Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: It’s Christmas Day (in the present or living memory) (11/27/08)
TITLE: A Twilight Boat Ride
By Stephanie Bullard
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But now, it’s Christmas day. And I am eleven years old. And everything is wrong. My whole family is not with us in this magical place where we spend every Christmas: only me and my brother are here. My mom, my dad, my baby sister, and my thoughts are all back in a hospital room in Ohio where Kristin, my big sister, my hero, biggest Billy Goat and frog-catcher extreme, is having surgery to remove an ovarian cyst. I don’t want to be in Pennsylvania. I don’t want to be at Grandma’s. I don’t want to have fun and whenever I start having it, I feel guilty. But no one asked me. I am eleven and my parents want my Christmas to be as normal and happy as possible; they don’t want me to worry or hang out in a hospital. So they send me and my brother with Grandma. My brother is five, clueless and happy and that’s good. And my Grandma tries to make things as fun as possible. But it’s not the same. My sister isn’t with me. She’s in a hospital. I can’t have fun.
The weather is mild and we go out for a boat ride, just my Grandma and me. The colors of the evening sky and the trees are reflected in the pond. Everything seems to be that pinky-orange color that twilight often paints things. Even now, I am a writer; feelings and emotions that are bottled up need to come out; at this age, they often come out in the form of a poem. The poem I write that night has nothing to do with my sadness; nothing to do with Christmas, or my sister, hospitals or being eleven. It is simply about my boat ride with my Grandma. And even in that sad Christmas, a wonderful thing happens; for I do not know if any other poem I have ever written has ever made anyone so happy as that poem makes my Grandma. It’s Christmas day. And I am eleven years old. And it is bitter-sweet.
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