty with mud, shoes ratted, and their rosy cheeks from always being outside. For a brief moment, my mind darkens as I feel the presence of my reality in its contrast. A creature within me, weighing down my stomach, heavy, with its sharp claws scratching its surrounding as it walks, yet full of an aggressive, occasionally calm jitter. A slew of emotions. Envy, appreciation, excitement, dread. I look next to me, and there in front of my being's presence, lies a void of colorless absence. A void so quiet it hurts my ears. A void so empties it reminds one of the laughter it could contain but sits there still. I suppose that's why I enjoy watching people often. It allows me, in my own way, to experience the moments in which I lack.

The lighting changes as profound clouds shifts over a fraction of the gleaming sunlight. Now the sun's light focuses instead of on the sidewalk beside the park, near the lake and playground. With no direction, my eyes follow the light unconsciously, leading them to a man lying alone on a bench. With worn-out clothes, he appears to be sleeping. Next to him is a small cart of food and supplies. 


He once was a young child. He had a lovely life. Beauty surrounded him with the fresh, colorful flowers scattered throughout the bushes surrounding his home. There was lots of forest around him too. Deep thick forest around the house. This allowed him to play throughout the forest. Every morning he woke up to the smile of pine from the neighboring woods. It comforted him. Though there were not too many neighbors, there were always the three to keep each other company. He, his brother, and his mother. 

There was a lake a few minutes from their house, which he and his brother often visited. They would walk through the long blades of grass stretching as far as the tip of their heads beneath the warm sun. Sometimes under the deep heavy clouds or rain too; Despite the weather, they always went. They'd splash and play in the murky water for hours at the lake together. Playing Marco Polo or seeing how long they could hold their breath underneath splashes. Sometimes they'd bring small plastic water guns and shoot each other as they ran or hid in the trees. 

Once, they brought a small volleyball they found in the woods to play in the lake. They bumped it back and forth as their bodies were submerged in the water. When one of the boys missed it gets lost in the surrounding trees, coming across some hidden rope tied to a thick branch. From that day on, they’d always spend their days at the lake swinging off the strands of thick, coarse, twisted straw into the lake as they laughed.

It seemed like any other- the day it rained. And like any other day, the boys decided to go to the lake. The boys took no bother to its thunder as it pounded. It frightened them, but in a way that thrilled them. This day was different though. The rain was unusually harsh and volatile outdoors as lightning flashed in the sky and the water began to build up all around. That day was different because it was composed of the very moment, in the depths of the water he lost his brother forever.

The sibling is alone now. His perception of life changes as he sees much of the brokenness engulfed around him he seemed never to be aware of. His mother is never home. He never knows where she is, but he doesn't even want to. He always heard her come home late at night. Though aware of the situation, it wasn't until gradually he realized the implication of his father having left their family when the two boys were young. He had no one. He pushed other people away. He didn't want to have anything to do with anyone. Anytime he could, most times after school, he walked over to the lake and sat there. Despite the grim aroma that encapsulated the once entirely joyous times, he did so to revisit the memories. He always felt a little less alone. 

For most of his high school, he focused on his studies. He wanted to escape the small, poor town he grew up in with its stale depressing memories. Air absorbed the smell of the days spent with him and his brother. Every day and every night he worked to get into college, where he eventually met teh love of his life. When they have a family together he works every day and every night to provide for them; He took care of his family. Somberness filled his heart as he sees his mother age more. still staying out late .drinking. He doesn't have much contact with much of his immediate family anymore, but when he looked around him he was no longer alone. He doesn't have much contact with much of his immediate family.

With a smile on the woman's face- the boss-, "You're getting a raise!" she exclaims

The family goes out for pizza and ice cream that night together in celebration. On the way home, a flash of color in a store window catches his 8-year-old daughter's eye--Rosy. She runs inside the store and picks it up from the window, examining it. Her eyes glimmer with a crystal sheen of the flowers' colors encasing the child's deep brown eyes. The delicate strings of thread intertwined together to create a yellow array of color with a distinct turquoise petal. She turns her head as she hears the store's door entrance bell ring and sees her father enter. "Look!" she exclaims. Her cheeks are rosy, just like her name, her smile so big, her eyes full of joy but deep wisdom. "What is it?" he asks. She responds as if obvious "A flower." "And now, why would you want that?" She takes a moment before speaking. "It reminds me of the days you and I spent hours planting flowers outside. Spending hours in the crisp air. And the colors of the sunset always blessed us at the end of the day.”

His wife divorces him. He feels alone again

He loses his children.

As time passes

His grandchildren too 

He loses his job

EVICTION NOTICE he reads in big red bold letters

He's kicked out of his home

He's back to being 8 years old again. Standing there. His lungs and heart --hollow. Hurt. He's alone again. Never did he think he would end up in this spot.

Every day, he visits the same lake his brother, and he played in. The lake they splashed in. The lake he died in. Despite its blurry existence in his memory from tears - he visits the lake every day and talks to his brother. He feels sad but comforted by the lake, and just a little less alone. 


After some time has passed, once again I heard yelling and chatter from the sidewalk near the park. I look over and see the young boys from before riding their bicycles. Even faster than before as they bike up the hill, coming back from wherever they were previously coming from. Their voices and behavior are frantic, looking back as they ride and yelling at each other, "See what you did, dipwit" "FASTER!"

I look back to the park and see the young girl, this time playing happily with a pink balloon alone at the playground, but her mother still glancing over at her to make sure she’s okay. While gigging, she bumps and chases the balloon. But, as he circles around teh slide, she trips losing sight of her new prized possession. She chases after it, but the speed of its float is too fast, for she watches the balloon dissipate into the sky.

Tears begin to stroke her face. As she stands there limp and sad, another little girl notices what happened and walks over. They stand face to face as he reaches his hand out, giving her his navy blue balloon. She smiles. They begin to play with each other throughout the evening. They laugh. They bury each other in the sand. They play tag on the play structures. I watch them as their faces become sticky from sweat and red from smiling. 

I wonder if the young girl's mother has come back, as it wouldn't be safe for her to be out still alone as the sunsets. My eyes divert back to the cafe. I still don't see the young women exit. Fortunately, the young girl is still playing in the sand and unharmed. 

In the distance, just outside the park, I hear a crash. My ears burst with the sound of a blood-curdling scream. It echoes through the vast sky and rattles the leaves of the tree above me. My brain shuts down, taking control of my body and conscious awareness. As I'm searching for the location of the sound, I see something limp fly into the air and crash, cracking into the harsh cement. I then find myself standing near five young boys, one of the fallen on the ground, the four others standing around him as I am. Within the center of the huddled children, I see a puddle of blood. Lots of blood. Lots of red. Red. It stains deep within the layer of my retina.

Voices echo as they rattle in my ears. My vision begins to blur. Or perhaps it was the fog of my memory smeared like one's attempt to clean the mirror of a steamy room. Though I initially hear voices, it smears into a non-sensual blur. I am, however, conscious of turning my head. I see the young girl in a brief image, now with her mother. As they are in the park, I know the mother is caught off guard. I can't remember much from there except for her face. Her pale, ghostly, fearful look. Crouched, looking down at someone near a bench.

All that I can remember next is being at a hospital. As my brain begins to piece further information together, I understand the situation of the events I've become immersed in. I remember the color of the red blood. So deep. Seeping with the depths of my eyes. I remember brief moments of talking to the doctors in panic as I arrived here with the young boys. I have a mental image of a young boy on a stretcher. Then I remember the ghastly face of the woman. With worry, I wondered what had happened. I turn my head and see four boys sitting in the waiting room near me. They seem familiar. It was then that I realized the four boys were the children that had ridden their bikes near the park. A voice called a name from the hall, I assumed, calling for the next patient. The boys' faces lit up, and they looked at me with excitement and a smile. 

I'm caught off guard. My brain's pattern stumbles a bit. Why was the boy addressing me? From this moment, though it sounds obvious, I realized I existed. That my being encapsulated in a visible vessel. That's when I feel the hospital. The harsh, fluorescent lights and stark white interior beaming, even more so as the light bounces off the glossy interiors. Coughs bluntly pierce the air in the moments of silence where there is the constant clank of the phone or clinking of medical tools. The cold air of the building is twiddling with the hairs on my skin, and the harsh smell of disinfectant and other strong fragrances conceal odors. My eyes are tired and dry, enhancing their feeling of dryness and chill. I can still feel my heartbeat pound fast through my chest.  

The boy who seems the eldest gets up, leading the rest, and with his head turned towards mine, waves his head, mouthing "come on!" to get me to follow them. Bewildered but unquestioning, I follow them to where the doctor leads us. 

I see the young boy lying in his blue gown and sitting up as we enter the room. He has bandages and casts covering his body with Tubes inserted within his skin. There were some bruises throughout his arms, but a weak smile still managed to crawl across his face. The boys start yelling and cheering, and hugging their friends. His smile grows. As I still stand there, and the noise calms down, the leader of the friend group turns towards me, face calm, and with utter peace and gratitude, "Thank You."

On my way back to leave, something catches my eye. I see an old familiar-looking man in a room we pass by through the hallway. I stop, diverting away from the group unnoticed, and walk towards the window I saw him through. I find myself entering through the door, and as I do I realize teh man in teh gown is teh man from teh park. That's when I noticed the other people standing in the room. But they weren't anyone who seemed to work at teh hospital. I see a flash of color whip the attention of my eye. It's a blue and yellow flower patch placed on the jacket of a lady. It's the lady from the park. Just below her is her daughter. It's then I notice their direct confused stares towards me. I apologize for intruding and then ask if they are alright. There was a long silence that followed. The waitress looks to the side, not sure what to say, her eye sockets deep and dark. She sighs, then softly pats the seat beside her, issuing me to come near her. 

She told me how she went to the park when she was a little girl and how it special place in her heart. Some days she would watch the trees sway in the wind as they glimmered against the sunlight, watching the small fluffy bumbles bees swirl around the flowers growing beside the leaves. Some days she would play and splash in the lake. Some days she lay beneath the sun, playing with her dolls, beside her, until one day, unknowing why until recently, sat her father. 

Twenty years later, she sits by her father, looking at his scruffy, pale face, A calm gesture on his calamity, peculiarly still. Staring at him, a noise comes from the machine, and a beep burns the still air. In months from now, his ashes would be spread into the warm murky water of the lake he and his brother swam in, finally reunited. Even though we were strangers, her eyes poured a stream of tears, and her face stretched in anguish. She squeezed my hands. Some hours later, their family fills the air with their sorrow and love, her now embracing embraced in my arms as she sobs into my shoulders.

May 19, 2022 17:14

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1 comment

10:27 May 27, 2022

I love your writing but for me it was too descriptive. I think I have just been ruined by these webnovels that always shoot to some action.


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