Past and Future

Past and Future

The world is full of problems. It made the man wonder why he bothered to get up in the morning. The sun was shining — but it was too bright. And was it possible for that baby across the street to wail any louder? He sighed and opened his fridge door. Most everything within it was starting to go bad. And now he would have to go to the store. "Maybe," the man thought, "It's not worth it. For me, there is nothing left to live for. So why should I continue to live?" He walked outside to check his mailbox. More bills. The man vaguely wondered if he should leap in front of the car speeding by. Over the speed limit. It was blaring music. The man shook his fist and went back into his darkened house. Glancing out the window, he saw a woman and her husband pushing the baby who had earlier been crying in a stroller, but he now realized it was actually older than he had thought. Two years old, maybe? Strangely, he felt a pang of jealousy — or was it sadness? The child reminded him of someone, but that was long ago. In another life, where the man had been happy. But that life was over. The man again ventured outside, though he wasn't sure why. He sat down on a bench and stared into the distance aimlessly. His hands, as if from their own accord, reached into his pocket, where a small photo was tucked away. He held it out in front of him, running his callused, weathered thumbs across it. It showed a little girl, smiling, her pigtails blowing in a wind frozen in time. As he stared at her, the darkness inside him growing, longing for something that he would never again have, another breeze outside the photo slipped it out of the man's hands until it landed on the ground a few feet away. He was just about to get up when the toddler, who had escaped her stroller, came over, and lifted the photo, staring at it with fascination. Her own pigtails shined against the midday sun. She then looked at the man and smiled a semi-toothless smile and held out the picture. "Is this yours?" she said in her little toddler voice. The man felt something inside him lift. 

"Yeah. That's mine." 

"Tomorrow's my birthday," the girl replied triumphantly, giving him the photo.

"How old will you be?" asked the man.

"Three!"

"That's interesting," he said. "Someone else I knew is having their birthday tomorrow."

"Who?" asked the girl.

"You've already met her," said the man, motioning to the photo.

"Ohhh," the girl said in wonder. Just then her parents came over. 

"Hello!" the girl's father said.

"You have a very nice daughter," answered the man, and smiled for the first time in what felt like ages.

"Mama! Daddy! Can he come over for lunch tomorrow?" the girl asked excitedly. Her mother glanced at the photo, and smiled a sad but knowing smile. 

"Of course he can, if he would like to." 

"Yeah... yeah, why not?" replied the man.

"Yay! I can't wait!" said the girl.

That night, after setting the photo under his pillow as he always did, the man closed his eyes and was surprised to find that that night, his thoughts were not of a longing for the past, they were of a hopeful future where he could remember, but also move on. As he drifted off to sleep, he dreamed of the girl's smile as she held the photo, her pigtails seeming to drift between one color and another, almost as if she were two people at once. 


 

Samara Raiche

VT

17 years old

wildcat

VT

14 years old

The Voice

January 2024

  • January Is an Icicle

    The clock was frozen in amber, but now frost creeps up to crack the warm glow. The minute hand trembles, then moves in wistful whirls. The Christmas tree slumps, its shiny tears clinking against the w...

  • The You That You Are

    I love the you that you are when you are alone, The you that you are when you’re at home, When you look with soft eyes at the cat, The you that you are when you step onto the doormat. I love the you ...

  • Turning pages

    i find it so easy to turn a page there’s something hopeful in it something promising something that holds my hand and reassures me that the narrative continues that the story is seamless but it has co...

  • The Heart of a Table

    The ancient wooden table.The dining room table my family gathered at tonight to enjoy a meal together. But before my first bite of chicken reaches my mouth, I hear my mom tell my dad:I need a new dinn...

  • The Blizzard

    I hardly knew her at all, wasn’t expected to. She was just a kid at the High like anyone else, who had no car. She was sitting stubbornly on a bench, determined to get a ride. I knew what it was like ...

  • Nighttime

    Nighttime: My eyes drooping.The night sky, black as paint.The nocturnal still venture out in these ungodly hours. No sunlight or moonlight to guide us home. Just the cars in front of us, fleeing like...

  • Run With The Hunted

    It wasn’t intended to be anything more than a brief stroll along the forest's edge. She was never meant to stray from the cover of the treeline, but the city calls to her, as it tends to do. When face...

  • Dear Citizens of the World

    Dear Citizens of the World, there are so many issues, every direction you look, every person you talk to, they have their issue, animal abuse or cancer or fair treatment of farm workers. In our world ...

  • And So I Refrain

    she talks to me about the paper snowflakes she plans to make this weekend, and so i refrain from telling her that my bedroom has been decorated since the day after thanksgiving. she tells me about the...

  • Love Me Like Fog

    love me like the fog –like the fog loves december –for the winter gets blurry and it's hard to remember hold me like the fog – like the fog holds the town – although i may not see you let me know you...

  • A Dream

    The ocean pulls forward and back in a rhythmic motion, lying beneath a spectacular sunset. We marvel at the sight of the setting sun, leaving traces of pink and gold along the clouds, tracing its pain...

  • Pizza Delivery!

    Fourteen miles to 432 Carolina Street, that was the only thing standing between Joseph Palmer and free pizza. It was also the only thing standing between me and a stern talking to by my boss. The task...

  • Soul-ly There

    The moment I open the door, the brisk fall air greets me. I step into the aromas of nature. I recall the deep smell of pines in the winter.The peaceful awakening of rain and life in spring.The overwhe...

  • I Open My Eyes

    I open my eyes, Seeing a barely knit community, Everyone ignoring those who they pass, Going only to those they relate to, Searching only for the great, Noticeable similarities. I open my eyes, Seein...

  • A Letter I Can't Send

    oh darling, you'll never understand why i did what i did. I don't think i ever will either. i held on as long as i could. i would've held on longer, if i could stand lying to you. but i can't force my...

  • Past and Future

    The world is full of problems. It made the man wonder why he bothered to get up in the morning. The sun was shining — but it was too bright. And was it possible for that baby across the street to wail...

  • As She Pleases

    To be a woman is to be a banquet. Eclectic, savory, distinguished. A summer potluck of femininity; a Thanksgiving toast to masculinity; an Easter brunch with androgyny. It is to be the cow; the milk, ...

  • I Love

    I love the way the light filters through treesand how the ocean sounds at nightand my feet sinking into the earthand bird song at sunriseand how my name sounds on your breathand my fingers dancing on ...