The Things They Carried

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
It's an assignment I had to do for my fiction class. It was supposed to be based off of the beginning of Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. It's a bit of characterization loosely based off of the personalities of some people on the St. Benedict's Prep track team that includes me by the way.

Submitted: June 04, 2013

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Submitted: June 04, 2013

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The Things They Carried

Of course, being students, they all carried almost the same things. These included books and binders, both old and new, with papers and printouts that were both new and old. Most of them carried pens and pencils, though some didn’t. They carried book bags with compression pants, trainers, extra shirts for when they run, track spikes, and varsity warm-ups. They carried reading books. They carried these books for class. A few carried reading books for themselves rather than school. These few carried them to get a good story, or just to improve vocabulary or both. They carried some thoughts and some worries about college. Were they going to run in college or find a different sport? Would they just go for academics? They carried these questions in their heads. “Am I good enough?” The best few knew that they would run track in college. They carried thoughts about SAT scores such as, “How high will I score the next time I take them?”

Most of them did well when it came to girls. These would not have hesitated to walk up to a girl and ask them out. A few didn’t carry too many thoughts about girls. Fewer didn’t know if they would ever even have a girlfriend or would ever have sex. These last carried these preoccupations often, especially when the ones that “got girls” talked about what they did with the girls. They were all friends, more or less. They each carried responsibilities and obligations to the track team.

T.A. was a strong sixteen year old boy who carried thought of his friend Tiara. He carried conflicting thoughts of her – whether he wanted her to be his girlfriend or to just stay as friends – that made him feel torn. T.A. carried feelings for her since the eighth grade that he could not explain until his junior year of high school. For all that time he carried Tiara’s graduation picture from the eighth grade. It wasn’t the best picture of her but it was the only one he had. He carried such apprehension about her since figuring out he loved her that for a while he didn’t know if he could even ask her to send him a more recent one. He carried a recreational book to school (at least two books every month). The reading books he chose were almost always fictional, ranging from realistic fiction to historical fiction to science fiction. He carried a large amount of extra clothing to and from school. It could have been shoes, sneakers, sweaters, t-shirts, hoodies, hats, socks, and sometimes he’d even have an extra jacket. He’d begin a week with a book bag filled with only books. By Friday his bag would be completely full to the point of almost ripping. At times it actually did. He’d come back to school on Monday carrying an almost empty bag, containing just his reading book and the things he needed for his four classes. With all of the clothes he carried due to the weather or practice his friend once jokingly said, “You carry all of this stuff like you’re going to run away. I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.”

M.S. was one of T’s best friends. He was basically the captain and coach of the sprinters team since the school coach was really more of a distance coach. He carried most of the knowledge and understanding of what it meant and took to be fast in track. He was slightly smaller than T.A. but a little older. He was also one of the guys that “got girls.” He carried the title of national champion for running the Sprint Medley Relay or SMR for short. He carried a pen that he thought was special. He called it his lucky pen because he would always pass tests and quizzes when he used it. It wasn’t like he failed everything else so after a while it just became a bit of a running joke. T.A. wondered what M.S. would do if it ran out of ink. M.S. would always carry the pen for sentimental value, if anything. It was gold and it was actually really a special pen given to him by his grandfather who had died only weeks before.

Like M.S., J.O carried the title of National Champion. He ran a different race, the Distance Medley Relay. J.O. was on the same relay team as M.S. as well. He ran the 400m leg for both relays. Although he was big, he carried a kind of goofiness that a small child may have had. He carried the rank of number one in the 400m dash as a freshman. He didn’t always carry the best grades. He got decent grades that were above the average. He was tall and always carried a water bottle. He had it in class, in the locker room before practice, and in the locker room after practice. He made some of the funniest faces and said some of the funniest comments. He carried a small amount of sadness after breaking up with his girlfriend of three years, during the summer of his sophomore year. He only began carrying this sadness later, during his junior year. These were just some of the things a few members of the track team carried.

 


© Copyright 2017 Hanif Tariq Ballard. All rights reserved.

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