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Old 10-29-2016, 04:03 PM
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Default Strangers On Park Avenue

Author's note: this is a story that I wrote for my creative writing class! Thoughts? I am turning it in soon.



If glares could kill, I believe my sister would have dropped ages ago. My heart was blackened like the color of the sky which was painted a charcoal gray. I experienced low and high times during my time in the group home but lately, most of the times were the lowest. My feelings always seemed to match up with the weather. At the moment, there was a storm painted across the sky. I was on the bench in the middle of park avenue and the rain was falling like bullets, hitting my slender pale cheeks. I was crying but I couldn’t tell where my own tears began because the salty streams blended so well with the pristine rain. These tears came at a force full of anger and rage. I was livid with the world and everyone in it. I was a short, angry spitfire and I was ready to chew up anyone who got in my way.

Just moments ago, my vexatious sister had barged into my borrowed room. “I was talking to my friend, and we started talking about you-”

I interrupted, “Don’t want some bimbo knowing about me”

“Shut up! My friend is not a bimbo.”

“You had no right to talk about me to her.”

“Oh please, just because you’re sixteen now, doesn’t mean you’re off limits. You never leave your room except for those days where you go to the kitchen but then when you got everything you need, you hole up back up in here! It’s pathetic! The least you can do is get the **** up, put on your big girl pants, leave this house for a few and go to this party. But something tells me you want to be a wimp, and stay in here.” She crossed her arms over her chest and it felt like she wanted to be taken as genuine but there was no way I could. The house she spoke of was one we shared with several other girls who weren’t related to us. This was a group home; just a step up from the foster home. My room was my temple. My walls were originally white but since I had moved in I had quickly changed that. I had taken to drawing on the walls. I didn’t want to forget where I came from.

“Screw you. I am perfectly fine.” I turned my shoulder to my sister, and looked outside the rain-stained window. The sun was hidden by these perfectly plump clouds and it was beautiful the way rain fell from them. The world wasn’t perfect but nature made up for a lot of the gore and bloodshed that occurred.

“You’re not fine. I don’t know why you miss him, but you do. It wouldn’t kill you to go outside.”

“So what if I do miss dad? Just because he wasn’t there for you, doesn’t mean he wasn’t there for me.” I didn’t even look at my sister. Who was she to decide that it was time for me to move on and start having fun again? My father was gone, somewhere out there and I wasn’t allowed to know where. One day, we had been all a happy family and playing outside. Sometimes he would touch my hair and call me beautiful and I always liked the attention he paid me. I couldn’t understand how he could be gone and how my sister could just be okay with it. Why wasn’t she hurting?

There had been moments where we were all happy together. I remember them clearly. He would come home from work, kiss the top of our heads and give us little presents. He used to call me his little angel. I never saw the bad that they claimed he brought into our lives and I don't think I will ever really change how I felt about him. Sometimes he would get angry and yell but he was my dad and I loved him unconditionally. I couldn't understand how my sister didn't feel the same way. How could she be happy in this place? I missed our home. It wasn't a perfect place at all but it had been my home for so long. There is something about belonging and being ripped away from it all causes one to crumble. I wasn't too sure what was going to happen to me but I didn't belong here. I belonged somewhere out there with him or even just away from all of this.

I looked outside my window. The sky was black. If one listened long enough, it felt like the thunder and lightning were in a patterned dance. It was frighteningly beautiful to look at. I had to get a closer look.

I stepped outside of my room for the first time in months. It was just as I expected: the stares, the hushed whispers, and the uncertainty. No one looked me in the eyes long enough for me to get a feel for what they were actually thinking but I could hear a few of them talking about me.

“Wow,” one of the girls leaned into the other, and said into her ear, “She finally left her cave. Wonder what got through to her.”

“Or who,”

“Yeah. How much you want to bet she’s only out to get a new supply of cracker jack cereal and a new pack of beer?”

Idle gossip. Rumors. That’s all that was to be expected. I didn’t really expect much from a group of self-entitled girls who felt that no one had any problems but them. I wasn’t self-entitled. My problems were huge. I had lost everything in just one moment and then been forced to play house with white preppy girls who didn't understand the meaning of suffering.

I opened the front door and I left. I never returned. I never saw my sister again but that was okay. I occasionally find myself thinking about her but this was just something that I needed to do for myself and others be damned. Sometimes I am saddened by the things that I left behind. I left behind a wall full of thoughts in written words but I wish I could have taken the chunk of wall with me. But I’m not that strong.

As I kept walking, I found myself standing in a lonely park. The rain had grown even heavier and I angrily pulled at my messy blonde locks of hair which was stuck to my slender neck. There was a black bench that glistened in the rain and it sat in the middle of the grassy park in the middle of Park Avenue. I sat down, I was soaked anyway. To someone outside, I might have just seemed like an angry teenager caught in the rain, and sure, I was that, but I was also broken. One can’t really tell when someone is broken because how can anyone see the internal damage without first knowing the person?

I looked up when I felt a figure sit next to me. I frowned slightly to myself. I sat here because the park was empty. There were so many benches where he could have sat and he had to sit next to me? I thought it was obvious to anyone that I wanted to be alone. I didn’t say anything. Maybe, he would get the picture that I wasn’t in a very talkative mood.

“Come here often?” The man had black hair, and his nose was round. His skin gave the appearance that he worked a lot under the sun. He was wearing dirty, colorful rags, and a nametag that said Jimmy.

I blinked, “Uh, not really.” I shuffled in my spot, a bit uncomfortable. I looked down at my feet, my blonde hair falling over my eyes.

“It really is lovely weather we’re having today.” The man had an odd smile on his face as he admired the black clouds. There were wrinkles on the corners of his lips.

How could he be so happy in such bleak weather? “Not really..It’s like the opposite of lovely.” I said, looking up at him. I had given up on ignoring him because I felt he would just keep talking anyways.

The man just grinned at me, “Even the most darkest of things can be beautiful too,” I got the feeling that we weren’t talking about the weather anymore.

“How can anything that’s broken be beautiful?”

He leaned in, and said to me, “Everything has its purpose, right? Everyone and everything has its own unique story, and I find that beautiful. I love to learn everything I can about a person, a place, or even an object, and just find out why they are the way that they portray themselves. When you truly understand, you can see the beauty in everything even if it’s broken now.”

I just nodded and pursed my lips upwards, hoping that the man would get that I wasn’t really in the mood, but instead of saying the snark that I intended because deep down I sort of wanted to know the answer, I said, “What if they were never beautiful to begin with and they only thought they were because they had someone telling them so? And now that person is gone so they're no longer beautiful?”

Jimmy looked me in my eyes. His eyes were gentle and gray, unlike mine. My own eyes were a harsh almost reddish color. He was quiet as he studied my face. His hand reached out as if to touch my cheek but he stopped inches before it and then let his hand fall down to his lap.

We sat in the rain, quietly, not speaking for a few minutes as he thought up a response to my question.

“I’d say she must have been gorgeous even before he came into the picture. He only complemented her so well, and now she’s lost and broken because he’s gone and she feels that she can’t go back to who she was before he entered because she doesn’t feel like that person from the past is who she is anymore. I’d also say this girl is someone who deserves the most love and patience because she just needs a little guidance.”

He explained to me concepts that were foreign to me. He mentioned some theories of psychology; something about cognitive behavior and Freudian theories of psychoanalysis. He told me that the change began with oneself, and wanting to be better, and that no one could force me into it. I wasn’t even sure how to begin. I’d been angry at the world for so long, I wasn’t sure if I could do as he was saying. It was all strange and new to me. I’d been crying for so long, I had forgotten how it felt not to cry.

“You just need a little love and time,” he placed a hand on my shoulder, and I gave him one of my true smiles. It hurt to smile, not because I was forcing myself to do so but because my muscles were not used to twisting in this way. “It’s not impossible for you.”

We discussed beauty in its simple format, the meaning of life, the reasons as to why people suffer and why it produced such beautiful products at the end countless of times. By the time we finished talking, the rain had come to a halt. The sun was beginning to shine through,and there was something beautiful to say about the aftermath of a rain shower. The colors of the reflected light was beautiful. The purples, reds, greens, yellows; they blended all so well together and it was beautiful.

I never did tell Jimmy much about myself but I never really had to speak much about myself because he seemed to know much about me without having to know anything at all. Jimmy was a real caring soul and if I could see him again, I would give him a hug and I’m not much for hugs normally. I was in a true dark spot back then and I was a real spitfire, angry at the world when the truth was I was just broken and unsure of how to begin to fix myself, and the world seemed like an easy target to be angry at. I can still remember the feel of the bench after hours of sitting there, speaking with this stranger. It feels weird to call Jimmy a stranger because I was closer to him in those few hours than I had been in the years I had with my sister. Jimmy felt almost like a father to me, but the truth was I knew nothing about Jimmy other than the fact that he wore rags instead of a suit. I imagined he had a job because he had a nametag but I couldn’t be sure either if Jimmy really was his name.

I stood in front of my reflection now, and I smiled. I had found myself a temporary place in a shelter for young girls until I could find a job and rent myself my own apartment. I still didn’t feel like I was perfect and I still felt broken but I imagine what Jimmy would say; I could picture him now, the way he would speak. “The most beautiful things are broken because there’s a story there and once you know it, you can truly admire the beauty.” All we had done was talk and it didn’t solve my problems but it definitely gave me the motivation to start to solve them. Nothing could ever just be resolved with words but I could slowly start to admit to myself that all the bruises and bloodshed didn’t make me ugly, it made me human. I was not abandoning who I was. I was still that angry, spitfire that met Jimmy, but I could be so much more.



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