Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “Don’t Try to Walk before You Can Crawl” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/17/08)
TITLE: My Memento Mori
By Sharlyn Guthrie
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Second hour ends and we stand. I smile weakly as he turns and his eyes graze mine. He nods. Something catches in my throat, sending electricity through my torso. I am the spider; he is the fly. I have caught his eye, if only for a moment. In time I will learn what his interests are, how to turn his head. I will make him feel as special as I want to feel. He will be mine. It is what I am setting my heart on.
Itâ€™s hard to concentrate. His muscular shoulders, easy gait, and ever-present confidence invade my consciousness. He excites me, makes me shiver. Heâ€™s a senior; Iâ€™m a mere freshman. I am awkward with boys and have never dated â€“yet. Can such a child as I keep his interest? I watch the girls that make him smile; study their expressions, mannerisms, appearance. In time I will learn to be like them. It is what consumes me.
Weeks have passed. I have spoken only with the acquired language of sophistication. He remains indifferent, yet regards me with lingering, approving looks. Adjusting my form-fitting skirt and squaring my shoulders, I brush past him, hoping he will notice. My dreams consist of little more than feeling his breath warm on my neck, his heart pulsing against mine. It will be ecstasy.
I am delirious when the silence is broken after second hour. â€śWant a ride home?â€ť he asks. I nod coyly, stifling a scream. The day canâ€™t end fast enough. I imagine how it will be: revealing my dreams and desires, unraveling the mystery that is him, holding his hand in mine, discovering love. I will cherish each word, each moment, each touch. It is the fulfillment of all my intentions.
He drives past my street. â€śWe are going to my dadâ€™s,â€ť he says, and suddenly we are there, alone. He pulls me to the couch. His kiss is greedy, rough. I try to pull away, but his grip is unyielding. His breath and his words reek. He is the spider; I am the fly, lured by desire, caught in my own web. Each long, wretched moment is endured rather than cherished. At last I end in a heap, grasping helplessly for what has been snatched from me. It is not at all how I imagined it would be.
I gaze in the mirror before second hour. The girl whose hollow eyes stare back needs more eye-liner and lipstick if her secret is to be kept, her shame concealed. With resignation, I slide into my seat. The figure slouching in front of me no longer embodies my dreams. Still, he dominates my thoughts. He does not speak, or even acknowledge the damage left in his wake. It is no longer his Armani that I smell, but rather his stench. Iâ€™ve tried a hundred times to scrub it from my body, expel it from my memory; yet it lingers, threatening to suffocate me. It is my memento mori, my constant reminder that part of me has already died.
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