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Piper Ochs

Megan brushed her short, black hair behind her ears. The wind blew it around again and chilled her cheeks where the tears streaked down. Light stung her watering eyes. The black skirt hung from her waist and the wind blew it away from her dainty ankles. The silver jewelry sparkled in the orange glow of the setting sun. The black cloak she wore waved behind her in a steady, flowing motion.

           I'm only eighteen. I have a month of high school left and then college. I can't handle this right now! I need so much more time to think. Her thought trailed into a sigh.

           Ethan stepped onto the dune. He glanced around the beach. Megan was at the wave's edge. Her thin body looked like a shadow in the light. He wondered how she would handle this. His steps were slow and long as he strolled to her side .

           "Will you please talk to me about this? It's not like the rest of your problems. You can't smoke this one into oblivion."

           "Sure I can." Her voice was shaky. She knew cigarettes wouldn't take it away. She sniffled and took another hit. "I don't want to live in reality. It's a scary place. I've been there and I don't want to go back."

           "You're going to have to sooner or later. More than likely sooner."

           His words melted into her mind. She shuddered. "I need to clear my head and decide soon. I don't want to screw up my life this early. I have so much more I want to do before I can even think about this. I have my art and school and all the traveling I want to do. I can't have this screwing up my life. It's too much! I can't take this all at once."

           "I'm still here for you and I'm not gonna leave. I can't leave you. There's no way you could even pry me away." He held her close. His best friend. The thought of her pain ripped him apart. "I love you."

           "I love you too." The tears swelled in her green eyes .

           "Your eyes are the color of the water again." He stared deep. They were full of pain, he could tell. She was so obvious to him. He turned away before he got lost in her sea. All he would ever be is a wooden raft in her gray, raging waves. No matter how much she talked to him and how much she spilled he would never understand .

           The silence flowed through her mind. The pressure pounded the side of her head. It continued until she screamed silently. 'This is too much!' The scream was out loud. It pierced the silence. Even the waves were quieted .

           "Shh! Stop! Please stop!" Ethan curled himself around Megan's slender body and pulled her to the sand. "Please don't do this!"

           "I can't stand the silence anymore!" she wailed. "Make the silence stop! Just make it stop!" The tears poured. Her only fear in this world: silence. Nothing good ever came of it. Crude words were more soothing to her.

           Ethan rocked her back and forth in the cool sand. "Shhh What do you want to talk about? We can talk. The silence can stop. Just please stop screaming. Please don't cry. I hate it when you cry."

           "I can't stop, Ethan. How can I? One word has ruined my life! No matter what choice I make, it's all ruined! I'll never feel the same again. I don't even think I can be me again."

           "You're not going to be any different. You're still going to be Megan. You always will be. This isn't going to change who you are." He held her shaking body. "I think you should sleep on this at least for tonight. Think it all over. Take as much time as you want."

           She sniffled. "OK," she said softly. "Will you help me back to the house?"

           "Yeah, come on."

           They lifted themselves from their sandy seats. The wind blew more rapidly and chills ran up Megan's back .

Lying in her bed, Megan stared onto her balcony. The moon was full. It's white light bounced around the waves below just like her thoughts bounced in her mind. "A Warm Place " played over and over on her CD player. It was soothing, so soothing that it lulled her to sleep .

           The next morning, she woke Ethan at ten-thirty. Together they drove into the city. Outside the doctor's office, angry people stood holding signs: "Murderers!" and "Give life a chance!"

           She had once been one of them.

           They could never understand, she thought. She was blinded by the glare of the glass door as she entered. Even though there was a noisy crowed heckling her for her decision, screaming silence twisted her brain. She joined it.

© 2000 Hayley Showers, all rights reserved
 appears here by permission

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