“Charlotte, come on! You have to come try this with us.”
I shake my head hesitantly in response to the beckoning of my friends. The sun light’s rays waltz as it swoons to the lullaby that Mother Earth—sweet Mother Earth—sings to her children every night. The sky was beautiful, the weekend beckons, and the wild adventurous spirits of my friends come to life. I can see that spark of teenage rebellion and recklessness in their eyes. This is the thing that my parents tell me to stay away from, but yet intrigues me at the same time.
“She doesn’t have to try riding in the back of the truck with us. I know this is an open high way and no one ever drives through here, but still. We’re not pressuring you, Char. It’s okay. You can sit inside.” My friend Maye sends me a smile, but her eyes avert contact with mine. I can sense what is going through her head—there goes quiet Charlotte. Charlotte, with her brown hair and hazel eyes, chained to her plainness and never daring to take a risk in her life.
I need to prove them wrong. No, I have to prove them wrong.
It’s true what they say. I am terrified of life. I’m sixteen, and I need to grow out of this clustered shell that has protected me from the rest of the world. I need to branch out and experience life. I swaddle my shoulders with my oversized wool sweater as everyone packs up the rest of the campsite.
“Well, are you coming, or what?”
This time, it is my friend, Chase, who calls out to me. “Um… um, yes I am coming.” Then, before I can stop the words from coming out of my mouth, I say, “I want to ride in the back.”
“Are you sure about that, Brownie-hair?” I laugh at that nickname and stick my tongue out, but Chase’s facial expression, a serious façade, does not change. I thank the stars that the night sky was almost dark; I can feel my cheeks heat up lightly. “Look, I don’t want to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do.”
“I really want to ride in the back of the truck.”
“But Charlotte, are you sure?”
“Absolutely.” My eyes meet his dark brown, and without another word, he extends a hand to lift me up to the back of the van. I am greeted by four pairs of staring eyes, and a cry of light squeals, coming gently out of Maye. Maye pats down a seat that is located toward the interior of the back and I wiggle my way to get comfortable.
Chase knocks to the driver of the car. “Go slow,” he mouths.
“Okay, will do,” the driver agrees. Chase jumps onto the cargo area.
“Hold on tight! Just say when it gets too fast and I’ll yell at Mark to slow down.”
The driver rumbles the truck to life and we begin to move. I close my eyes, willing myself to not go carsick and puke, or make myself look like a fool in all of the possible ways I could in the back of the truck. The car’s pace quickens. I anchor my hands to the bottom of the platform I sit on. I am still terrified.
But then I slowly open my eyes.
I look up to see the sky once again. The world dances in a circle, the stars prance, but oh, the sky and the children of the earth, and they dance in a wave, the crops waving to and fro to reach their tops to the sky! Mother Earth and Father Sky are smiling and celebrating in a wild fashion, to the rustle of the fields, to the chugging of the engine, to the laughter that wells out of me.
I raise my hands and let my palms feel the cool air rush between the spaces of my fingertips. I have taken a chance. I am breathing, I am alive.
Most of all, I am f r e e.
Hi guys! This was something that came out in the spur of the moment; it's unedited, but I think I am going to rewrite this. Tell me what you think.