Summer Skin | Teen Ink

Summer Skin MAG

By Maria Diaz SILVER, Phoenix, Arizona
Maria Diaz SILVER, Phoenix, Arizona
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The cool breeze sifts through my limbs, slipping and sliding through unexplored parts. For a moment the rest of the world slips away, scrubbed clean and absolved by the waves. I’d like to dive into that ocean, feel the water crash down on me, suppress me, remind me that I’m not the only thing that matters. But I can’t. Not now. Not yet. I should be here when you wake up, because that was the one sincere promise I made you.

I don’t even want to try leaving right now – not when it was you who looked at me in that way that taught me what it was to feel the ground beneath my feet disappear. Tiny rivulets of water slither down your temple, and I’m tempted to brush them away. I hold back, remembering what my father always told me: “The one you mark is the one you keep.” And I don’t want to mark you because I’m not sure if I’ll keep you. I’m not sure if I’ll keep you, and I’m even less sure about whether you’d survive it. Maybe it’s because I know you feel me slipping away despite your desperate clutching, like the grains of sand you held so tightly in your palm not two hours ago. Or was it years? It doesn’t matter.

The past has passed, and what’s left of it except a few recollections that’ll be buried beneath a surface of newer memories? Maybe you don’t feel the same way, and you’ll wake believing that the past is the segue to our future. Oh, what I wouldn’t give so that you’d wake to think about your next encounter instead. A part of me – the part that wishes this would never end – wants to convince me that I should stay, because you’re too bruised and too vulnerable and too fragile to do this on your own. The part of me that knows it’ll just be later rather than sooner overpowers the other.

The sand shifts slightly and, without looking, I know you’re reaching out for me. I bite down on my tongue gently, forcibly swallowing a groan of frustration. Against my better judgment, I offer you my hand and feel yours slip into it, entwining and tangling. Your hand is as familiar to me as my own, the leathery feel of your skin and long-dried salt strangely comforting. How could it not be, when I can recount thousands of paths traced upon the lines of my face with the wandering pads of your thumbs? Every trail embedded on your palm tells of every secret meeting we’ve had, all testaments to our fairy-tale story.

Fleetingly, I wonder if I’ll have the courage to stay when the silvery tones are replaced by glowing warmth. Then you stir again and it’s not hard for me to remember why I can’t stay within fields of golden scenery and humid, still air.

You exhale and I inhale. The moon is bright, illuminating the sky and shining like a large quarter in the expanse of navy blue above us. I tilt my head and glance at you, carelessly sprawled out. Surely you wouldn’t be so nonchalant if you knew. Your sunset skin and long limbs make me think of our summer, brightness and oceans bursting behind my eyelids. Your face is all angles and planes, like a high school geometry lesson. You’re squirming again, and I know that it’ll be only a matter of minutes before you wake.

“You’re leaving?” Your voice is rough with sleep, but somehow it’s still like warm molasses.

“Well, you’re awake now,” I say neutrally. It’s not a direct answer, and I know you hate it.

Your hand slips from mine and you rub your eyes, so blue they put the spring sky to shame. “Are we ever going to talk?”

“There’s nothing to say.” I shrug and promptly wince, remembering why I hate the sun. My shoulders are red and achy, sensitive even against the thin fabric of my shirt.

“Okay.” You nod slowly. “Okay.” We’re quiet for a few moments before you reach out and brush a strand of hair from my face. I know there’s more to this. “Things get lost without anyone noticing on the way, you know.” Your tone is quiet. Not angry. Not sad. Quiet.

“We’re a mistake we knew we were making,” I reply. “Four weeks isn’t enough to make something real. It’s not like we could have had forever.”

“Love that’s real doesn’t need to have forever,” you say, just as quietly.

I contemplate my words carefully. In the end, honesty wins over tact. “This isn’t real.”

It takes another long, steady moment before you decide to speak again. When you do, I sigh with weariness.

“You were the loneliest place I’ve ever been in.”

“And you thought you could fix that?”

“I wish I could have.”

We are both looking up at the sky, wondering why the stars aren’t out. Maybe they’re hiding behind a veil of thin clouds. Your arm is barely brushing mine, almost inconceivably. I think of how many times I pictured this moment, this ending point. It’s nothing like the dramatic scene in my mind. It’s almost as if the strings connecting us had been snapping one by one, softening the final blow.

I’ll miss you, your broad smile and loud laughter. I can close my eyes and almost picture you bounding up the stairs to my family’s summer home. I’ll miss the days we spent on the dock, playing that stupid game where we name the passing boats. I’ll miss your black leather jacket that always smelled of humid afternoons and sunshine. I’ll miss your golden hair and the small freckles that dot the bridge of your nose and the tops of your cheeks. I’ll miss the birthmark right below your left shoulder blade, the one shaped like Italy. I’ll miss your family. I’ll miss your dog. I’ll miss your room. I’ll miss your car.

Somehow, despite all of this, I still say, “See you around.”

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This article has 136 comments.

on Jun. 27 2009 at 3:11 am
Elle Thompson BRONZE, Livonia, Michigan
2 articles 0 photos 39 comments
im not sure i fully understand why you had to say goodbye>please tell me or write more-musttt know!

Brittne M said...
on Jun. 23 2009 at 8:22 pm
Wow! Teen Ink, you are amazing. This magazine displays so much young talent and creativity. The manifold themes and situations covered by these teen writers are extremely vast as well. Anyone could find at least one story they can relate to.

A recent favorite of mine was “Summer Skin” in the February issue. This nonfiction story was beautifully written and intriguing. It left me wanting more, which every good story should do. I have felt this way about many pieces in your magazine.

Thank you for publishing this magazine so students like me can display our work for others to enjoy.

luisalouise said...
on Jun. 1 2009 at 7:04 pm
Hey, this is really incredible, you definitely need to keep this up.

on May. 27 2009 at 10:54 pm
Secret_Love_Tells GOLD, Harrisonburg, Virginia
15 articles 0 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I love you more than the sun loves the sky and the moon loves the stars" --my best friend
"Do it for love." --sark
"One does not succeed in never falling but in getting back up evertime they do so."- Confucius

You are an amazing writer! Keep it up! I felt like I was actually expeirencing it also! You really connected yourself to the story and made it connect to the reader.

on Apr. 7 2009 at 8:38 pm
bcookie PLATINUM, Ashville, Ohio
27 articles 5 photos 46 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”


ccbinks said...
on Apr. 4 2009 at 10:15 pm
Wow, that completely blew me away. I really liked the way that you used all the seemingly meaningless details to really make a complete picture, and I was almost getting an old world feeling even though the story was completely contemporary. So cool.

on Mar. 21 2009 at 1:16 am
yourworstnightmare BRONZE, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
4 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
The best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. (Teddy Roosevelt)

keep writing, this was really good! you brought me into the story so much it was like i could hear the ocean waves crashing against each other. i loved the experience of reading your piece.

A.K. Lore said...
on Mar. 20 2009 at 11:46 pm
I thought it was excellent. It kept my attnetion, and was nicely written. Good job.

bre said...
on Mar. 19 2009 at 10:11 pm
left me speechless, P;ease submit more

on Mar. 12 2009 at 11:54 pm
Megpie94 SILVER, Cumberland, Maryland
6 articles 0 photos 13 comments
ahhh it was so sad.the peice was so amazing. i felt as if i was there.i wanted to hug you so was great.

on Mar. 6 2009 at 6:04 pm
were a mistake that we new we were making

love thats real doesnt need forever

i love these lines you can in really good and made the characters seem so real. very good job. keep up the great work! :)

Kit-Kat SILVER said...
on Feb. 28 2009 at 2:44 am
Kit-Kat SILVER, Nashua, New Hampshire
6 articles 0 photos 19 comments
A very interesting piece. Emotional, but not too sad. Like a normal teenat=ge drama, with a mature twist. You have an excellent writing style! keep up the good work.

on Feb. 24 2009 at 11:41 pm
Taylor,Mata BRONZE, Portland, Oregon
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
keep in mind people cahnge,but the past doesnt,,

thats sweet in a sad way!

Amanda09 said...
on Feb. 13 2009 at 5:48 pm
I thought this story was really good, it was also sad, i think your a talented writer, and you should keep writing!

lpg77 said...
on Feb. 11 2009 at 9:23 pm
woahh!!!!! that was so good! your writing is incredibly descriptive and true! what more could you ask for?! although, i didn't like the part about the whole 'four weeks' thing...that made it seem too "teenage" for me. but still really, really great!

Wiskat09 said...
on Feb. 7 2009 at 9:27 pm
very good writting.. nicely done.. very desciptive. put me in your head. or the charecters..

Loved it.. keep putting the pen to the paper.