At the first sight of this picture, I felt everything she seemed to be
holding in. So I wrote a story. with no solid backbone to it. And there you have it.
by Jenny Huynh
She was seventeen. A typical seventeen-year-old girl in everyway,
spending countless hours in front of a mirror, plucking a slightly askew
eyebrow, drowning out any parental signs with a backlash of Dashboard
Confessional music and closed doors. But there was a side to her, a side
she never revealed, a side hidden from dinner tables, high school dances, and
Nostalgia often hit her hard. The Bambino’s powerful batting arm had
nothing on it. No one poignantly wished for childhood days more than she
did. The longing of times when a bandage and chocolate chip cookie did
wonders for a scraped knee, when a toothache was a good thing, meaning a
quarter to spend on the ice cream truck, when her parents inundated her with
adoration and didn’t mind she wore the same purple skirt everyday.
One morning, something abruptly snapped, awakening seventeen years of bottled
up emotions, hampered tears, numbed pain. Embittered by lonely Saturday
nights and neglect, Kendra found refuge through, ironically, solitarily means,
a brief shower or a walk at two in the morning, which was a very painstaking
process, for a creak of the wooden floor below her foot or a grumble from her starved
stomach meant a very pissed off father.
She slowly yet dramatically deteriorated, the way a stock market would.
Hygiene meant nothing to her and she went for days without brushing her
teeth. Once the top of her class, Kendra stooped amongst failed tests and
missing assignments. Her face had aged, from lack of sleep, lack of
energy, lack of life. Bags under her eyes sprung. A sullen, morose
disposition replaced the energetic, gregarious cheerleader type personality
that only some time ago embodied her. She had shut down entirely.
Kendra heard nothing as she walked towards the shore in a serene trance.
She was oblivious to it all, the fireworks lighting the sky in beautiful shades
of yellow and red, the cacophony of persistent children begging for one teddy
bear after another, the beach ball soaring over her head, and even the piercing
scream of a wide-eyed mother, pointing.
It was just her and a vast blue sea. She sank down into it, and for a
split second, she nearly smiled. The ocean engulfed her. Seagulls
excitedly jittered as fishermen released a net of salmon. The sun
vanished off to its daily rendezvous. Kendra let her body go; she let it
Tomorrow morning, the coast guard will find her body. A crowd of
photographers, news reporters, and onlookers will surround her with shaking
heads and then they will continue their lives, their lives of blaring
television sets and materialistic personas. The entire predicament will
be announced just a teen suicide. Her parents will call up relatives who
only showed face for holidays and special occasions. A funeral will take
place, a few words said, and meanwhile the flowers left above the grey
tombstone will whither faster than normal.
Ten years from now, a child will run to the exact spot, scoop up sand crabs,
and name each one, not knowing what once took place. His father will
smile, ignoring his incessant backache from an earlier factory mishap. He
will look up and blink his eyes several times, due to an obscure image of what
appeared to be a girl, off in the distance, off in the waters. Nervously
chuckling at his glimpse, he will take his son’s hand to buy two vanilla ice
She was seventeen.