This was a practice personal response that my teacher made my class do to prepare us for Diplomas. The text I decided to respond to was Itinerary by Eamon Grennan. The topic was what the text suggests to the reader about the ways an individual deals with the uncertainties of the past.


Ralph's long fingers played another beat against the stark white butt, tapping out a melody reminiscent to the whisper of wild children. His chapped lips parted in a daze, gray smoke danced like a cold imitation of a warm spring afternoon, and you gripped harder for the loose embrace of sand and glass. The words long died away, making room for nothing but a solitary sorrow when the gray finally pulled away for his cool echo to stretch through the Long Island Sound.

Its a gift, he tells you. But Ralph has always been the kind of person with his heart in his mouth- his fingers waltz through cigarettes like they do keys and you feel breathless in the wake of his song. The water swallows your feet, sending pin pricks of pain shooting up your legs like fireworks against red skin but Ralph looks ever the same, crouching on his rock like a new parent and takes another long drag.

His eyes gaze over.

The tides rise higher.

Each movement that flutters through your friend creates a new sheet of music that holds you captive in his embrace. You see beaks open and close, hear dizzying voices calling through the waves, feel the sheen of spider silk being lifted from your dry skin but all you see is Ralph. Your wispy voice swallows the wind and he lets a string of shivers ruin his tense composure.

He closes his eyes, the sun beating down violently on his prone form, burning an orb into the dark of his abyss. The stick still burning and mixing away with the ashes of a fallen sandcastle. His steady breaths reveal a need to turn away but the memories saw through the dark with a thunderous note.

When he throws open the door, he barely sees the invisible child. His prayers have manifested themselves into a dozen songs, screaming full blast in his ears as if he weren't trying to find a way onto Charon's boat uncharged years before.

His noise becomes his comfort, filling the room with all except for the corner the child fills. The one that smells of fresh cut grass, morning dew and lemon but remains untouched in his destruction.

He sees the final breath slip from your lungs.

Sees red on white.

Sees screams,

colors,

feelings-

sees the world like a hawk watches his pray but he

Just.

Cant.

See.

The.

Child.

You smile. The child in the corner weaves through red strings and plays cat's cradle against his hallowed features.

His chopped lips make for words but all that escapes is the smoke that poisons his lungs. His tight grip pinches half moons into his pale palms.

The music sings louder into his ears until a wave sends him tumbling off his rock.

His panicked eyes paint blue canvases. And through the bubbles, he could have sworn he saw your hand reach for his before his head is back up and someone else is dragging his raw body to the shore.

When Ralph, opens his mouth, it's to scream of clouds and wings and a moment of history that slipped from his fingers.

He curses time and weakness and strife.

The sun beats down harder on his skin and he cries like a newborn babe.

The tides crash down in tandem to his sobs.

In the room, his eyes flit to the child in the corner. Loudly claiming that he was back home before his empty embrace is filled with a thrush of life. The room bleeds white leaving nothing but Ralph and a bright still body.

Outside the window, a bird sings the song of day and night.

His fingers clench against thick string and rope, a schedule peaks out of a small bottle, apologizing for not being able to fly away. He sees poison and feels fire and before the smoke fills the room, he is shot back to the beach.

The sand memorizes his desperate pleas, sketching his shakes into the earth as he drives notes into the Sound like he wished he could have drove life back into you.

Ralph lets out another war torn sob.

Your life. You can barely make out the words. The winds picks up, breezing through his hair like fingers playing in his locks. Is a gift.

The wind performs an epitaph.

An image of stone hangs in the room. Ralph drops flowers, his fingers wrapped in the small hand of the child. They exchange smiles before the room locks away.

Ralph stares into the sun.

Sees seagulls flocking through the blue and lets up another bittersweet sigh.

You feel the tides slower pull you away, knowing that light has finally returned to him once again.

Welcome home, Ralph.

The winds whisper but all he can see is an explosion of color bleeding through smoke.