I Met Her By The River

Reads: 151  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 2

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
When the parents of Madilyn, an introverted girl in her early teenage years, begin discussing the crash of their relationship right after moving to LA, she looks for an escape from a new friend. Despite not receiving her parents’ understanding and approval, she picks up life-lessons from her mysterious companion that she might have needed most during this stressful time.

Submitted: October 27, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 27, 2019

A A A

A A A


«Ah, what a dream!» the man exclaimed, standing in the middle of an empty room. «Don’t you love this place? I thought you liked LA,” he continued, seeing that his lady’s eyes didn’t quite reek of approval. “Give us time to settle here. Then I’ll hit the big business, you know.”

“Louis, you know nothing could change my mind. We’re getting divorced.” she replied after a pause.

 

...From the little room, located only fifteen feet away, I heard everything that went on - and for the sake of wisdom, pretended I didn’t. I tried as hard as I could to drown out their voices. But the lock on the door, multiplied by full-volume songs from the Backstreet Boys, Halsey or IAMX just wouldn’t do justice. So I put on a grey coat and slipped outside through the backdoor. I decided to explore this area for a while and get lost in a state of dreaming. This was supposed to be our house, our grass, our view of a little village, located just an hour drive away from Los Angeles, California, for the next couple of years.

 

There were a few other houses across from the wooden gate that stretched out at least three kilometers - or so it seemed, glaring into the distance. I was about to start heading back, but noticed a girl, about the same age as mine; and that moment I remember until this day: her dark eyes pierced through the foggy skies of my troubled mind.

“No trespassing. Unless you’re a misfit.” she said.

“I’ve always felt like a misfit throughout middle school,” I said. “At home, everything is the same. Sometimes it’s like my parents care more about their problems than about me.”

 

We started talking, and with ease, I used the replica I never used with some of the people who considered me their best friend. I asked her if she was from here or had also just moved to LA, but she refused to tell me where she was from, or where she lived. I also told her I don’t feel happy about moving to Los Angeles, although I probably should.

”I’ve always felt alienated too,” she said. “But you seem like you could be my friend. Let’s dance now. Together.” she touched my face, pulling me closer. Something about her was distinctive from any other person I’ve met.

“Tell me at least your name,” I whispered.

“It is Algera.” she replied. “This name was given to me as a variation of Allegro, which means fast. Catch me, if you may dare.” -on those words, she sprinted away, like a forest fawn, leaving me with no other choice but to come chasing my newly met companion.

 

Yes, the way she ran reminded me of a fawn or horse; her braids quickly got untangled by the wind, and her feet felt almost lightweight. I thought I’d run out of breath, but to my rescue, she intentionally fell onto the grass. I laid down next to her, watching mist evaporate on her naturally long eyelashes. She smiled and gave me a little kiss on the cheek. I touched my cheek afterwards, as if proving to myself that she was real; her laughter, her eyes, those strangely substantial for her age.

 

When I came home, my parents seemed to have abandoned their divorce conversation - or hopefully, they’d realized I wanted nothing to do with it - so they were silent. Both of them were halfway finished with lunch, and an untouched plate with chicken over rice and beans stood aside an empty chair. Aside from it, no signs of care was shown about my presence - or latter absence, knowing I wouldn’t dare wander far. I didn’t give it much thought, because overall, my day felt like a dream; I finally was able to forget the chaos and run away.

 

The next day, during lunch time, my email address was the first to bring pleasant news - I got accepted into one of the best design high schools of Los Angeles! The dreams of becoming a stage designer seemed closer than ever. I told my father straight away, but he’d made a sarcastic comment about how I would get kicked out in the first month or two, had I attempted taking a biology class. He did congratulate me at least. My mother didn’t care much. She was trimming her nails in front of the little boudoir mirror when I went into her room and hugged her, revealing the big news. 

I burst out in excitement to Algera, having met up with her the same time as yesterday. But to my surprise, she also didn’t share my enthusiasm.

“You will grow up and forget about me,” she said, “just like the rest of them do.”

“What do you mean?” I asked, puzzled.

“They all care about being somebody...instead of just simply being. We all start off appreciating the true, undying values and then...it’s like their world turns into a competition. Empty faces without emotions, empty cities without stardust. I want to hope you aren’t like them, but I think you will eventually leave me. They all do.”

“Algera, I am not doing this for the sake of fame - or whatever,” I said rather defensively. “It’s important, indeed, but stage design is my passion - and has always been.”

“That’s what I like about you,” she revealed an insecure smile, as if she was halfway convinced. “And I would like to show you something.”

 

She grabbed my hand, to which I demonstrated no resistance, and led me to the river. She said we had to wait a little; it was too bright out to notice the “things worth living for.” I wanted to ask her badly why is it that those things could only be found in the dark, but resisted my curiosity.

“Do you see it?” she asked me, after an hour of silence at least. Silence with her felt so strangely comfortable; it was as if our souls had intertwined, and were having a dialogue of their own, without our awareness.

 

Sunset has now faded into dusk. Our two shadows sat across the shallow water. I heard the crickets and frogs sing; I saw fireflies, like tiny fairies dancing in the flames of the river; no longer hollow. The water lilies have seemed to learn ballroom dance, never to be revealed during daytime. I watched with eyes open wide, holding my breath, afraid to miss even a slight freeze frame of this action, and I have never felt that way in my whole life - neither at my ice skating championship at seven years old, nor at my elementary school graduation. 

“I think that if you lose the ability to see it all the same way, then you aren’t truly living anymore. Remember that.” she said to me. 

 

We walked back to our meeting place silently again, yet her fingers softly caressed the palm of my hand. There, we played tag, we chased each other and began falling into the deepest sleep in each other’s embrace. The grass became our static movement of the river became our lullaby. Before drifting into the world of dreams, I moved closer to her. The scent of her skin reminded me of the blinking air near a fireplace, a burnt-out rose after a destructive wildfire. Like every possible natural miracle and disaster at once, she was so beautiful and so fragile, so detached from the world. I buried my face in the abyss of her hair, ran my fingers through the lines of her eyebrows and felt her fragile, tender ribs through her blue linen dress. Just as I almost entered the kingdom of dreams, I felt her turn around to leave a tender lip print on my cheek. That was her second, and her last kiss.

 

...”Madilyn!” I heard a sudden scream. My mother’s voice could be heard from miles away. I quickly jumped to my feet. It was the deep hour of nighttime; my new friend had probably went home.

“Algera?” I called out into the distance. No answer. I picked up my coat and ran in the direction of our house.

“Madilyn, who were you just calling?” my mother asked grumpily, as I entered the house. “I have news. We aren’t staying in California. We’re moving back to New Jersey tomorrow evening. Also, your father and I are...” on those words my dad stepped out of his room and placed his finger near his mouth, signaling not to say a word. “Not now, Jenna,” he whispered.

“We need to come back again,” I said. “I need to see my new friend. I met her by the river.” But my mother refused to hear a word and sent me into my room.

 

The next morning I woke up, my parents’ voices were louder and more enraged than ever. Gosh, do they ever not argue?

“Louis,” she turned to my father, her voice desiccating to a whisper, “you will need to talk to Madilyn. She’s feeling kind of lost.”

“Of course, she is feeling lost! The girl just hit her teen years - and you think about getting divorced! You don’t care of the mark it will leave on her?” My mother, clearly upset, walked into my room and slammed the door shut behind her.

“Madilyn,” she sat on the bed. “I have walked to the other side of the gate and talked to the family that lives there. There isn’t, or wasn’t ever a girl named Algera. You are probably hallucinating. Let’s hope it’s just stress. I know, there’s a lot to be stressed about.”

“But I did not hallucinate her, nor did I make her up,” I defended myself, as tears rolled down my cheeks. “I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t!!!” I don’t remember anything after that moment - except that I cried all the way to the airport, on the plain, and in my room back in New Jersey...

 

I did not know yet at that time that Algera’s words would forever stick with me. Did I lose the vision I had when I was twelve? Maybe. I‘ve probably grown. But there still is a light in my heart that didn’t go out, thankfully to her. The unpleasant voices of the world - I turn them off when I look at the sunset: that reminds me of my first escape from reality with the girl I met by the river.


© Copyright 2020 Alexandra Lynsen. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:

Comments

avatar

Author
Reply

avatar

Author
Reply

More Young Adult Short Stories