Fleeting Everlasting | Teen Ink

Fleeting Everlasting

March 1, 2013
By thepaperinventory PLATINUM, Saratoga, California
thepaperinventory PLATINUM, Saratoga, California
22 articles 0 photos 8 comments

the acrid smell of sunscreen
and nauseous chlorine
brings back when two worlds first collided.

the edges are blurred—
I see the rubber lining
and the diving board
and when you first taught me to swim

kick your feet
left, right, left, right,
flail your arms—doggy-paddle
don’t look back.

we made leprechaun traps
and set them on the pavement
and stared at them all day
with clover stems in our mouths

and my face turned green
as you got a Tamagotchi,
left our scribblings in the recycling bin,
and blended with the other kids.

one day, you decided our doodles were good,
and you dragged me into art class
where you cried every day
about how horrid your drawings were
and we played “maze monster”
a game of our own invention
until your tears had dried
and your sweat had matted your forehead
and your smile was back intact.

you grinned at me devilishly
and sang nonsensical tunes
about nuclear hot dogs
while your ex-best friend
stuck a middle finger at you
and you shrugged it off
like it was nothing.

you came to school the next day
with a finger removing magic trick
which you promised to teach me
if I ran around the oval fence in less than ten seconds.

so I put my game face on
and sprinted it in eight
but you shook your head
and pretended you’d never made the promise.

you cut out two tiny triangles
from fresh, white, printer paper
and stuck them to your gums.
the simplest Halloween costume,
but also the most menacing,
as you backed me into the closet.

what color? you asked.
stop it.
please, let me see.
stop, stop.
pink? that’s disgusting.
stop! stop!
why won’t you stop?

I found you screaming one day
in the grasp of a teacher
who threatened to call your parents
if you weren’t quiet.

and your eyes were bloodshot
and you caught a glimpse of me
and you gave me a sheepish smile
and I ran back inside
and my heart was pounding
and your smile had faded
and you turned back around
with eyes so uncertain, it hurt.

the sun rose the next day,
but you were gone.
they had taken you home.

two days passed,
a week,
a month.
a whole year of silence.
for I couldn’t speak without you.

why won’t she speak to us?
why is she so quiet?
what have you done to our daughter?
please, stop.
what have they done to you?
we’re moving.
please, no.

I woke to a rumbling outside the window.
moving services, said the large truck parked in the street
and I vowed to never forget the carefree youth I knew
and the heart wrenching pain in your eyes
before you vanished.

I followed the river trail in our new backyard
and saw a face so familiar—
you were older,
and a bit taller
but your features still so recognizable.

among the throng of kids,
you were desperately folding paper boats
while the others tried to sink them
and you were startled
when I gave you four unsinkable ones
and even more startled
when you saw the scar you had created two years ago.

you asked why
I was helping you
and I answered with a tentative smile
that you had taught me how to swim.

in the acrid smile of sunscreen
and nauseous chlorine,
the memories are coming back now.

The author's comments:
A childhood friend.

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

on Apr. 23 2013 at 10:11 pm
thepaperinventory PLATINUM, Saratoga, California
22 articles 0 photos 8 comments
Thank you! :)

on Mar. 19 2013 at 8:16 pm
TheSkyOwesMeRain GOLD, Irvine, California
13 articles 1 photo 299 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments which take your breath away.

You are only as strong as your weakest link.

Beautiful! :')