Another assignment from my Writer's class last year. We had to choose an object, and write a short story about it. I chose a gold cross pendant that I own; it's excruciatingly dear to me and close to my heart. I hope you like this. Just so you're clear, "Adie" is actually me (Sadie). I found it easier to write when I wasn't using my actual name. Alex and Amie's names were left alone.
Tiny Piece of Gold
"Okay, for your next assignment, you are to choose an object—any object, that means a lot to you, and you're to write a short piece on it." The teacher handed out a sheet of paper explaining the assignment in greater detail to each student. Adie took one, seemingly interested in the assignment. Inside, she was screaming in horror. Her writing skills were lacking and she wondered every day why she sat through this class. Everybody else was so talented and she was just—there.
"Can it be an eraser?" Joe Lewis, a kid who sat in the front right corner of the class asked. The class laughed and Adie rolled her eyes.
What an idiot, she thought.
Mrs. Hawthorne sighed. "If an eraser means a lot to you, Joe, then yes, you may use that."
"Adeline, you might want to use that—you always have it with you. It looks precious." Mrs. Hawthorne gestured to a gold necklace that Adie was wearing around her neck. The two ends of the chain met in the middle and a pretty golden cross hung over her collarbone. The ends of the cross had a small diamond stud embedded in them and on the back, there was an A engraved in it. It wasn't a large cross, maybe the length of half of Adie's thumb, and it was thin and light. The chain was thin and just as weightless as the twenty-karat cross that it held.
"Yea—I guess." She shrugged and stuffed the paper between the pages of her Writer's Notebook as the after school bell rang. Quietly, stealthily—like a panther, Adie slunk out of the class, abandoning her friends and classmates. Quickly, stepping over small patches of dandelions, she hitched her backpack over her shoulder and started the usual twenty-minute walk home. Angry tears filled her eyes as she looked down at her watch. The date: May 13th, was black and bold against the light blue and she grunted in frustration as she aimed a kick at a pebble.
"I can't believe this—" she muttered to herself, "In another twenty-four hours it'll be May fourteenth again." Despite the frustration within her heart, her voice was sad and tortured.
Even though three years had passed since that day, Adie still found herself dreading it. She stopped at the main intersection and she felt her blood run cold. It ran cold every time she stopped at that red light and stared at the middle of the road. As she stared at the cracked pavement, and all the tears that it held, she thought of it; that day. She thought of the stupid, tiny piece of gold hanging around her neck, and she thought of a man in the last moments of his life.
Her legs; her entire being felt heavy as the light turned green and she started crossing the street. The exact spot where it had happened drew closer and closer until finally, Adie was standing in it. Her legs lost feeling suddenly and she was rooted to the spot. Her hands clutched the straps of her backpack so tightly that her knuckles turned white. Blood drained from her face and her breathing was quick and sharp. She heard the tires screeching; Amie's cries and she felt the hands pulling at her shoulders.
A car drove up beside her and waited for the light to turn green. The man behind the wheel watched the long-legged female curiously. His eyes raked the road and he wondered what she was staring at. She looked horrified.
Adie felt tears spill from her stinging eyes and the light turned yellow. She couldn't move her legs and she sobbed lightly. They ballooned from meek little whimpers to body-wrenching cries.
The light turned red and the man honked his horn. Adie jerked her head towards him and her legs pulled her to the sidewalk. She stood for a few moments, watching as the car drove over the very spot that she had been standing in. Tears fell down her cheeks and she forced her sobs down. Quickly, she raised a hand and wiped the tears from her eyes.
"I'm okay." She told herself and started walking briskly. Her black running shoes were quiet against the summer sidewalk and she kicked them off effortlessly as she walked into her house. Her mother was in the living room, reading a book.
"Hi honey!" she called, "How was school?"
Adie didn't answer. She clutched her backpack straps and ran upstairs. With a light swing, she opened her door, slipped inside, and closed it again. Her curtains were closed and the bed was messy from her rushed morning. Silently, she crossed her legs and folded to the ground. She slipped her backpack off and pulled out her Walkman. Pressing play and slipping the headphones on, she leaned against the door and shut her eyes. Her hand flew up gently and touched the gold cross. It was weightless and cool against her skin, even though it held a million memories. Her brown eyes opened and she stared down at her backpack. Her Writer's Notebook was peeking out through the open zipper and she reached for it. A pen rolled out after it and she chuckled.
"You suck, Alex." She muttered, "Always making me do things that I clearly don't want to do."
She picked up the pen and opened her notebook. The assignment paper was there, crumpled and unwanted. She smoothed it out and looked at it.
As we've seen with Tim O'Brien's story "The Things They Carried" objects can be imbued with personal meaning. Objects can have a myriad of emotional connections and trigger a host of memories.
Your task is to choose an object and write a descriptive composition. Your piece should focus both on the physical properties of the object and the numerous layers of emotional connections. Consider the different sample texts.
Adie looked up from the paper and stared at her notebook with a new motivated gleam in her eyes. She opened it to a blank page and popped the cap of her pen. With her left hand at the throat, she started to write, thinking all the while, of that tiny piece of gold around her neck.
"No! Look out! Alex!" Adie's eyes stung as tears rushed into them. In the passenger's seat, Amie sat, her face a mask of terror and confusion as she looked at Adie as if to say, "What the hell are you yelling about?"
The sound of the tires screeching filled Adie's ears as Alex jerked the steering wheel to the left.
She heard him yell, "Adie! Amie!"
The ear-splitting crunch of metal was sickening and Adie lurched forward. Her seatbelt snapped tightly and her face whacked the back of Amie's headrest.
Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion suddenly and Adie clutched her forehead in pain. The world was upside down as the car went flying and somewhere, Adie heard Amie cry out for Jesus.
Or is it the car that's upside down, Adie thought. Her chest tightened as she felt herself rising slightly and with a gut-wrenching boom, the car smashed against the ground. The front window burst and glass flew against Adie's skin and into her hair. She coughed as she felt her skin rip open and smoke filled her lungs immediately. Daring to open her eyes, she saw that it was indeed the car that had spun upside down. Her eyes took a moment to focus and she saw red-orange flames licking at the air. Her hands shaking, she quickly unbuckled her seatbelt and fell to the ground. Or the roof of the car, more specifically.
"Alex," she coughed, the smoke filling her lungs, "Amie! Guys, we crashed—"
She crawled forward in between the passenger seat and peered at the two sitting in front. She looked to Amie first, who was half-sitting, half-laying there, her neck twisted awkwardly. She was crying.
"Amie, are you hurt?" Adie asked, her voice rising with panic slightly as the fact that the car was on fire registered within the walls of her fifteen year old mind.
"What happened? What happened?" Amie cried over and over again and Adie tried to unbuckle her seatbelt. It was jammed. Outside, the sounds of people screaming seemed quiet and distant to Adie as she turned her head to look at Alex.
"Al—" her breath caught as she stared at him. His face—that perfect face, worthy of a seat on Olympus, was a bloody mess and his eyes were closed. Adie reached over as sirens that had been blaring in the distance grew closer and closer until it seemed like the vehicle was right beside them. His ebony black hair was matted to his forehead by the gushing blood. Her hand touched his shoulder and her fingers clutched his shirt. She shook him. Gently at first, whispering his name; as if she were a woman, waking her lover from his slumber. "Alex. Alex wake up. We crashed."
He didn't answer. There was no brown staring back at her and it made her angry. She shook him again, adding more strength to it.
"Get up! I think Amie's hurt. We have to go. You're bleeding! Perfect time to sleep, Johansson! Come on!"
She didn't hear his reassuring chuckle and the 'silence' made her blood run cold. Hysteria soaked her voice as she cried, "Wake up! Why won't you wake up?" A golden cross pendant rested against the navy blue of his sweater, gleaming at her, small and perfect. She felt angry as she looked at it. He would've died for that cross.
She heard Amie's sobs, "Help us—please…"
Someone outside yelled above all the voices and four pairs of powerful arms pulled open Amie's crushed door. Adie looked over.
"Three! One hurt pretty badly!" The face yelling was bearded, kind, and looked concerned. Adie turned her attention back to Alex.
"People came to help! You have to co-operate, okay? Wake up, Alex."
A hand came through Alex's broken window and felt for a pulse. Adie stared hard at Alex's face.
Adie heard Amie whimper in pain and looked over as two firefighters cut her seatbelt and pulled her out of the car. Her arm was twisted awkwardly and her neck was swollen. She was sobbing, "Help them first! Help Adie and Alex."
Adie looked back at Alex and shook him fiercely. Understanding washed over her face and she felt pre-sob gasps wrench through her body.
"No, no, no, no!" She cried as she felt a pair of hands grab her by the shoulders. She clung to Alex, "No, he'll wake up! I can wake him up! He knows my voice!" she yelled, fighting against the hands.
"Come on, honey, you have to come out!" she heard a man yell from behind her, "You can't do anything to help him." The voice was trying to be nice, she knew that, but panic coursed through her and she cried out angrily.
"No! I have to wake Alex up! He's being stubborn!" she shook her head fiercely and tears began to pour down her cheeks. That stupid, tiny piece of gold glinted mockingly at her and she thought about how much Alex loved that pendant. The hands clutching her shoulders and waist jerked and she fell backwards as they pulled her out. Two hands cupped her armpits and she cried out as she felt herself being pulled away from Alex. Desperately, she lurched forward to grab his shirt but her fingers closed around the golden chain instead. She felt the clasp snap as she was pulled out of the car.
"He won't wake up for your voice!" she sobbed as she fell against Amie, who was sitting in the middle of the road, covered in a blanket. A paramedic was checking her and one came to Adie's side immediately, "He knows my voice! He doesn't know yours… please help him…"
Alex was pulled out moments later; the flames had been extinguished—murmurs of fear and sympathy, but above all, complete horror, filled the crowd that had gathered and Amie fell against Adie's shoulder when Alex's body was placed on a gurney and covered in an obscenely beautiful white blanket…
"He's dead! Oh my God, he's dead!"
Amie screamed. It was a scream Adie would hear for the rest of her life.
Adie felt cold; frozen and alone as she opened her fist, and stared down at the stupid, tiny piece of gold that Alex had loved so much.
The last italicized part might have been annoying for some people, but I just uploaded it straight from my homework file from last year. I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading this. It's quite sad, but I felt much, much lighter after writing it.