Amazing Kids! Magazine

Never Forsaken by Light Again

By Jada Smiley, age 13, Ohio


A clear direction only existed in a false memory. Ever since I arrived here, I would blindly travel through different places without really knowing where I should stay. Ever since the beginning, my eyes were constantly seeking brand-new sights, colors, and structures of many different surfaces. All of those elements barraged my mind, and that really bewildered me. I still didn’t know where I belonged or where home actually was. Was I lost?

But I was in Mariemont. That’s where I was—my new home! I knew where I was, so that meant I didn’t have to keep searching anymore! I should have lain down and shut my eyes. But why was I still searching? No matter where I was, my legs continued to move, to run, to stagger through endless hallways that were splattered with different colored walls, doors, and lights. I wanted to spot everything in those hallways. From the beginning of my arrival, no one told me where to go. If they did, I would always forget. If I knew the way, I would eventually forget. Because of that, I didn’t know where to go or where I should stop. So that’s when I became lost. But wasn’t I in Mariemont?

She glared at me as I aimlessly staggered through the different scenes and settings. I didn’t know why she was so angry at me. Perhaps it was because the setting she saw is not how I perceived it. It just might be that she only saw the concrete road, the trees, the people, the classmates, the sunlight, and me. I am certain those are the only things she could have seen. But unlike her, I spotted something slightly different. Yes, I saw the sun, leaves, trees, and people the same way, believe it or not. The only difference between her vision and mine is how we saw me. I did not see myself walking on the concrete road, passing people, passing the trees—under the sun. Instead, I saw myself blindly lurking on a random path in the dark. I was not in that same setting. There’s no way she saw what I could see. I wanted her to stop questioning me. I was trying to look for that setting with the sunshine, people, and nature. Not only that but I was looking for somewhere I just had to be. I wouldn’t want to describe it like home but more like a purpose or a goal—and maybe a home, too.

“Why are you still walking?” she asked. I didn’t say anything. I knew she wanted to ask me more, but whenever she was about to open her mouth, she glanced not at the expression of my face but at my feet. She stopped because she already knew my answer. Maybe she was able to tell because we might just be the exact same person? Wait… Yes, we just might be the same person. So is she “myself conscious” or the other half of me? Maybe. I’m not really sure to be honest. But it didn’t really matter anymore. She was no longer speaking. The reason I didn’t answer her physically or mentally was because she couldn’t or didn’t provide a direction for my moving feet. Nor did she help me discern a light. So I kept on moving. But in the end, I did say something. Not to her but to my feet.

“Don’t worry,” I internally whispered to my weary feet. “I promise one day you’ll be able to take a break. I’ll also take off my shoes and socks, if that makes you feel any better.” I smiled with determination and felt like my feet beamed back at me, too.  As I continued to travel, my eyes locked onto the movement of my feet. I couldn’t see, but I could sense the dark world that encompassed me slowly break away. The black, haunting paint of the dark world cumulatively began to chip off the walls of what seemed to look like a hallway. The dark world started to form into a hallway with only one direction. There was no going back. The black, dried segments that broke off the walls started to break off in greater size. The remnants of the wall started to fade into a blossoming spectrum of colors. Soon my setting was lavished with colors—some dull and some vibrant. I could feel my tired feet quickly stumble forward. And when I arrived at the end of hallway, a door stood before me. I was at the end. Surrounding me were vivid colors of many kinds. At first I didn’t notice the door because I had been staring at my feet most of the adventure. But when I did finally look up, I was shocked and very elated at where I had ended up. Yes, I did eventually open that door. Yes, I did eventually go inside. And finally, yes, I did take off my shoes and socks (it felt really good).

I found where I belonged without anyone telling me where to go. I figured it out. That was my adventure in my eyes—the sight that I saw. But as for the girl from earlier, there is another version of my adventure, and it’s from her eyes. The way she saw it was the literal way of how it happened. In that story, I actually had someone who helped me—someone who was not mentioned in the first version of the story. She was actually the first friend I ever made at Mariemont and one of the first people I asked for directions. So why wasn’t she in the first version of the story? That might have been because I was staring at my shoes most of the time! Anyway, I do owe much gratitude to her. I suppose she was walking by my side the whole trip. Even when I was separated from her, even when she did not know she was walking in the same hallway, she was parallel to my feet. I’m not very good at figuring out what really happened, but I can state a few things. Yes, she eventually opened the same door. Yes, she did actually go inside. And finally, yes, she still continues playing video games and procrastinating homework to this very day. Oh, yeah! Before any of that, she did, indeed, take off her shoes and socks and place them adjacent to mine.

“Thanks for neatly placing your shoes next to mine, Jennifer! Thanks for being one of the only people that existed in both versions of my story.” She cannot hear my words. She is too happy to hear them. It doesn’t matter. “Too bad you can only see one of the settings,” I whisper to her internally.

The light has returned once again. Now I know my choices. I now can hear the paths blare at me with thunderous, inducing voices. They all want me to embark on their trails. I’m not very indecisive anymore. That’s because I’ve already made myself a map.

Patience has many positive aspects to it. Even though that pestering finger cumulatively starts to pin deeper and deeper into one’s neck, in the end, it always stands out as a very cordial trait. Patience really makes a character. It also keeps me from harm. As the other fourth-graders made their way onto the tennis course, I swiftly climbed the grassy hill to stand aside—to be patient and away from the ruckus. While I silently stood on the cool, animated grass that softly stroked my shoes, I saw children my age violently attempting to push one another away from the entrance of the only gateway inside. Some thought it was really comical that the children were viciously tearing each other to get inside first. The green, metal fence shook as children stomped through the entrance. The metal rang every time students ricocheted off the springy surface or raced their fingertips over the holes. It wasn’t really a surprise when someone got trampled. This had been happening for some time. While most kids (especially boys) thought it was humorous, the teachers believed that it was very unprincipled and dangerous. I thought it was embarrassingly selfish. At least they actually knew where they wanted to go.

So when the mound of children around the gate started to diminish and when the teachers finished scolding some select immature male students, I slowly skidded down the hill. I began to make my way toward the tennis course entrance that finally stood in complete, abrupt silence.

This day, this moment, this memory—the atmosphere, the sky, and the setting—this image was so blank. I remember something. Not a direction or words but, instead, the wind. That was the only thing that I could feel. I had never felt so unloved by the sun before, for it had forsaken the sight of my eager eyes. My bare skin suffocated in the bland, lifeless air. The sun did not bother to gaze at me that day or to provide a light for my blind, impaired being that aimlessly wandered around. Its luminous rays had not only abandoned me but had also betrayed the world around me. I was so lost in the dark. The sky was so blank that it burned my eyes to gaze upon it.

I walked forward to the now-empty entrance of the tennis course. Behind me, the enormous, ancient trees were swaying in dead motions in the wind. Their green leaves chattered in the blowing air. They danced side to side until they landed on the placid ground. Scattered like the leaves descending to the ground were high-spirited fourth-grade children running and playing around in their own animated group of friends.

When I crossed over the borderline from the outside to inside the “danger zone,” I froze. Everything was so alive: the world behind and before me. The entire universe was moving. The trees and the nature moved due to physics. Their direction could be determined by science. The playing children, carefree, were racing in their own directions in a way that indicated that they knew where they wanted to go. They chased each other and moved fast. They were happy. Wow. The worst place to feel lonely and lost is in a crowd of moving people and nature. They were constantly moving. I was constantly blind.

So usually, when someone gets lost—let’s say in a forest—what does she do? She goes to higher ground. What do artists do when they want to see the whole picture? They step back until the whole image is visible to their eyes. In my current position, I was not able to reach a place higher than anyone in the whole tennis course. I was well aware that I was trapped in an abyss below everyone. The weight of my lifeless body slumped onto and then bounced off the springy fence. Far off to the side, the dead weight of my body was supported by the fence’s structure. My eyes avidly analyzed the spirited souls of my fellow classmates. Jennifer’s body or being was really challenging to spot with the naked eye. I’m not saying she was “normal” (not at all). It’s just that she blended in really well. Why she appeared like that will forever be an enigma to me.

This was like a painting. The blank, white atmosphere served as the canvas. Painted on that canvas was everything I saw. What I saw at the moment was pure art. Everything in the painting was so lively—all except for the girl in the left-hand corner. She blended so well into the background—so well, she might as well have been part of the background. Her soul, feet, and physical body were motionless. She was as still as a person in an old photograph. Her eyes seemed isolated.  But she wasn’t lonely.

Next to her sat someone who blended into the background just as well: Deacon. He also sat motionless. His eyes were focused. After observing this painting, I stared at these two. The more I stared, the more immersed I became in that particular left-hand part of the painting. Why was this? Taking the whole canvas, I erased the children, trees, sounds, and everything else except those two figures. I enhanced the image and zoomed in. This was my finalized piece of art. This was all I needed to focus on. In front of me, I saw an old friend, an old memory that I missed so dearly, accompanied by a stranger. There was something I still hadn’t been able to uncover yet. I wanted to know. It was time to finalize the picture. Intensify it. I needed to make it so that my image popped out to anyone who glanced at it. I wanted its colors to be pungent. I needed to make it look so clear to me. There had to be something else in the image I wasn’t seeing.

I found it. Both Deacon and Jennifer were looking at it the whole time. There actually was something moving in the picture. Jennifer’s right hand briskly guided the pencil into various directions. What was she drawing? Both of them looked so immersed in the world of the drawing. I wanted to know so desperately, so much, that it made me want to jump into my own artwork. At this point in time, I didn’t consider myself an artist yet. I still needed to make some quick edits and erase all of those extra pencil marks. Of course, I still needed to finish it by putting my signature on it. I didn’t want anyone to steal my painting from me. I worked so hard on making the background stand out. I was actually about to leap into it.

I had so much aspiration. It was the kind that turned me into an impenetrable bullet wanting to shoot through the most massive structures. This feeling made me want to blast off like a rocket deep into space. The feeling was weird because it was so powerful. It almost did make me believe I could actually do that. I shyly ran up to Jennifer and Deacon and greeted them. I was allowed to watch Jennifer draw. As I witnessed her drawing, my inspiration erupted into various colors of gooey paint from eyes. I remembered my painting that I had created in my head. The left-hand corner used to seem very drab. But since I went inside the painting and inspected it, I discovered all the aspects of the artwork. Because of the inspiration that exploded from my head and ears, the left-hand corner of the canvas became smeared with living colors that were no longer a part of the background. This part of the painting was now a vital part of its story.

“Hello, old friend. I missed you. What have you been up to?” I whispered internally to her. She couldn’t hear it because she was so distant from reality. It didn’t matter. She actually did hear someone, though. I did, too.

“She’s really good.” Yes, Deacon, I agreed. Her artwork was amazing. Creating from skill, imagination, a piece of paper, and a pencil, she was able to produce something amazing.

My brain was in a rapid swirl of awe. It was like a colorful, sparkling elixir overflowing my mind. My mind was so drenched with a poisonous, beautiful liquid that it actually began to pour out of my mouth and explode from my ears. It was too unhealthy to keep in. What came out of my mouth was, “Wow! How did you draw that?”

I remember the girl from earlier, the one who questioned where I was going. When she asked me those questions, I didn’t answer. But unlike me, Jennifer responded. “It took a long time and a lot of practice,” she told me.

The bell rang, and again, kids, even Deacon, start to fight through the entrance. But Jenn and I were patient. We continued to talk, and she continued to answer my questions. We probably were able to communicate with each other because we saw the same setting (unlike that “other person” and me). We walked side by side toward the exit. We were moving in one direction because we both knew that was where our next destination was. The door. Yes, we did go through the entrance. And again, yes, she was walking right next to me! I’m friends with her again, and we have made it. This might have been the first time I detected my direction.

So to sum it up, this is what Jenn did for me. It was like she handed me a pencil and paper and told me, “Create your own map.” Over the next few years, we drew together. We found the same interests and found the same friends. If it weren’t for Jennifer, I would never have become the artist I am today. Not only are my feet tired, but my hands also are getting pretty weary. So I’m an artist now. I’m done with the painting. Before I hit the hay and diminish the lights, there are just two important things I need to do to my artwork. On the top right corner, I sign my name. Very important. Below that, I write, “To Jennifer.” Also important. This painting will go to her.