The Boy's Mountain | Teen Ink

The Boy's Mountain

March 16, 2023
By mialee0813 SILVER, Sharon, Massachusetts
mialee0813 SILVER, Sharon, Massachusetts
6 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I am lying in bed on a Thursday evening when my bedside clock reads 10 p.m, marking the time for my weekly contemplation of life. Some might say I overthink things too much, yet my life is simple: every day I wake up, get ready, go to school, come home, eat dinner, do my homework and repeat. I picture my life as a never ending clock; once it hits 12, I live the same day all over again. I am the type of person who would rather have everything figured out in life than leave gaps for the unknown. At this moment, I am sure of everything in my life…well, almost everything. There is one thing I can’t seem to understand: Hayden.

I let my eyes shut, my eyelids begin to feel heavy and my head pounds as if weights were pushing against my forehead. I tell myself to stop, to stop overthinking, to stop remembering, and to stop talking. The ironic thing is, I’m not really talking, my mind is, and as long as my mind tells me to stop talking, my mind will continue to whirl. My ears begin to ache from all the familiar voices shouting at me. Suddenly I feel dizzy.

Slowly my eyes open up. The brightness of the sunrise strikes my eyes as I look below, and see a whole world beneath my feet. Suddenly, I feel a sense of relief. Somehow, my mind is at ease, the gears have slowed down and my mind has stopped whirling. I look around to realize I am on top of the world. I hold my breath, and look down to a large body of water, far below me. I blink twice, pinch myself, but nothing is working. I can’t wake up. By chance I see one person from a distance. I recognize their pale skin, wrinkled khaki pants, and brushed upwards chestnut hair. 

My eyes wander around trying to meet Hayden’s but they never connect. His body is facing the edge of the mountain, his hands resting against a rock. I can tell he is at peace. I let my feet move towards him, and I gradually let words flow out of my mouth. I begin with his name, “Hayden? Where are we?”  He does not respond. But somehow, the more I speak, the less anxious I become. I feel trapped, isolated, and lost, yet my stomach has still not dropped to the floor from anxiety and waterfalls of tears have not yet poured down my face. I sit down on the warm, rocky surface, and shut my eyes once more. 

Suddenly as a loud sound punctures through my head, my eyes flash open. I am back in my bedroom lying on my bed. The navy flannel sheets have dropped to the end of my bed, half on the floor. I turn my head to the bedside clock, to see that it is ten o’clock at night. The time hasn’t changed since I first climbed into bed. My mind begins to yell at me again, my eyes are spinning, I feel like I am reaching the top of a roller coaster and all my emotions that have been building up are now flooding out. The voices are becoming uncontrollable; they are everywhere yet they are nowhere. I scream. There is only one voice left, it is familiar but I can’t put a name to it. The voice is constantly repeating, “Goodbye.” I hide my face in my pillow and shut my eyes, trying to block everything out. 

I convince myself that I'm living through deja vu. I tell myself this isn’t real, this can’t be happening. Yet it is. I am back on top of the mountain, higher than clouds yet closer to the world than I ever have been. The warmth of the sun is resting against my rosy cheeks as I turn my body towards Hayden. This time he is with a girl. She looks familiar yet I can’t remember from where. She is younger than Hayden, she appears to be around five or six. I can hear voices. My ears capture the deep yet soft spoken words, I recognize Hayden’s voice. It all clicks, this is the voice I’ve been hearing all along. “I missed you,” he says. As I walk closer, I realize he is not talking to me. I catch a glimpse of her appearance, her deep blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair. She is Hayden’s younger sister, who passed away about three months ago from a tragic accident. I fall to my knees, because I don’t feel the same sense of comfort and relief that I felt last time standing on this mountain. I feel selfish, and stupid for ignoring Hayden’s grief and sadness while I still had him. I don’t know where to go from here. I sit down and watch them, their bond, their connection. I close my eyes again and try to bring myself back. I don’t want to be here anymore. 

I open my eyes to the startling sight of Hayden. This time we are both on the highest point of the mountain. He is standing in front of me, his sister at his side. His mouth gradually opens, and my name flows out of his lips. He asks how I am, and he says that he has been waiting for me to visit. My mind blanks, I feel senseless, my fingers begin to feel invisible. I don’t know where I am, what is going on, but I feel safe with him. He tells me that he is in a better place now, and he can finally be with “her”. He tells me I need to go back to living my life, and let him go. At this moment, he calls out for a bird, he shows me its wings, and he says it is a cardinal. He tells me that cardinals are happy, and free. My face begins to feel the strength of the scorching sun, sweat begins to drip down my cheeks. The only word that I can bring myself to say is, “goodbye”. He holds his sister’s hand as he walks farther from me. I lie down on the mountain and shut my eyes, hoping that this time they stay closed. 

“Wake up!” This is a voice I recognize, I know who it is. I force myself to open my eyes and I catch a glimpse of my bedroom wall. I gently stand up, and try to remember what just happened. I close my eyes and breathe. I try to remember him, but all I can picture is one, great mountain. I search deep into the image, yet my eyes are fighting the urge to look around. With force I reopen my eyes. My mind feels like it has been wiped away, my eyes feel lighter than a feather. Finally the voices are gone, my mind feels free, and I can shut my eyes in peace. I fall back into the comfort of my bed, suddenly I become startled by the blaring of a car horn, and as I walk towards my window, a red cardinal flies across.

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