BY: Nick Brown, Ionia High School
“Being a young male that’s in love with other boys is such a surreal feeling to have. Listening to Bruno Mars sing ‘Girl you’re amazing, just the way you are’ and trying to imagine myself as the female he’s serenading, watching Jack hold Rosie on the Titanic and envisioning me in his arms rather than her. It’s very alienating,” I tell the reporter.
The room that I’m in is completely illuminated by the cameras that hover like spaceships over my head. There are three chairs: One for me, one for the reporter, and one for the reporter’s coat. An exit sign shines above a lone door in the back of the room, baiting me, calling my name. I look to the reporter with a dreadful anticipation for his next question.
“You grew to fame by coming out to the entire world rather abruptly on your television show. Do you regret making this choice and the struggles it has brought you?” he asks with a certain look on his face that I can’t quite put a name to, maybe intrigue.
“I haven’t regretted it for a second. LGBT youth deserve to know that they aren’t alone in what they’re feeling. I hope to be the voice for them in a world where no one speaks the truth. I’m only seventeen now, and still trying to figure things out for myself, so I really relate to the kids out there that don’t really know what to do. All I’ve known my whole life is acting for my television show, which is going into its eighth season now. The directors had always shoved me into heterosexual roles and I’d had enough of it. That’s why I kissed Ryan on set instead of Becca. Ryan and I knew that the cameras broadcast live, so we planned it out for that specific scene, when we were all on the same set at the same time. We needed it to be then, so that it was important.”
The reporter looks at me then with an expression of complete and utter awe. Anyone else that has interviewed me in these past weeks since that day on set has looked almost disgusted with me. Not this one though. This man looks entranced. He takes a deep breath and asks, “Why do you think that that particular scene on set was more important than others?”
“I needed to make a statement. There’s a lot of hurt in this world that would be gone if only people opened their eyes to the beauty around them. Becca was in on the plan, and Ryan and I had been secretly seeing each other for about three months, so it wasn’t like they were caught by surprise. They knew that something had to be done. A fifteen year old girl had jumped off of the building just across the street from the studio two days prior to the kiss on set. Her name was Alexis Kittering, and her parents had recently evicted her for being gay. She decided that ending the pain would be easier than seeking help. That really set a fire underneath me. Her parents were, pardon my insensitivity, dumb enough to believe that their daughter was some nameless inhuman object that could be thrown away. That wasn’t the case at all. She was a girl in pain, and her name was Alexis.”
The reporter looks completely speechless, but he had one more question for me: “So your kiss on set was a symbol for acceptance?”
“That’s exactly what it was. Ignorance is dangerous. It’s costing people their lives, their happiness. When I kissed Ryan on set I told the world, ‘I’m different, and that’s okay. You aren’t alone.’ I want the human race to accept and love people for their beautiful souls, not turn them into soulless shells of themselves. To not be educated on an important issue our world is facing is to be Death personified. My wish to everyone watching this interview is this: Educate yourselves. Be the change in your community, in the world. Reach out to your neighbors that are being shunned as the minority. You might just save a life.”
“Brian Edmonson, thank you for being with us today. From OUTREACH News, I’m Jim Holloway; Goodnight, America.”
The lights dim and Mr. Holloway looks down at his feet, then up at me. I can see tears in his eyes, an unexplainable emotion expressed on his face. “Last week, my son came out to me. I didn’t know what to do, and to be honest, I was quite disappointed. Hearing you tell that story set my soul free. I love my son no matter what, and I need to go home and tell him that. I seriously can’t tell you how thankful I am, Mr. Edmonson.”
“Please,” I say as my heart fills with bliss, “don’t hurt yourself over how you reacted. Show your son what he means to you and all will be well.”
Mr. Holloway gets up to leave the studio, but I have one last thing to say. “Mr. Holloway?” I call to him.
“Yes?” he replies, with anxiety you can feel in the air.
“If you need any help, you know where to find me. Go to the studio and ask for Brian. I’ll be there in a heartbeat.” Mr. Holloway smiles, takes his coat from a lone chair, and exits through the back of the building with a swift stride of confidence. God only knows that he’ll need it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nick Brown does it again. As a sophomore at Ionia High School, Nick loves to write and hopes that his pieces connect to teenagers that may be experiencing the issues he presents in his work. This is his second published piece by MIteen Writers where he also serves as an editor.
BY Jazmine Sharp, Cheboygan Area High School
"Blake, time to wake up, breakfast is ready," I heard my mother call.
I groaned and rolled out of bed. My first day at a new school, exciting, I thought sarcastically.
I took a quick shower before going downstairs and into the kitchen. I was surprised to see that my mother had actually made me breakfast. A plate of eggs, toast, and bacon sat on the table in front of me, which I quickly gouged down.
I don't remember the last time I had eaten a meal like this, but now it was time to focus on school.
I walked to the bus stop a block from my house and waited for my bus, 18A. After fifteen minutes I was ready to give up, but when I started walking the bus rolled around the corner.
I walked up the three steps and onto the platform.
"Good morning, young man. Blake is it?" The bus driver asked.
"That would be me," I replied.
"Well, I'm gonna try to make your bus experience as painless as possible, but since you're the last one on, it'll be a bit harder to find yourself a seat. But go on."
I walked past almost all of the seats, most of which came glares from the other students until I found a seat in the back with a girl that let me sit with her.
She had long brown hair and bright blue eyes that were framed by glasses. I didn't even notice the brown mud stained jeans she was wearing until I sat down.
"What happened?" I asked as I gestured to her clothes.
"Oh, I... I just fell," she blushed.
I stuck my hand out for her to shake, "My name's Blake."
"Ella," she smiled.
Name: Blake Grey Evans
Locker #310, Grade:12
Student Number: 10899
Date Enrolled: 9/06/2016
Room 31, Period 1
Room 401, Period 2
Room 219, Period 3
Room 110, Period 4
Room 107, Period 5
Room DRAFT, Period 6
I looked up from my schedule and saw Ella walking up to me.
"Hey, Blake. Oh, can I see your schedule?"
"Sure, here," I handed her the piece of paper.
"My locker is right next to yours! Oh, and we have English, Bio, and Calculus together," she giggled.
"Cool. Maybe we could sit next to each other."
"Definitely. We should head to class anyway. Do you have your stuff?"
"Yep. I just... lost.. my book," I scratched the back of my head, "Oh, wait. Found it!"
I quickly tucked my books under my arm and started walking behind Ella toward room 312.
"Good morning, class. Please find a seat, you will be sitting here for the rest of the semester. When you're seated, start silent reading. If you don't have a book to read, I will give you a pass to the school library." Mrs. King stated in a monotone.
Ella and I sat at the two desks in the back of the class.
After fifteen minutes of silent reading, Mrs. King spoke again.
"May I have your attention, please. Thank you. Now, since it is your first day of school, I won't assign anything difficult. Your first assignment will consist of you and your partner working together to find an inspirational quote, and you will write a one-page essay on your findings describing what it means to you. You will be working with the person sitting next to you. Such as Abby and Dylan, Blake and Ella, Susan and Alayna, and so on and so forth."
For the remaining half hour, all Mrs. King talked about was the procedures and expectations for her class. A few students even fell asleep.
When the bell rang I packed up my stuff and Ella basically tried shoving me out of the door, but not before Mrs. King could grab my arm. "Blake Evans, you're the new student. How would you like to help out in the school play this year?"
"I guess I wouldn't mind. What play is it?"
"This year it's Romeo and Juliet. With your brown hair, blue eyes and strong build, you'd make the perfect Romeo!"
Ella's mouth dropped, "I'm sorry, I think I might have just heard you wrong. I thought you said you wanted him to be the lea-"
"I did," she interrupted.
"Do you have a female lead yet?" Ella asked.
"Try-outs are next Friday. You can try out just as easily as anyone else, Ella. Now hurry along, you don't want to be late to class." Mrs. King pointed at the door.
We had a few minutes to get to class so Ella showed me where the restrooms were and then showed me where our bio class was.
We sat in the back again, Ella on my left side and nerdy looking kid on my right. Glasses with thin frames and braces, along with three books on his desk. His backpack was hanging on the back of his chair and looming quite closely to the floor; it probably held more books.
The teacher was a tall, blonde woman stood behind her desk shuffling papers.
"Sit down, everyone. Today we will be learning about molecular construction and decomposition. There will be no homework today, but I fully expect that you pay attention because you will be taking a quiz on Thursday containing the material we learn today."
Ella whispered to me, "How much are we going to bet that she trips over her own heels before class is over?"
Mrs. Dawson looked over at me, "Mr. Evans. Would you like to stand up and introduce yourself to the class?"
I stood up and cleared my throat, "Hi, my name is Blake." I sat back down.
"Is that it?" Mrs. Dawson asked.
"Yes ma'am," I replied.
She looked back at the board and continued with the lesson, glancing at me throughout the hour until the bell rang once again. And, once again, my arm was caught by yet another teacher.
"I've heard good things about you from your most recent educators, Mr. Evans. Have you ever been involved in an engineering club, or anything science related?"
"I have. A couple years, I guess," I chuckled nervously.
"Stop by tomorrow afternoon to check out what we do around here, I think you'd like it," she gave me a quick wink and went back to shuffling papers on her desk as she had before class started.
Next I had Physical Education. I found my way to the boys' locker room on my own. After changing into my gym clothes, I headed into the gymnasium. Most of the guys just stared at me, and the girls were whispering furiously between glances toward me.
There wasn't much to see, I was a bit more muscular than the rest of the guys, but I didn't see myself as sexy or attractive.
During gym, we ran laps for ten minutes straight, most of the girls just walked. The other forty minutes were used for dodge ball. I was one of the first to be picked for a team, and I bet they were glad they did because our team won!
After class, Mr. Peters stopped me. "You did very well today, Blake. Are you into sports?"
"Thank you. Some, I guess."
"Would you be interested in joining the football team?" He asked.
"Oh, I don't know..."
"Don't worry about it. Think about it and let me know by the end of the week, alright?" he winked at me.
"Sure thing," I smiled back.
I walked back to the locker room, which was still crowded, and went to take a shower before lunch.
After changing back into my other clothes, I walked toward the cafeteria. Ella appeared out of nowhere beside me in the lunch line.
"So, how was gym?" she asked.
"I pretty much aced it."
She giggled. Her laugh is so adorable.
"I'm supposed to think about joining the football team."
She stared at me, wide-eyed. "It's your first day and the coach already asked you!?" Disbelief was evident in her tone, which made me smile.
"Yeah," I smirked.
We got through the lunch line and walked outside to a picnic table in the courtyard. It was a nice day out.
"Okay, so far you have been asked to be a part of," she started counting on her fingers, "the school play, an engineering club, and the football team. What's next? Mathletes?" she snikered.
"Probably. I'll ask Mr. Simmons just to antagonize you." I said with a wink.
After we finished eating, we threw our lunch trays away and she walked me to my Geography class.
Ms. Donnelly is my first teacher today that didn't stop me after class, which I was grateful for. Two more hours, then I can go home.
Ella and I didn't sit next to each other in this class, our teacher had already planned a seating chart for the class.
This calculus class won't be difficult. I remember taking this last year at my old school. I didn't finish, though, since I got pulled out of school early because of the move.
I finished the homework assignment in just under twenty minutes.
This time, when the bell rang, I went to the teacher myself.
"Ah, the new student, Blake. How can I help you?"
"Do you happen to have a mathletes club of some sort?" I asked.
"I do. If you would like to join, I must warn you that if your grades for this class fall below a C, you won't be able to participate."
"I understand, sir. I wanted to prove to a friend that I'm fully capable of joining the mathletes on my own," I snuck a glance a Ella, who only grimaced at me.
He smiled, "We meet on Fridays."
And with that, Ella and I exited the classroom.
"You're such a show-off," she scoffed at me.
"Well, I try. Thank you for noticing," I grinned.
She smacked my arm playfully and giggled. That laugh again, it's so cute.
My last class was a blur, I don't remember much except that the teacher called on me for all of the answers I didn't know.
When the final bell rang, I grabbed my books and exited quickly before Mr. Turner could find an excuse to keep me a second longer.
When I reached my locker I found Ella standing there, playing with her hair.
"It's about time. What'd you do? Trip over a sloth that was eating a snail?" She snorted.
Balancing all of these clubs and classes while thinking about Ella is difficult enough before I've even started them, let alone once all of the event dates collide.
Everyone's so worried about fitting in that they forget how to balance all of the activities out. My problem is that I fit in too well. And that is going to make this year a long one.
About the Author: Jazmine Sharp is a sophomore at Cheboygan Area High School. She loves to read, write, and draw. She's in love with music. She has very supportive friends and is open to many new ones.
BY: Carson Yenchar, Ionia High School
If you look closely at the forest, you’ll see a thriving environment filled with light and joy. You’ll hear the snapping of branches as a lone deer perks its head up at the strange sound. Squirrels chatter and chirp, as if engaged in a conversation between good friends. Birds whiz by trees at the speed of light, with only a blur of green that is soon left behind. The forest itself seems to communicate, each burst of wind a word we humans can never understand. But with life, there is also death. The smell of rot and ruin always saddens me. The merciless killing of an innocent creature makes the forest go crazy with rage. A bloodcurdling scream erupts from the sky, turning everything red. Not black, but red. Red is the color of the blood that seeps through unhealed wounds. Red is the color of a face that will never show happiness again. Red….is the color of my death. I will no longer be able to see the once thriving forest again. The only light I will see is fluorescent and fake. The only sound I will hear will be the beeping on my heart monitor. I will hear how it beats desperately, how my heart will thump desperately against my ribs. There will be one long beep, and I….will be no more.
I open my eyes to see Jonathan, my best friend. The one I care the most for. The one I love. I smile weakly, loathing myself for being weak. He smiles only for a second, but his eyes are watering. I only then notice the wildflower in his hand, the stem clenched tightly in his fist.
“Is that for me?”
“Oh, uh, yeah. I know how much you love the forest, so I picked it for you.”
“That’s sweet, Jon.”
“Cathy, please stop.”
“Smiling. You don’t have to be happy for my sake. It’s too painful to see you smiling.”
“Would you rather see me writhing and screaming out in agony, breaking from the massive weight in my heart?”
“No….no, of course not, but-”
“Then I will continue to smile, not only for your sake, but also for mine. I am the one dying, after all.”
“Don’t say that.”
“What should I say then, Jonathan? That I’m not dying? I don’t want to lie to myself, and you shouldn’t either.”
“I’m not lying, I just don’t want to talk about it. Or think about it, okay?”
It’s silent. Jonathan won’t look at me, and it’s killing me. Ha ha, killing me. Funny. I can’t leave us like this. Fighting. What I’m about to tell him probably won’t help much, but it needs to be said. “Jon. Don’t avoid me.”
“I’m not avoiding you.”
“You won’t look at me.”
“Why can’t you?”
“I just….I-I can’t.”
He’s crying. Jonathan is crying. I’ve never seen him cry before. Not even when his dog, Sparky, died two months ago. I feel my own eyes beginning to twitch, water threatening to spill over. But I have to stay strong.
“Jon. Please come here.”
“You don’t have to look at me. Just come sit down, please.” Jonathan looks at me for a moment. His eyes are a myriad of emotions. Finally, he walks over to the blue plastic chair next to my bed, and sits down. I look at him. He looks at the ground. “Jon. I have a confession to make.”
“I probably should have told you sooner, but I didn’t want to ruin anything.”
“Cathy, what are you talking about?”
“Just please don’t let this come between you and Lily, okay?”
“Cathy. Please just….tell me.”
“Jonathan, I….I’m in love with you. I’ve always been in love with you. You’re so good at reading people, and knowing just when they need your help. You always know how to make people smile...to make me smile. You’re an amazing person, Jon, and big things are waiting for you out in this world. I know you only see me as a friend, I know that. I just thought I’d tell you before it’s too late. I know that sounds horrible, but perhaps, it’s better this way.”
Jonathan is staring at me in disbelief. My hearts sinks lower into my chest, and my breathing is starting to hitch in my throat. I don’t have much time left. “Jon, say something.”
“Cathy, I…..I don’t know what to say. I mean, this is coming out of nowhere. I don’t understand why you didn’t tell me this sooner.”
“I wanted to, Jon, I really did. But you love Lily and I didn’t want to-AH!”
“Cathy? Cathy, what’s wrong?!”
“Do you need me to get a nurse?”
“Okay, okay, don’t fall asleep. Cathy, stay awake, okay? I will be right back!”
Jonathan runs out of the room, a blast of air hitting my lungs, making me cough. Darkness floods the edges of my eyelids, but I battle against the darkness to stay awake. I can’t betray Jon, I can’t. I still have so much more to say to him. But my rebellious heart won’t obey my wishes. The room is tinting into a faint pink color, and a quiet voice screams my name. I think it’s Jonathan. I’m not sure, but it’s too late. From the deepest depths of my brain, I manage to utter one last sentence. “I’m sorry, Jon.”
And just like that, I am swallowed by a dark substance, falling forever into nothingness.
She was gone. I was too late to save her. When I entered that room, I saw a pale figure, eyes swollen and red-rimmed. A figure that was not Cathy. The Cathy I knew was full of laughter. She was the girl who loved nature and could only see the positive side to everything. She was the kind of girl who never gave up on you, and it was really annoying. All the same, she was my best friend. And she had been in love with me. She had been in love with me.
“Jon? Are you okay?”
I look up to see Lily, who is sitting across from me. We’re in the library, studying for an Econ test. Economics is my worst subject, by far. Cathy had been a pro at it…..Cathy. Lily sighs, putting her pencil down on the table.
“Jonathan, I’m breaking up with you.”
My eyes feel numb, but I stare at Lily with a shocked expression. Lily just stares at me, her expression one of pity. I open my mouth, trying to form some sort of sentence. My mouth rebels, telling me to remain silent. I listen to my mouth, and close it.
“Aren’t you going to say anything?” I open my mouth again, but only a weak cough manages to escape. Lily blinks, starting to look slightly annoyed.
I swallow, biting down on my bottom lip. “I’m sorry, Lily. It’s just…..well, I-”
“Cathy. I know.”
“Wait, how did you know?”
“I went to her funeral, Jon. I saw how devastated you were. You still are devastated, aren’t you? Don’t even think about lying.”
“Well, yeah, I am. She was my best friend. And….she was…”
“You loved her. I know. Have you read her letter yet?”
“Yeah, I’ve read it. I’ve read it like a thousand times.”
“Yeah, that was a stupid question. Have you done it?”
“I-I can’t, Lily. It still hurts whenever I see it.”
“Jon, you have to respect her wishes. You loved her, right?”
“Yes...yes, I did.”
“Jon, Cathy was special. She loved the forest more than anything, it was her only safe haven. She wants it to be your safe haven too. Please, Jon, do it for her. She wouldn’t want you to grieve for this long. She would want you to move on. Please, Jon.”
I look at Lily, who gives me a sad smile. I look down at my Econ textbook, covered with useless words and more money signs than necessary. I look back up at Lily, who reaches across the table, and takes my hand.
“Go, Jon. Economics can wait.”
“Are you still breaking up with me?”
“You need time. I understand. Once you’re ready, I’ll be waiting. We can still be friends for now, if you want.”
“Of course, Lily. Thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Now go.”
I grab all my schoolwork, sprinting for the door. I glance back at Lily one last time, and she gives me a small wave. I wave back, sprinting out the door as fast as I can. Dusk is approaching, and time seems to vanish. I sprint towards home, hoping to grab one thing before I go. Cathy’s letter.
I stand in front of the forest, tall trees casting shadows down on me. I clutch Cathy’s letter in front of me, my breath catching in my throat. My hands shake, the paper crinkling with each crease I inflict. The sun is slowly sinking, the forest looking more orange than green. I inhale deeply, closing my eyes. Cathy always told me to imagine myself standing in the center of the forest. The smell of pine and dirt fill my nostrils, overcoming my fear. I open my eyes and take one step. A branch snaps, and I am in an unknown world. I take another step, and then another. I continue to walk on, snapping branches and crunching on leaves. All kinds of noises overwhelm my hearing, all combining into one harmony. Cathy always said it was some unheard song that is incomprehensible to the human ear. I think she was right. I can’t comprehend anything that’s going on in these woods. Cathy always had a philosophical side to her, a kind of wisdom of the world. I could never understand it, but now, I wish I could. I am not philosophical in any way, but Cathy always said I was in my own way. I had laughed. Now I wish I hadn’t.
“Cathy? Are you here?” No answer. Of course there was no answer. What’s wrong with me? I swallow, my throat dry. My feet suddenly feel like lead, and I don’t know how much farther I can go. Then I remember: this is for Cathy. This is for Cathy. This is...for Cathy. “Cathy, I’m sorry.”
The wind blows, a cold feeling shaking my bones. I gasp, shaking. It’s almost as if...Cathy heard me. I look around, the leaves and trunks of the trees all melding into one form. My eyes are watering, but not from the wind. I clutch the letter closer to my chest, the words on the page seeming louder than before. I look up at the darkening sky, stars starting to pop out of nowhere. I slowly fall down onto the leaves, the wind beginning to pick up. I feel my eyelids begin to droop, but I will myself to remain awake. I fail, of course, and the world is black.
“Jon. Jon, wake up. Jon.”
A very familiar voice made my eyes snap open. Blinding white light surrounds my eyeballs, and I close them. A soft laughter fills the air and I open my eyes again, blinking furiously. A blurry figure appears above me, and I force my eyes to focus. What I see next floors me to the core.
“Yes, Jonathan, it’s me.”
“You’re dreaming. You fell asleep in the forest. You read my letter.”
“Of course I did, Cathy. I...you’re my best friend.”
“And you are mine.” I stand up, looking into her eyes. She smiles, her ocean blue eyes shining brighter than ever. Her soft brown hair seems to float around her head, framing it like a photo. I feel tears flood my eyes, and I choke on a sob. Cathy frowns slightly, her own eyes filling.
“I didn’t stay awake. I left you behind. It wasn’t my intention to hurt you-”
“No, no, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not respecting your wishes sooner. I just….I really missed you, Cath, so much. I’m never going to stop missing you, and I know you want me to move on, but I don’t think I can. I love you, Cathy.”
“Oh, Jonathan. I don’t expect you to move on right away. I know you miss me, and I miss you too. I’ll never forget you, Jon, and you’ll always be my best friend. No one has ever done so much to make me smile, and I don’t think anyone ever could.”
“But you have to move on with your life, Jonathan. Stop wallowing and start doing, buddy!” I laugh, shaking my head. Cathy always knew how to make me laugh. She smiles now, stepping closer to me. Cathy takes her hands in mine and looks me dead in the eye.
“Move on, Jon. If you can’t, then that’s okay. I will always be here for you though. Don’t forget, the forest is now your safe haven, whether you like it or not. Promise not to forget me, but also promise to let me go. I love you, Jon, I always will.”
“Cathy. I...I promise that I will never forget you. It may be hard for me to move on, but for you, I will try. I love you too, Cathy. I’ll never stop loving you.”
“I know, you goof. Now, go on. It’s time to wake up. Tell Lily I said hi.”
“I will. I love-”
I am awake. I sit up, looking around. It’s pitch black, with only the moon and stars to light the night sky. I blink, still trying to comprehend the dream I had. Was it really Cathy? Or was it some mind trick, preying on my vulnerable heart that longs for my best friend. My ears suddenly perk up, and I listen. I thought I heard a whisper. A soft, sweet whisper that could only belong to one person. I smile to myself, and tears once again begin to drain from my eyes. “I’ll come visit you often, Cathy. Don’t you worry.”
I stand up, stretching out my stiff limbs. That’s when I notice that the letter is no longer in my hand. Frantically, I drop back down on my knees, searching for the letter. It must have blown away in the wind. I continue to search for a few minutes, ignoring the relentless buzzing of the mosquitoes. Then I stop, and I look up. The letter is resting against a tree, a luminous rectangle against a world of black. I stumble to my feet, running over to it. It lays at the base of the tree, flapping gracefully with the wind. I look at it, my hands itching to snatch it into my safe hands. I realize, then, that I don’t need the letter. This is Cathy’s letter. It was meant to be in this forest. Cathy wanted to be a part of the forest, and now she is. The letter is Cathy’s legacy, and it will spread throughout the forest. The forest will truly live now, knowing that Cathy’s spirit will forever remain within its walls. I smile, a genuine smile. “Welcome home, Cathy.”
I turn and walk away from the tree. The tree that I will continue to visit for the rest of my life. The tree that holds a girl’s legacy who few will remember. For Cathy is safe now. She is safe, and the forest knows it. The forest is her resting place, and it shall grow to be even more powerful. The forest is silent, and Cathy is safe.
The forest listens. It may seem silly, but it actually listens. I am dying, and the forest is dying along with me. Jonathan, listen to me. You are my best friend, and I am so grateful to have known someone like you. You will always be in my heart, and I will never leave yours. After I am gone, I want you to go visit the forest as often as you can. It is now your safe haven, as once was mine. I will be there, for my spirit has always resided in the greenery of the leaves and the noises of the animals. You will find me, for I will certainly find you. I love you, Jonathan. Never forget that. It is my last confession to you, if I ever have the guts to make it before I die. Farewell, my friend, and remember: the forest can truly live once someone finds the time to cherish it.
Sincerely, your best friend,
If you look closely at the forest, you will see a thriving environment filled with light and joy. Only, it is even brighter than before, and certainly more joyful. The animals still crunch and snap branches, the birds still whiz by trees. The only difference is the faint whispering of a girl, speaking to the forest with a loving voice. The girl is the soul of the forest, and she will remain forever. A boy kneels by the base of a tree, staring at a yellow piece of paper. It is a letter, worn by time and wear. The letter shares the words of wisdom we can never truly appreciate. Only a few generous people will take them seriously. But as long as the forest continues to grow, the words will expand into a voice. A voice long unheard by all who worshipped it. The voice will continue to spread throughout the forest like the wind. It has no direction, it has no destination. It just continues to spread, never ceasing volume. And so it should. All the cynical people will hear the words of someone who didn’t care about wealth or success or greed. It is the only thing worth listening to, and it is worth every second that passes. It is the sound of the forest that truly lived.
About the Author: Carson Yenchar is a senior at Ionia High School. She loves to write, read, put on theatre productions, and hang out with her quirky friends. She wants to be a writer when she grows up, and is not very good with talking. Thank goodness writing comes in handy because without creativity and wonder, the world would be a less interesting place. She also has published the poem "Hands, Not Useless" with MIteen Writers.