Georgia Eason, Grade 9
Blinding white lights fade into an illuminative glow, surrounding me nostalgically as I stand, stock still, in a frozen moment of animism. I am surrounded by white; no walls and no ceiling, just an annoyingly infinite wormhole of colourless white. I feel as though I am going insane, my eyes looking but not seeing anything and my ears listening but only hearing a deathly silence. I open my mouth to speak, but no words come out – I am too swept up in disbelief.
All of a sudden, searing pain shoots through my head and I double over in shock and pain, eyes squeezed tightly shut. It is nothing like I’ve ever felt before; my brain feels as though it is about to combust into a thousand tiny particles all at once.
And then, the pain disappears.
My blue eyes are wide with confusion as I find myself in the familiar space of my bedroom, surrounded by posters and photos of me and my best friends on our final day of school – moments before we were separated and found different journeys all across the globe. It’s strange, I could have sworn that I took that picture down months ago, yet here it is hung up on my wall as though it has never been moved.
In fact, the more I look around, the more I notice is missing. The Polaroid-picture wall I had dedicated hours into has mysteriously disappeared from the left-hand side of my cupboard, along with it all of my memories of Ava, Joe and Celia – the only friends I made during the two-year period in London where I had lived with my disgustingly sleep-deprived roommate (whom I never saw before three in the afternoon).
The realisation that hits me the hardest, though, comes from the missing frame that used to be hanging above my doorframe. It had been taken on the most picturesque day in all history, with swollen green grass underfoot, a piercing blue sky overhead and the one person who had changed my life forever holding me by their side.
The thought makes my heart shatter and a clogging, overwhelming inability to breathe overtakes me.
I run around my room, throwing various objects carelessly behind me in the dauntingly helpless attempt to find any remnant of the boy who saw the real me: the real Winter Stevens. The blinding pain is hitting my head again, but I ignore it falteringly as I find what I’ve been looking for – my phone. Scrolling through the contacts, I find Abby, Ben, Ellie… but no Eddie. Desperation overtakes me and I throw my phone against the wall, grabbing my head as the pain reaches an incomprehensible level and I find myself watching the glowing white light approaching luringly, finding it hard to ignore.
Just when it becomes too much, the pain vanishes and my vision comes into focus; and I almost smile when I see a familiar mop of curly hair rushing towards me madly, shouting at me through a waterfall of tears.
And only one name comes to my mind.