Ava | Teen Ink


December 24, 2019
By MARA-G108, Springville, Utah
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MARA-G108, Springville, Utah
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Author's note:

I am twelve years old, and I love to write. This is the third or fourth book I have written all the way through. I love to experiment with different genre's, but realistic fiction is my favorite so far. 

Darkness, and sadness. That’s all I feel. All I can think to feel. All I want to feel. But my sadness is hurting Mommy and Daddy. And it is hurting Noah. As if they weren’t hurting enough. All this has to change, and it is going to change, starting now. 

Here’s when it all began…


“Come on, Emi!” I called my big sister, “let’s go play Volleyball!”

“I’m coming!” she called as she ran out. She paused and started wheezing. 

“Are you okay?” I asked, concerned.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Mom says I probably have asthma. Let’s play!” She started running toward the net.

“Okay. But if you get tired, you have to sit down, okay?”

“Okay” she agreed.

But she wasn’t okay. She was never okay. What we thought was just asthma was actually lung cancer, and a really bad case of it. Soon she was lying in bed constantly at the hospital being treated. It was bad enough seeing her only once every other day because of Volleyball. When I found out she died, a huge piece of me died with her. How can I live like this? I would think, agonizingly crying myself to sleep. I hadn’t gone to school or volleyball in two weeks. I didn’t think I ever wanted to go again, not without Emi. 

Seven years earlier…

“Emi! Emi! I lost my tooth! My First tooth!” 

“Ava, that’s awesome!” She always had a huge smile on her face, “Let’s put it under your pillow so the tooth fairy can come get it! Do you want to write the tooth fairy a note? I can help you, if you want.”

I still remember what we wrote on that note: 

Dear Tooth Fairy,

I hope you have had a good day of collecting teeth. This is the first tooth I have ever lost, but I hope I will lose more soon. Thank you for getting my tooth.


                                                            Ava and Emi
              * * *
I had made Emi put her name on it too, because she helped. Oh how I loved the tooth fairy. I would write a new note every time I lost a tooth. What good memories we have made. What good, good memories.

* * *

“Ava? Can I come in please?” Noah knocked on my door, “Please?”

I sighed, “Okay.” He pushed the door open gently. It had been almost five months since Emi died, but I was still grieving.

“Do you want to play Jenga?” He asked holding up the game he brought in.

No. I don’t want to play, I thought.  I shook my head.

“Later?” I shook my head again. “Okay.” His head drooped, and he walked out.

A few minutes later he came in with Apples to Apples. I shook my head again. A few minutes later he came in again, this time with a journal and two pens.

“Want to write a story?” His hopeful eyes hit me hard. “It’s okay if you don’t want to. I can go do something else” I hadn’t written a story in at least a year. I used to write stories with Emi, and sometimes even Noah, but I got more into volleyball than I have ever been, and I stopped writing as much. Then Emi died, and I stopped altogether.

“Yes, I do. I really do.” Tears came to my eyes as I held my arms out and he ran into my embrace. 

              . . .

Pow! Zap! The super hero Noahtron zooms in. The villain Zombie bear is destroying the town hall. But Noahtron will save the day! A crowd of screaming people far below are cheering for Noahtron. 

“I will save the day!” Noahtron yells down to the crowd. He flies up to Zombie bear and punches him in the stomach. Zombie bear screams and collapses. Noahtron has saved the day again!

                                                . . .

“Thanks, Ava. Do you want to write another one tomorrow?”

“Yeah, that sounds fun.” Noah ran out of the room happy, and I got out of bed. As soon as my feet touched the ground my stomach rumbled. How long has it been since I’ve had something to eat? I guess I’ll go to the kitchen. 

“Ava? Is that you? I’m so glad you got up. Would you like something to eat? I can get you something. What would you like?” Mom took a deep breath.

“Slow down, mom. I would love something to eat. Could I have broccoli and ranch?”

“Of course! Noah would you like some too?” Mom asked.

“Yeah!” Noah ran to the table.

“Joshua, honey, would you like some broccoli and ranch?”

“Yes please,” Dad answered, walking into the dining room. Our dining room is at the front of the house with a medium sized dark brown round table. There are three windows facing out the front. Across from the windows there is a doorway into the kitchen. The kitchen then leads into the living room, then the master bedroom. The master bedroom is the best room in the house. I could spend hours in that room, if mom and dad would let me. It is a big spacious room. At one end of the room it has two doorways, each with three stairs leading up to it. Both of the doorways lead to the bathroom. On both sides it has a sink and cupboards to hold all the toiletries. And both sides have mirrors that if you look into them, it becomes an infinity mirror. Then, there are two closets inside the bathrooms. In between those two closets is the shower. On the other end of the room, there is a door leading outside. I was startled out of my thoughts when dad said, “Oh! Ava, you’re up! Jennifer, why didn’t you tell me? Oh, It doesn’t matter. I’m just glad you’re up!” 

He was about to continue when Noah interrupted, “Dad, you’re rambling.”

“Oh. Sorry, I’ll work on that. You see…”


“Oh. Sorry again.” We all sat down to eat our broccoli. 

“So what have you been working on lately, Noah?” Mom changed the subject. Getting suddenly excited, he said, “Did you read the story me and Ava wrote?”

“It would be ‘Ava and I,’ Noah.” Dad said. Mom gave him a hard glare, but she was smiling at the same time.

“No, I haven’t read it, Noah.” Mom said sweetly,”Do you want to read it to us?” Noah did. He stumbled over some of the words, but mostly he did great.

“Noahtron. I like it.” Dad said when Noah was done reading it, “Did you come up with it?”

“Yeah! I did!” Noah pronounced, with pride.

“All by himself.” I said finally speaking up.

“Oh, there is something we wanted to tell you when you woke up. Now you’re awake, so we can tell you.” Mom looked at dad, her eyes saying ‘Are you ready?’

“What is it?” Noah questioned.

“You’ll see. We did it while you two were sleeping so you wouldn’t see us do it.” Dad said. He looked like he wanted to continue, but he stopped before Noah could get mad at him.

“Follow me” Mom walked out of the dining room and into the living room. We followed her into her room, and when I saw what was in there, I was just standing there, gaping. 

Noah walked in saying, “It’s probably not that….” His jaw dropped and his eyes bulged, “cool.” 

What we saw was amazing. Instead of their big bed, there was a small one in the corner, and instead of their small work desk, there was a big one with two chairs. And two computers! One had my name in yellow stickers on it, the other one had Noah’s name on it in green stickers. The whole room was yellow and green themed. There was also an abstract mural with the sun kind of swirling into plants. 

“Wow.” I said, still shook, but mostly recovered, “How did you have time to do all this?”

“Well...we worked on it when you were in your bed for days and Noah stayed at Jim’s house for a week.” Mom said a little bit embarrassed. Jim was Noah’s best friend. To add on top of that, Jim’s mom was so helpful when Emi died. She would make us meals, and watch Noah for days on end.

“It’s amazing isn’t it? And I’ll bet you’ll be wondering where we’re going to sleep. Well, Ava will get to sleep in this room, and we will sleep in Ava’s old room. Problem solved.” Dad said, proudly.

“But my room’s so small! How will you fit?” I asked confused.

“We’ll manage. Besides, your room is bigger than Noah’s anyway.” Mom answered quickly, as if she talked slowly we wouldn’t let her. My room and Noah’s room were right at the opposite ends of a hall upstairs. The stairway starts right next to the front door, and leads up to a hallway. Then there are two bathrooms connecting with a door in the middle, then with the two bedrooms. Noah’s room is the smallest, which is why he has it. It’s not that we made him take it, he chose it because he says it’s cozier. 

“Would you like to go upstairs and move all your things down here?” Mom asked gently.

“I’ll go right now. Thanks mom, thanks dad.” I said, so grateful for their help healing me, even though they were healing at the same time.

I’ve been in the room for a week; I love it so much. Noah and I have already written two short stories, and now we are working on our own stories.

Still, I lie there waiting. What I am waiting for, I don’t yet know. It feels as if everything is gone; there is nothing left. There is a tickle on my nose as a breeze strolls past. The aroma of sweet flowers fills my nose as the birds tender call pulls at my ear. The affectionate sun lays its rays over me, a blanket suffocating my fears. I am Ava.

Reading this poem through after writing it, tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t fully gotten the effect of it while writing it. I remember my mom telling me what my name means:

“Ava is to breathe or live. The Latin word ‘Avis’ means bird. I named you that to remind you that you can be free.” My mom was telling me one day when I came home crying after Jessica told me she didn’t like my name. I never talked to her again after that.

 I didn’t understand it then, but after Emi’s death I needed it. It is the only thing that held me through. Anyway, I was babysitting Noah while mom and dad were eating out at a restaurant for mom’s birthday. I was reading my poem over and over again when Noah ran in, trying to make sound. Struggling to breathe, he was trying to talk, but couldn’t get the air in and out. His face turning red he was pointing at his throat. 

“Noah! Are you okay? Are you choking on something?” My hands were shaking and I could barely bring the breath in and push it out. I ran to the nearest phone and immediately called 911. They answered and I told them what was wrong and where we live. I called mom and dad:

“Hi, this is Jennifer Braidie.” Mom answered.

“Mom,” my voice was shaking, “Noah’s choking, he can’t breathe.” I started bawling, not able to help it.

“We’ll come right now. Just hold tight, and call 911.” Mom sounded like she was almost to tears, “Just hold tight.” I hung up and ran to Noah, but suddenly felt dizzy. The last thing I saw was the EMT’s and paramedics rushing into where Noah was. 

Sad music played as the casket was lowered down into the ground. Tears were gushing from my eyes and sobs shaking me constantly. Emi, no.

 I don’t have any memory of the rest of that agonizing day. I vaguely remember being gently guided to a small car, then to my room.  I can’t go through all that again. I just barely am getting out, I can’t fall back in.  My mind shifted to the rest of the room, and I opened my eyes. I was in a nice room that I didn’t recognize. 

“Where am I? How long have I been sleeping?” I said blearily, rubbing my eyes.

“You are at the Texas children’s hospital where your brother was treated. You slept all night, and most of the day.” A voice I didn’t recognize said. I looked over and saw a nice woman with nurse scrubs on. As I processed what she said, everything rushed back.

I sat up suddenly and said, “Noah, is he okay?”

“Yes, sweetie, he’ll be fine. He started choking on a grape, and we just had to give him the Heimlich maneuver. The doctor suggested that he stay for another day, just to be safe. But after that, he is good to go.”

I sat back, relieved. Noah is going to be fine. The nice nurse got up and walked out of the room. I followed, wondering where we were going. We walked past rooms and rooms of children being treated and healed. One room caught my eye. There was a little girl sitting next to a bed bawling. In the bed there was an older girl, laying still. My mind flashed back to a few months earlier. 

“Emi!” I screamed, “No! Come back! You can’t leave now, not now.” I didn’t stop crying for hours, and when I stopped it was because I didn’t have any tears I could cry. I had the sudden urge to go in and give her a hug. I don’t know, to this day, what propelled me to go in there, but somehow I knew to trust it. I knew what it was like to go through this, I could help her. 

“Hi,” I began, my voice soft and gentle, “You’re going to be okay. I know it.” I continued:

“Still, I lie there waiting. What I am waiting for, I don’t yet know. It feels as if everything is gone; there is nothing left. There is a tickle on my nose as a breeze strolls past. The aroma of sweet flowers fills my nose as the birds tender call pulls at my ear. The affectionate sun lays its rays over me, a blanket suffocating my fears. I am Ava.” she suddenly looked up at me, a surprised expression on her face.

“My name is Ava. Did you know my name?” She said through her tears, “How did you know?”

“Your name is Ava? That’s so cool! My name is Ava too. Do you know what Ava means? It means bird and to be free. The meaning of Ava helped me through the hardest time of my life. Almost six months ago, my older sister Emi died of cancer.” 

“This is my sister, too.” She started bawling again. This time I didn’t say anything. I just gave her a nice long hug. I never would have guessed that what would heal me would be healing someone else. Ever since that we have helped each other through countless challenges and hardships and we have become the closest of friends. It’s hard to live without Emi, but I know she would want me to be happy and would want me to help Ava to be happy, even if she never did know her. 

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