Lost Time | Teen Ink

Lost Time

June 27, 2018
By desafinada GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
desafinada GOLD, Chicago, Illinois
12 articles 1 photo 0 comments

Olive plunges her pinky finger into the Mod Podge for the fifth time. It’s another desultory Friday night alone.

It’s the matte kind.

I wanted the satin where it dries all sparkling and glossy but the Paper Source stopped stocking it 3 months ago.

I don’t mind being alone.

In fact, I anticipate it so much that Mom gave me a quizzical look and asked if I was having people over because I appeared so eager for her to leave.

I only play music out loud and eat ramen noodles when she’s gone. Occasionally the Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream if Josie hasn’t eaten it already. Maybe a philosophical revelation or two.

It really depends.

And then she peels it off. White crumbly flakes flutter aimlessly to the floor.

They look like dandruff.

Or snow.

Usually, I have better things to do with a perfectly good Friday night.

She watches a candle splutter out flames and some sort of artificial fruity smell bordering on mango and strawberry.

Sometimes I lose track of time and draw faces with the burnt ends of the matches.

People ask me who I draw. Truth is, I’m not very sure. They’re kind of really everyone. Sometimes they’re better versions of myself. Most of the time, they’re not very good.  

Drawing the nose is my favourite part. Eyes are difficult.

An assortment of school papers litter the floor. Her mind slips back to fourth period chemistry.

Justin insisted that I was wrong.

“But what is wrong? What does that even mean?”  

He only rolled his eyes at the philosophical nature of my question.

“It’s supposed to be 32 grams. Oxygen is diatomic,”

I bit my tongue along with the foul, discordant words I only had to bristle and bubble over him.

But I was really only angry at myself.

Iris made me two paper cranes while studying me intently through her rimmed glasses.

And a little boat. I placed them on my notebook; the folds of paper a balanced delicacy. They faced each other, but they were too close because their small beaks were almost touching.

Iris gave me another crane.

“Look at Olive being so studious,”

I darted a piercing glare at him, though knowing very well that I should have been calculating the molar mass of acetate.

She checks the time, but it’s not there. Olive’s watch is missing.  She rolls her eyes and kicks an empty can of off-brand grapefruit sparkling water across the room.

Sometimes I wonder that if my day went backwards if I’d still be bored. What if time went backwards? You’d start out as some sort of withered, puckered prune and get smaller and smaller until you were just a twinkle in someone’s eyes and then.


What does it feel like to be nothing?

She clenches her jaw. Grinds her teeth. Pacing and trying to remember where she misplaced it.

Sometimes I clench my jaw so tightly that my embouchure is too stiff to play baritone saxophone.

No wonder it sounds like a dying goose most of the time.

I like to rest it across my lap but then sometimes end up slamming it into Zach’s right knee or the neck of his P. Mauriat model PMXT-66R tenor saxophone. Usually, this encounter results in a half mumbled “sorry” through gritted teeth from the both of us.

But I use the school bari sax so it doesn’t really make sense why he’s apologising.

Sometimes we make some sort of small talk.

Other times we joke about James’s lawless disposition and the impressions he does of Miss Piggy and Scooby Doo. And then Svejda gets pissed and shows James 2 fingers, aggressively implying that he’s got one strike until an all-inclusive, one-way ticket to Symphonic Band.

He tells me about that time he went ice skating and got a concussion five years ago.

I tell him it’s foolish not to try again.

But I can’t tell if I’m lying because I don’t want to imagine what would happen if he did.

He wrings his hands like that one damp paper towel I had to use to clean up some cherry 7 Up that Seth spilled because he was too engrossed in talking to Roz about one of his 12 pairs of crocs.

The yellow ones.

With the green band.

She finds that one Rolling Stone special edition Beatles magazine that she bought in 7th grade at the Whole Foods for $12.99. The book has that one picture of them in 1965 on the cover. The contents contain an extensive song by song guide with the occasional never-before-seen picture lacing them together. She knows that the book is by far the best one she owns on her vast collection of Beatles memorabilia.

There was one time over the summer when Uncle Andrew gave these Paul McCartney tickets to Dad and I even though it had been a year and six months since I could recite the entire Beatles catalog in order. I still knew all the words and could tell by that first C minor chord that they were going to be playing “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”.

And then the radio broke and my phone was dead so we sang the Abbey Road medley (all of the guitar solos on “The End”) and Steely Dan songs on the two-hour ride home. And I didn’t care that my singing voice was a tiny bit out of tune and raspy. I didn’t care that I couldn’t hit the high pitched, rapid fire thirty second notes during the 3-minute keyboard solo on “Your Gold Teeth”. It was just Dad and I. The only living people in the world.

And for the first time in five years, I realised that I felt normal around him.

Just Olive.

Or maybe I was Liv because that’s what he calls me.

She wanders through the halls, to the bathroom. Sometimes she finds that she’s left it there.

Sometimes I sift through time. Like I’m waiting for something to happen. It feels like life isn’t really about what’s now, but what’s going to occur. And then in those empty minutes and lingering weeks, we try to jostle some sort of vacant idea that we’re accomplishing at least something.

Sometimes words slip their way out, I find I’ve accidentally planted the seeds of a poem that springs from my lips.

Like that too hot, syrupy, spring day when I told Seth I loved him and he told me that I was his best friend.

And I said,

“You know those songs that you’re only hearing for the first time but it feels like you’ve known for forever because you know where the melody and chord progression are gonna go?”

And he said, “Yeah,”

But he was unmistakably confused as to where I was going with this, being kind of emotionally stupid with this sort of deep talk.

“Well, those are the best kind of songs. They’re intuitive and lovely and you can just sing along to them and forget worrying for a bit. You’re that song. In a person. The best one; I feel like I’ve known you my entire life.”

And when he smiled, he glittered with the luminescence and brilliance of all of the stars in the universe. But not just the known universe, those unfrequented, chilled ninety billion light years. But the entire one, the one we don’t even know exists yet. All of him that I didn’t know yet. All of the things that I could have loved about him but didn’t yet know that I couldn’t.

And maybe we’re all just lost in the expanses of own little universes, each star somebody else that we’ll flicker by for just a hollow heartbeat. Some light faltering to reach us as we glide through the milky velvet of the four-dimensional entity of space and time. We could dream endlessly into the inky depths of oblivion and past the fringe of certainty.

And be ok that we’re not all too sure where we’re supposed to be going.

Sometimes there doesn’t need to be a reason why.

But we’re all traveling at the speed of light so we’re immortal. And probably for the most of us it’s not the face that will be remembered; not the hiccup in a laugh or the fragrant lilt in a voice. But it’s the morals and values and thoughts.

The idea of a person.

We live on in other places. Other people.

You were only a temporary home to a set of things that were never yours to begin with.

She traipses back to her room. There’s a small tube of Lemon Yellow paint resting on the floor.

It’s the one I used to paint the blazing sun and clusters of lustrous, shimmering stars on my alto saxophone case.

And I know it all too well.

It’s pungent and buttery and reeks of something like homesickness and nostalgia for someplace I’ve never been.

And I have the sudden urge to smear it all over my face, to go home, wherever it is. Wherever I’m supposed to be. Whoever I’m supposed to be.

I’m not too sure.

Maybe I’m the only one.

And then she sees it: the watch is resting on the nightstand beside 5 mugs of ancient green tea with shriveled up leaves encrusting the bottoms of each.

Or maybe we’re all just the same.

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This article has 24 comments.

Reon said...
on Feb. 15 2022 at 5:40 am
Reon, Hamilton, Waikato, Other
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
This was amazing. Loved reading every single bit of this masterpiece.

on Dec. 6 2021 at 4:11 pm
JustAnotherGirlCalledRed BRONZE, New York City, Ohio
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
this is amazing! I’m honestly stunned by how good your writing is.

on Jan. 21 2021 at 8:54 pm
to-do-or-not-to-do BRONZE, Bethesda, Maryland
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
knock knock!
-who´s there?
-boo who?
don´t cry! it´s just a silly knock-knock joke ;)
(I know, I´m hilarious)

loved the smaller details, fleshing out the world, the balance between the two story-lines, past and present, and the open ending! ;)

on Dec. 6 2020 at 9:00 pm
SparrowSun ELITE, X, Vermont
200 articles 23 photos 1053 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It Will Be Good." (complicated semi-spiritual emotional story.)

"Upon his bench the pieces lay
As if an artwork on display
Of gears and hands
And wire-thin bands
That glisten in dim candle play." -Janice T., Clockwork[love that poem, dont know why, im not steampunk]

didnt make any sense... can someone explain it because the format is foriegn.

NoNamewriter said...
on Sep. 21 2020 at 1:16 am
NoNamewriter, San Antonio, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is an amazing story! Just wow!

on Apr. 30 2020 at 11:09 am
read4ever BRONZE, Newfields, New Hampshire
1 article 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
" It is my belief that there are two people in the world: Those who look at clouds and see shapes, and those who look at clouds and see clouds."

wow i love it!

kathleen077 said...
on Jan. 29 2020 at 12:08 pm
kathleen077, Omro, Wisconsin
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
'A smart woman knows her limits, a wise one knows she has none.' -Amelia Earhart

love the beatles!!

on Dec. 16 2019 at 10:34 am
Jejsndhjejenejd, China, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments

on Dec. 16 2019 at 10:06 am
Jejsndhjejenejd, China, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments
Oof bad u bad

on Sep. 20 2019 at 10:37 am
Jejsndhjejenejd, China, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 8 comments
This sucks so bad I can’t believe all the wasted time you put in this garbage

on Mar. 28 2019 at 12:23 pm
MarissaPham BRONZE, Grandville, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
This piece is written very beautifully. Nice job!!

on Feb. 13 2019 at 11:27 am
Kittensdamittens SILVER, York, Pennsylvania
8 articles 7 photos 13 comments
I almost forgot this wasn’t made by an official author

MIK1 said...
on Jan. 21 2019 at 2:15 am
MIK1, Newtown, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Hesitation is the death of advantage.” Lila Bard- A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab

"I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still." Lila Bard- A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab

if you could look at my stuff and give me feedback that would be really cool and i would really appreciate it!

MIK1 said...
on Jan. 21 2019 at 2:12 am
MIK1, Newtown, Pennsylvania
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Hesitation is the death of advantage.” Lila Bard- A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab

"I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still." Lila Bard- A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab

um... wow. that was so incredibly deep and amazingly written. I felt like I was reading Nicola Yoon. Please write a whole book. I NEED it, like yesterday

on Nov. 28 2018 at 11:58 am
Dani_Higareda PLATINUM, Hanahan, South Carolina
20 articles 0 photos 109 comments

Favorite Quote:
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”
- Winnie the Pooh

Wow! Very beautiful and original:)

huntress786 said...
on Sep. 5 2018 at 7:47 pm
huntress786, Auckland, Other
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is a wonderful piece. Which makes you want to read it again and again

on Aug. 20 2018 at 11:44 pm
kelseychoe BRONZE, Valencia, California
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This piece is so beautifully written! The descriptions really bring it together~

on Aug. 16 2018 at 5:51 pm
KingsWit BRONZE, Janesville, Wisconsin
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
-CS Lewis

This beautiful, honestly. I'm not sure if there's any kind of plot, but I don't really care because it's got this random, nostalgic quality that really brings it to life. Amazing work, I'd love to read more.

amberrome said...
on Jul. 29 2018 at 10:13 pm
amberrome, Seattle, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I really like the pacing and especially the last part, keep up the good work!

yeuocarls said...
on Jul. 24 2018 at 5:30 pm
yeuocarls, Gibbon, Alaska
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
this is really good