Ghosts in the Sand | Teen Ink

Ghosts in the Sand MAG

May 28, 2009
By Genevieve Nielsen BRONZE, Winnetka, Illinois
Genevieve Nielsen BRONZE, Winnetka, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Can you draw it? Show me what happened? Create that night here in the sand.”

The cool sand brushed over my toes as I sat in the sandbox. My finger was poised, but I hesitated, uncertain of what I could outline. So many shapes came to mind when I thought of that night. She leaned in closer, as if she were looking for a tiny piece of gold in the sand. But she relaxed in disappointment when I could produce nothing. My mind was a whirl of images, and I struggled to choose which one would best explain that night.

Thinking of my father's rough, dry hand holding mine as we walked back to the car after dinner, I started to draw a hand. But barely had I completed the thumb when I covered it up; that was only the beginning. I had still been breathing calmly, enjoying the warm spring air and my carefree four-year-old life.

I tried again, drawing the cracked sidewalk that I had skipped along – three of my quick skips matching one of my father's strides. But again I rubbed my hand over the sand, erasing my work. I was leaving out the more important things around me: the night-blooming jasmine, the car, and the dark sky that hid the strange man.

Next, I started to draw the strange man's shiny gun that could create damage far greater than its size. This seemed like a good idea: my eyes had been fixated on the gun as my father threw the man his wallet and watch. I had ­followed that glint of metal into the night as he ran off, ­satisfied.

But as my finger rounded the edge of the handle in the sand, I realized the gun alone did not embody my feelings about that night, because when the gun left, my fear did not. Once the strange man disappeared, I had grabbed a nearby tree to steady myself as my knees shook and my heart pounded. Frustrated in my attempt to draw my experience, I shoved sand across the box, looked up at the lady, and shrugged, admitting defeat.

The frustration I felt at not being able to depict that night in the sand was nothing compared to how I felt every night when I became unable to speak. Haunted by glimmering guns, flying wallets, and vanishing men, I would run down the hall to my parents' bedroom. Even though I felt safe with them, I couldn't find words to describe that night.

This had led my mother to bring me to this lady, who had a sandbox in her office and the word “Doctor” on her door.

“Try to draw just one thing from that night,” she said encouragingly.

I exhaled slowly and then plunged my hand into the cool sand. I navigated smoothly, producing a small circle and a larger circle above it.

“Can you tell me about that?” she inquired.

“That,” I pointed to the smaller circle, “is a night-blooming jasmine bud. Even though the moon is out,” I pointed to the larger circle, “it is still a bud.”

“What's wrong with it?”

“It's afraid to bloom.”

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This article has 3 comments.

jenni said...
on May. 10 2012 at 11:18 am
this is so wonderful

on Jan. 29 2010 at 11:35 am
AwesomeHeather SILVER, Indianapolis, Indiana
9 articles 0 photos 13 comments

i looovvvee the ending!

on Dec. 28 2009 at 10:33 pm
Alicia-Turner BRONZE, Bradenton, Florida
4 articles 0 photos 7 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

This was great, I felt as if I were there.