It's been a while since I last published a short story It's raw and barely edited, and not one of my best either, but I hope you find it somewhat enjoyable just the same.
Let me know what you think in the comments!
I came to you when you were three and afraid of the ghosts under your bed.
I heard you cry out in the middle of the night; saw you in a mass of light. Your mother came in as I watched you, waiting, wondering. She kissed you and said it was all going to be alright, that there was no need to be afraid, because you lived with only friendly ghosts who would protect you. When she left, you were still whimpering. That was when I approached you. Your finger was in your mouth. With bright green eyes you looked up at me from the piles of blankets, accepting me for what I was before you even knew me.
I didn't understand much about your pain, but I kissed your cheek and you feel asleep.
I came to you again when you fell off the backyard swing set. You had scraped your knee. I wiped the dust from your red hair and I wiped the tears from your eyes. You then began to put your trust in me. I would never hurt you, as I was a part of you.
You grew attached to me before you started school. And when you did start school, I was there with you, helping you with the weight of your backpack. That morning had already made you sad. There was yelling between your mother and father, and they had nearly forgotten to drive you. You had to draw your best friend for homework that night, and you handed in a blank sheet of paper.
You were chastised and as you sulked, I was there to hug you better.
Every day was a day of battles, a day of trials, a day of learning. You needed me each time. I often didn't understand why you were crying. The only thing I understood was that you needed me, not why. I was meant to protect you.
You talked about me to the friends you made at school. Neither of us understood why they laughed, but it made you upset and I did my best to comfort you.
The day you needed me most was when your parents came in to your bedroom and told you they didn't love each other anymore.
They would of course always love you, but they had said some things to each other that they couldn't pretend to ignore.
You were alone that night and I was the only one that protected you against the demons in your head.
You needed me for a long time after. We found ourselves switching homes quite often, but I never grew tired of following you.
As the years passed, you began crying less. You grew accustomed to the hurt you faced every day, and I needn't watch over you every night like I had before. I instead took a background presence, there to reassure you for your first oral presentation, there to smile when your feelings toward a girl were not reciprocated.
You began growing older, and didn't always appreciate the few times I was there. I felt myself fading away, becoming again enveloped by the shadows, until you barely remembered me and I was simply the figure you thought you saw, across the street, under the lamplight.
In grand moments of your happiness and misery, I came back for a fleeting moment. You saw me, and your face twitched, and you looked at me the same way you did so many years ago, as you lay under the mobile, a layer of melancholy haunting your features. In every moment of joy there was a cloud of sadness, and in every journey of sadness there was always a bit of joy. I think I began to understand as I saw you less, because every time you reminded yourself of me, the ghost of your past, sadness lurked in the corners of your shining eyes.
I remember after many years of flailing in the darkness, in my mind trying to solidify the image of your face, a burst of joy that caused me to come back. I saw you, just for a single glimpse, one minute, as you slipped a gleaming diamond onto the finger of your lover.
Then, months later, I was the flicker you saw in the mirror. I was the feeling that swept over you when you fixed your tie. You realized the feeling had little to do with what was facing you. You brushed a piece of hair from your face- you should've cut it a long time ago- and you smirked and nodded at the mirror, rushed with the same confidence we practiced for your first day of high school. Under the wrinkles on your skin lay the emotional scars only I could see, word imprinted on your soul. Names people would call you when you were just a little boy, and names mommy and daddy would call each other at night when they thought you were sound asleep. Things you called yourself while standing on the scale, because you thought no one could hear you. But I was there for all of it.
As you walked out of that room, it felt like we had officially reached our end. I wanted to reach out and stop you from going on, but as I put out my arm, I suddenly felt weaker than I ever had been. I couldn't hold onto you, and I could barely hold onto myself. I choked and sputtered and fizzled until I was nothing but particles, molecules mixed with dust made of dead hair and flakes of skin.
I am hardly waiting. I am hardly anything at all.
But now, I feel myself being tugged away from the shadows. A face is shown in an overhead ball of light. A sad little girl by the name of Hope, with your red hair and bright green eyes, who is only now learning about the ghosts underneath her bed.
The light is growing. She is growing. I am becoming corporeal.
I had never come to understand the idea behind the popular phrase 'new year, new me'. I didn't understand what anyone meant when they said they were going to be a brand new person. Only this year did I finally get the concept, as I have officially become self-aware. Self-aware? Aware of what society truly means when they push these expectations on us.
New Years resolutions have always been an interesting topic for me. I've made a few each year, some goals that I have kept and some goals that I, obviously, didn't. (did you know? it is very difficult to become a published author AND a successful actor at eleven) I think that if kept in a healthy balance, New Years resolutions can be a good idea. For instance, this year, one of mine was simply to hug people more. This is good in premise and in execution, as it is a positive one, and it will benefit everyone involved (as long as they like hugs, of course). And so what if someone wants to make changes in their life, and a good starting point for them would be the New Year? Nothing about the New Year is different except the number on the calendar. It is the same as making a resolution at the beginning of summer or at the beginning of the school year. New Years resolutions can empower people to make needed changes in their life. Writers can write more. People can be healthier (note, I did not say that they need to go on seventeen different diets and follow every single new exercise craze).
But, back to the original point of this collection of thoughts. 'New Year, New Me.' Every time I see this phrase as another freaking Instagram caption or Pin or hear it from my friends, a little part of the light I have recently found fades. Why do we have to completely change the person we are already? Is it for ourselves? Or is it for society? Why can't we love ourselves enough to not want to change every little bit we see? Why can't New Year, new me, become New Year, new attitude? Because that's what really has to change in order to change our lives. Yes, we all have flaws, but with better attitudes, we can change what we really want to change about ourselves. New Year, New Me imposes the idea that we are not perfectly imperfect enough just as we are, and we must morph into someone new every time the earth revolves around the sun. Evolution certainly does not work like that. We were not chimps last year or the year before that, and I do not believe that in 365 days we will have grown a third arm.
And can we just stop pretending that we are going to make everything better in one year, much less as soon as the clock strikes twelve? Real change takes time and effort on all counts. Every single choice matters. If you look at all the ridiculous goals I have set for myself, I know I will only touch a few of them this year.
publish a novel
publish a collection of short stories
complete Nanowrimo without cheating
do all 3 splits
be published in a magazine
drive a tractor
drive a horse-drawn carriage
own a small pig
make any british actor laugh, preferably Matt Smith
inspire those younger than myself
get my writing about global issues recognized
cheer someone up
make an Alaska cake
see Wicked on Broadway
sit on a jury
sit next to a celebrity on a plane by accident
visit Machu Picchu
bring a glass of Atlantic Ocean water and spill it into the Pacific Ocean
read Moby Dick
take a road trip without a specific destination
Rocky Horror Picture Show live
attend the Survivor reunion show
shake hands with Chris Colfer (and possibly co-write a book but that's just details)
shake hands with Emma Watson
shake hands with Ellen
milk a cow
shave a sheep
do a favour for a stranger
get off the train at the wrong stop and play hookey from life
donate cans to canned food drives
create an imaginary land for children
surprise my best friend who lives across the country with gummy bears + entire Harry Potter collection
learn sign language
get featured on YIAY (yes, this is a legitimate goal of mine)
go camping with friends
go on a road trip with friends
drink fresh coconut milk
create a brand new dessert
eat a Twinkie
eat a deep fried pickle
be a movie extra
start a band
attend a concert
This will not be my year, because I want every year to be my year. I want to check things off this list little by little and one by one. I want to make this 'my life'.