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Grade
8

For millennia, he had untangled the problems of the world. Carefully, he had deconstructed useless arguments that unfolded between the countless forms of the human species that inhabited his cherished planet. Watching, evermore, from his tiny cubicle in space. Slowly, he focused onto the largest knot. The ends of the lengthy string resembled the ends of the entity's hair: tangled, broken and consisting of a mass of split-ends. His heart was much bigger than he cared to admit to himself or to let on and yet some believed it to be nonexistent. In his grieving, he continued to unravel the string until the planet of blue below him seemed to daze off. Soon to retire himself, he placed his hand on the frosted glass separating him from his heart's devotion. Some days his longing was immense and he found no solace in the silent tune that erupted from beneath him. No one knew he existed; no one cared. How could someone so unloved, carry so much of the unfamiliar substance in his lone heart? Does not knowing you're loved, mean you are not?

Morning exercise consisted of simple dilemmas such as friendship. He enjoyed these. Friendship was something he had always hoped for and although he had no experience with exact situations, he found that he always knew precisely how to resolve the issues.

His idiosyncrasies rarely occurred, but when such did, he could only stare at the spherical planet in disgust. One of these would result in frequent talk to himself.  However, in this specific event, no one could blame him as in space, there is no one else to converse with besides oneself. Also, he would ponder the planet’s daily events and even question himself about the stars’ brilliance that coming night and respond with the simplistic answer of, "They will most likely be bright today."

Midday was particularly uneventful, as only financial and emotional disturbances reached the string today. Exhaustion consumed him and he found himself re-tangling the frayed string. His actions would certainly have consequences and he paused for a moment to gather his thoughts. The cold, artificial breeze he had created blew against his alabaster skin. He could not remember when he had last been exposed to the sun and usually this truth did not bother him, yet today it did. Unlike our recurring minuscule aversions, he had never experienced this emotion before. It stimulated his soul and struck fear into his heart. It was then that he felt truly isolated from the nebulae,  comets and any organism in existence.

He often imagined an alternate reality, one without the string. He would be floating endlessly in space; untethered. In some ways, the string was his lifeline, but also his nemesis. The length of golden yarn not only structured his days, but it condemned him to a life of slavery. He was constantly hovering around it, yet always intertwined within it.

 

He was afraid to cease the motion of his fingers so he continued playing whatever flared from his jittering fingertips. The piano exploded with melodies and harmonizing chords. The room attentively listened and bounced his compositions off its walls and into the waiting ears of the crowd. He became the piano and the piano became him. No one could have questioned their right to companionship. Yet the piano was old, filled with despair and grief, and even though the man was of the same nature, he still found comfort in the joy displayed on the listeners’ faces. Laughter swelled inside him and he let a howl of excitement escape his parched lips. He had felt this happiness before and was determined not to let it slip from his brain into the miscellaneous of thoughts strewn throughout his hectic mind.

The end was so close and the agile movement of his fingers slowed steadily bringing tears to sunken eyes. The last note was almost inaudible, yet the world knew undoubtedly, it had indeed existed.

He surrendered the antique piano and bid adieu to the mass of drunkards that had willingly listened to his triumphant melody. The cold night air was brisk and haunting. His tattered cloak was unsubstantial against the cruel wind and he pulled the sleeves as far as he could over his calloused hands. The traffic lights intermittently beamed yellow and red, while he boarded the city bus at the street corner. Completely oblivious to the lack of passengers, he paid the route fare with his last fistful of coins.

"Where to?" the driver asked.

"Nowhere," the man responded.

Where could he go? No home, no friends, no family and no music to play. He was alone and unloved. In his current predicament, it was foolish and naive to believe otherwise.

His father had been one of the few politicians that had called this repulsive city home. He scarcely thought of that one human, mostly because the figure that was positioned between his temples was only vaguely remembered as a man in an expensive business suit with a checkered tie and khaki brown fedora. Maybe that was why he looked for pianos. They served as a beacon; a beacon of light that shone from all directions from which one could either disappear in the brilliant luminescence or follow to a promiseland. In truth, it did not matter where he went as he believed there would always be a piano. If not a piano, someone that would care. Someone that needed a little light. Just a small glimpse of what the world could be or what the world would be. He'd bring them that. He often contemplated his chosen career. Did those that care about the music, love the people that brought them that special and rare light? Did they have room in their hearts for a scraggly and forgotten individual? Could they cherish the piano man?

Until they were ready and he could know for sure, he would continue to ask himself. For now, he would just ride this bus. Then, he could possibly board a train. A train that would take him away from whatever was left of his old home, now beyond recognition. A train to nowhere, which thankfully was anywhere but where he did not want to be: here.

The station was deserted as if it was only inhabited by the ghosts of previous passengers and the deteriorated hearts of outcast beings. The rusty rails of the ancient track glistened in the moonlight and he began to count the ties. His thoughts were muddled and he glanced at the eerie shadow of a crippled blackbird. The wooden bench was overused and as he readjusted, it made bothersome and obnoxious sounds. In his coat pocket was a photograph. Its edges were worn, but the image remained remarkably clear. In it, he was wearing a toothy grin and he wondered if it was the only point in his life in which he had felt undeniably content.

The distant train sang a long lonesome whistle and he groggily awoke from his brief slumber. The innumerable stars shone above his aching body and he rose gradually from the bench. A pair had joined him at the forsaken station. An exhausted mother and her young daughter peered over the edge of the platform eagerly awaiting the oncoming train. The girl's thin, feeble hand was woven between her mother's fingers and her eyes matched his curious gaze. He saw a light in her eyes; wonderful light. However, this light was soon overshadowed by the woman's darkness as she pulled her daughter closer and boarded the soon-departing train. His legs seemed to rise on their own and his body became a moth to the train's exotic and intriguing flame. The engineer was pale and dreary, motioning the passengers aboard in an obvious uninterested demeanor.

The train cars were passé with rows of red upholstery chairs and wooden overhead compartments. The woman and her daughter occupied the first booth while he proceeded to take the adjacent one. Incapable of tuning out his surroundings, he unknowingly listened in to their accented whispering. He captured words so despicable, he refused to empathize with the cursing mother. However, his heart was still compassionate toward the young girl, which he found himself desperately sympathizing for.

Their story, all too familiar, was written plainly on their solemn faces and plastered over the train’s confining walls. The young girl would become sick soon, considering she lacked sufficient food for a significant amount of time. He could see her ribs protruding from beneath her faded shirt. Despite this, he was amazed to find himself fantasizing the girl's potential if she had been given another life; a better life. Despite the fantasy’s irrelevance to the situation, the girl’s rare illumination radiated from her fair skin and eccentric eyes. Surely it was impossible to acquire magnificent wonder and curiosity in such a devastating world.

 

Her garden is of a sizable variety including, but certainly not limited to, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips, roses, carnations, chrysanthemums and geraniums. She is an avid gardener and spends several hours each day in her magnificent enclosure. Her grandchildren often ask her if she had planted any magical beans lately and she only smiles. In fact, there were numerous legumes in her garden and it was rumored around the neighborhood that most probably did possess magical qualities.

She remembered the library that stood over yonder. It was a glorious building with four floors and beautiful stained glass windows. The lobby's ceiling was the most marvelous of mosaics and the floor's tiles were imported marble. It was always bustling with newcomers,  in great contrast to the deafening silence on the other floors. Rows of bookshelves greeted them at the entrance and the spines glistened as if they begged for the reminiscent touch of a eager human hand.

Yes, she remembered the library. When she unlocked those gigantic glass doors, she felt as if she were unlocking the knowledge behind them, inviting all that would follow into a magical land of the unknown. That was years ago, now the library is only but a memory and present in the minds of very few individuals.

Time changed them. She never understood why, but adults and her colleagues began to shun the sublime building. Even the children ceased to gather their weekly books and instead retreated into technological caverns. The funding stopped, new books were never ordered and older books were rarely repaired. It was like the library had lost its purpose, its extraordinary gleam that had long ago attracted so many with wide, open doors. With the slow undermining of the library vanished the prospect of an educated community and the hope of a generation capable of independent innovation and imagination.

Since then, she had created another, more personal and controllable, place of pure life and joy. She regularly found the neighborhood children peering through the holes in her white picket fence to catch even the slightest glimpse of the wonder that was held within. To her, it was quite reassuring that the children had inherited the trait to recognize such beauty and she was hopeful that in the near future, they would be the ones that would rid the world of its cruelty and restore the wisdom that had once been abundant.

The following day brought funereal weather and the elderly woman stayed inside. Her old photo albums brought her comfort as the storm worsened. Upstairs, in the guest bedroom was the last book to have survived the library. The paperback was heavily used and the worn pages had been re-sewn numerous times. She gently removed it from the towering shelf and set it on the table in front of her. It was coated in a thin layer of dust and the title was practically illegible. She turned to the last page and read aloud to herself.

the night featured moonlit meadows,

heaviest shades of blue and everlasting silence. the stars in the heavens, positioned and watching

intently

enclosed within, held the lies untold by both,

sharing the vows, fastened between them as if a safety belt.

the zephyr carried them aboard a voyage that would reach their point of origin

sometime soon

the animals lurk nearby, carefully treading upon the weightless earth

the little one stirs and some hear the creature’s

shrilling noise

that merciless some might have ended that life, yet

instead

they welcomed it and expressed warm regards

The woman felt the rough, sandpaper texture of the pages. Sighing, she closed the book and left it, cover up, on the table upstairs. The storm had passed and she left to tend to her beloved garden. Rose petals were scattered across the unturned soil and only just visible behind a nearby flower was an animal she too let live.

 

The sunset spun colors of pink and orange across the sky, transforming the horizon into a breathtaking fantasy image. However, the sun abandoned us after that day and left gray tears in its wake. The local pond was a murky black and few waterfowl occupied the damp shores. A train blew its whistle in the distance and she knew it carried many a forgotten soul. Runners passed her by, covered in thick, warm sweaters. She had once known the art of knitting, although it was rare to find objects such as needles or string. The only string in the city's vicinity was the strands holding the neglected community together. Barely. Her feathered quill scratched against the parchment in her hands.

enclosed within, held the lies untold by both,

sharing the vows, fastened between them as if a safety belt.

the zephyr carried them aboard a voyage that would reach their point of origin

sometime soon

The wind was her adversary today and a strong gust knocked the jar of ink from her hands. The glass shattered and the black liquid spread to the already contaminated water. It left a stain on her graceful hands and a scar on the Earth. Another gust stole the quill from her hand, releasing it into open skies. The girl slowly reached into her coat pocket for a silver pen. Whatever needed to be written, she would write. She has a commitment to tell the story from beginning to end. It was with that in mind that she completed her novel and published it for the world to comprehend at their own will. She was the witness, the prosecutor, the judge and her own counsel. She was the reader that wrote the novel and became the author.

State
MI
Zip Code
48103