Under the mist of an inevitably altered climate
Far from where fault lines converge and destroy
Far from the terrible crumbling cloy
Far from the downtown flood
And the screaming and life-losing of a city raised on foreign disaster,
I watched a tree fall, one tree
One tree that had witnessed my lifetime
One tree I had raised with out-the-window glances and bored living room sighs,
A tree I’d watched sway in the wind but never catch in the wind,
Isn’t it a great and terrible truth we shudder against
Like the walls of our divisive apartments
To wall ourselves into living rooms, and the sight of old trees,
To keep ourselves from falling?
“It was perfect,” she said.
I watched the corners of her mouth lift as if to smile
And wondered why they didn’t.
I could hear “but” before she said it, in the pregnant silence as the city jogged by.
“Can I tell you something?
I don’t think I like boys.”
Then I decided
All seismometers are fundamentally flawed
Because the earth is only really moved by words of this variety and magnitude.
How simple, objectivity, how blissful.
Here was the empathy and the compassion of my life and all I could think was “extricate.”
There were so many fault lines to cross before being swallowed by the dense furrow of the hardware store
And as the pavement passed underneath I became keenly aware of adolescence,
Which is not to change yourself but to change your perception of yourself
And make it true.
It suddenly seemed to me as though if I wasn’t coming out of something I would be going into something much worse.
Here was the trust and the meaning of my life and all I could think was “straightjacket.”
We crossed the dark threshold into a rainbow of wrenches and hooks, and it was warm inside.
I got lost in the aisles and found her in line.
As we waited, I wondered a lot of things, but to wonder silently is to wonder in vain.
Is this how a call in the dark is answered? With pure indiscreet blackness, like it is a gift?
An eye is only as good as its blind spot; a blind eye is good for nothing.
I can’t remember if we said anything else.
We bought masking tape, to hold ourselves together.
Eleanor Broughton, Age 16, Grade 11, The Brearley School, Silver Key