Peer Review by Suri Purefoy (United States)

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What I Saw

By: Grace Hammond


I was walking to the car. The schoolbag was heavy and my shoes felt like anchors strapped to my feet. I saw it up the hill, the once red Honda wagon, and the beat of my footsteps against the cracked concrete slowed. I opened the boot and shoved in my bag, and trudged to the passenger side door. I climbed in, careful not to knock my headphones out of my ears. The engine revved and the car pulled out of the gutter. My forehead rested against the vibrating glass and my eyes stared blankly. When I heard her beside me, I increased the volume of my music. Heavy metal screamed at me and so did she. But in the end, the music always won. Her throat grew hoarse but in my ears the next song played.

The car rolled to a stop. I remained still and waited for the seemingly distant thud of her slammed door and then the second, more distant one a few seconds later. I lumbered out of the car and retrieved my bag. I was hopeful, so I went to the front door, but the knob wouldn’t turn. I didn’t even glance at the dent in the wood the size of my foot before traipsing around the side of the house and sliding the window up. I tossed my bag in and dragged myself through, my feet thumping against the face of the nightstand. I yanked the cords from my ears and chucked them onto the desk littered with papers and wrappers and dinner plates. I put the bag into my closet and took off my shoes before falling backward onto the bed. I stared at the crack in the ceiling for a while, breathing in the musty air, before my eyes gradually closed.

When they opened again, the room around me was cloaked in darkness, and pale light streamed through the open window. I groaned as I heaved out of bed, and only when standing did I feel the growling in my stomach. I eased the door open and plodded into the kitchen, my socks muffling the footsteps on the wood. My eyes scanned the bench chairs and the dining room table before I opened the refrigerator. Its yellow light illuminated my face, yet deepened my shadow. I spread mayonnaise on bread and piled on top ham and cheese and dumped it on a plate. Turning, I walked back to my room, leaving the loaf and the chopping board on the bench. I ate on my bed, staring at the floor. The perfectly square patch of light seeping into the wooden boards. I watched how it gushed through the glass, its glow lustrous and soft. My mouth slackened mid-chew when I saw the light move. Flickers of incandescence dancing in the air, constituting space. The plate fell off my lap and clattered onto the floor as I slowly stood. I moved forward, my hand reaching, until my skin made contact with the rippling beam. I laughed, the sound bubbling in my throat and spilling from my mouth, as my finger grazed the moving light. My eyes followed the undulating waves to the pane through which they tumbled. The light bespattered the glass with swirling patterns, resembling a snowflake consisted of luminosity. I stepped forward until I was submerged in the pulsing lustre, my body immersed in its glistening shimmer. I walked to the window and climbed through, the icy wind licking my skin. I closed my eyes and inhaled the crisp air, allowing it to flood my lungs and fill my chest. And when my eyelids fluttered open was when I saw it. The streak of radiant white above the grass. And emitting from it was the living glow, the surging light that bathed my skin. There were no thoughts, no attempts at comprehension, no flickers of disbelief in my eyes. I stood, my mouth ajar and my hands limp, as I beheld the light before me.

All through the night it shone, alive in the darkness, and with it I stayed until the golden streaks smeared the indigo sky from the east. And with the gathering of daylight, the beaming white faded, until my half-opened eyes could no longer see it at all. I dragged my feet to the window and hauled myself through, not bothering to rise when I stumbled and fell. I lay sprawled on the wood, my eyelids drooping, and when they closed memories of the light danced in the blackness. I didn’t fight her when she shook me awake. I didn’t scream in my head as she sat beside me. I didn’t need to escape, because deep inside I knew that the light was waiting for me in the dark. 

Peer Review

Reviewer Comments

"Beautiful" is the only word I can think of that describes this piece of writing. It is truly beautiful!