Spotlight on Writers: South Pasadena Middle School Writing Club

This is the first of a series called Spotlight on Writers. The idea is to talk to writers and writing groups around the world so that we can learn from, and be inspired by, each other. The mission of the Green-Walled Treehouse is to create a global community of young writers, and this is one step towards that goal.

This week we are highlighting the writing club at South Pasadena Middle School in California, United States. It features a story by Sonia S, the president of the club.

Question and Answer

1. Is there anything that makes your group unique?

I would guess that if there was anything that made us unique, it would be the fact that we’re actually pretty close! We’re all basically strangers, but we all kicked it off really well through writing and we love to do it together.

2. What advice would you give students who are looking to start their own writing club?

I think that if I had to give any advice, it would probably be to just start looking for your people! It might be a little hard to start in the beginning, but the more you publicize and spread the word, the more members you get and the more fun and successful it is.

3. What type of things do your members usually write?

We usually write things that feature heavy action, as well as fantasy and science fiction!

4. What advice do you have for other people your age who want to start writing?

Just push through it. The hardest thing to do is start, but the more you do it, the better you get.

5. What do you think is the best part of writing?

I think the best part of writing is when you finish it and read it back, and you’ve created this person and this world from your mind. I just find it completely fascinating. 

6. What is the hardest part of writing?

I think the hardest part of writing is actually starting the piece. Once you know where you want to go with it, it passes quickly.

And now a story from the club.

Please Come Back (To Me)

By Sonia S

this was a life that had hardly begun

no time to find your place in the sun

no time to do all you could have done

but we loved you enough for a lifetime

author unknown

May 27th, 2017

Final Peace Funeral Home

The funeral was nothing special. 

It was bleak and dark and the exact opposite of what Elijah had been like in life, but Evangeline held her tongue, bunching shaking fists into the folds of her black dress and swallowing back the angry words that buzzed in her throat. 

She didn’t pay attention to most of the funeral. Elijah was gone, really, really gone, and Evangeline was barely keeping it together. The lacy veil strung over her face would have made Elijah laugh, but Evangeline welcomed the way it obscured her features. 

Evangeline refused to show a weakness here. 

When the time came for her to speak, Evangeline didn’t make eye-contact with the crowd, smoothing her palms against the crumpled notebook paper propped up on the stand and stumbling through her speech. 

She said a few hollow words that seemed empty to even her own ears, vague descriptions of her love for Elijah. Her love for Elijah could not be encapsulated into a few sentences, so she didn’t try. Maybe she’d grieve alone when she returned home, but her tears would not overcome her at the Final Peace. 

When she finished talking, her hands were shaking. The wedding ring that Elijah had given her so many years ago felt constricting around her fingers, the silver band a constant reminder of Elijah’s absence. 

She’s never going to see the love of her life, her everything, her Elijah, ever again. Evangeline had been put on this Earth to find Elijah, she was sure, but she supposed that drunk drivers and pouring rain didn’t listen to Fate. 

She could feel the emotion beginning to overflow, so she ducked quickly into the back room of the Funeral House, pushing her back against the wall and scrubbing her hands against her eyes. 

And then a voice pierced the darkness, and Evangeline’s entire world tilted on its axis. 

“…Eva?”

What? Was that… Elijah? No, it was his voice, but it couldn’t possibly be. Who—

Elijah is dead. 

“What the hell are you doing? Who are you? My husband is dead, and this is just sick.” Her voice was unsteady and she stumbled to push back the veil from her face. 

“God, Eva, is that you?”

“Don’t call me that. Only he’s allowed to call me that. I swear to the lord, I will hang you for this, come out right now.”

“No, baby, it’s me. I—I didn’t think I’d ever see you again. How are you here?”

“This isn’t funny, you psycho, I—”

“Palm Beach. ‘07. You were scared of the water, and it was so cute, but you made me promise never to tell anyone.”

“…How do you know that?”

“When your mother died, you didn’t shed a single tear. You said that the world needn’t cry for a monster, someone who hurt children, but when you thought I was sleeping I could hear you crying, and it broke my heart to just lay there, but I knew that you wouldn’t want me to move.”

“Stop playing with me.”

“The night we got married. You told me you loved me, and said you wanted to start a family together when we were ready. God, Eva, I wanted to so badly. And you were so scared that you would be like your mom, but you could never be.”

The words flowed over her like water, and Evangeline gave a shuddering breath as something inside her clicked. 

“Oh my God, Elijah. How are you here? I watched you die in the ICU. They said you had passed.”

“I don’t…know. I remember the car crash, the hospital, and then I was here. With you.”

“I can’t see you.”

“Hm. I’m right in front of you, actually.”

Evangeline gave a desperate gasp and passed her hand through the air in front of her, and Elijah’s voice gave a dry chuckle.

“That went right through my stomach.”

A ghostly shiver passed through her left hand, and she whirled in that direction, grabbing blindly at the air for Elijah. Tears of frustration welled in her eyes, and she felt herself droop. 

“You left me.”

“I, love, I’m so sorry. You had to know I never meant to-”

“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said it. That wasn’t your fault. They have the, uh, person who hit you in custody. The onsite Blood Alcohol Test for them came back with a .22.”

“Jesus.”

“Yeah.”

“Listen, I don’t know what happened to get me here. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here, so let me just say some things really quick.”

“Elijah—”

“Take care of our Goldfish, okay? He’s an annoying little bugger, but I still sort of like him. And, uh, maybe clear my search history before my mom goes through my computer. She’ll do it, too. Just, like delete anything that looks even remotely sketchy-”

Evangeline laughed, and she could feel Elijah smile. 

“There it is. Your laugh was always so beautiful, Eva. I’m serious, though. Look after yourself, okay? I love you.”

“I love you too, Elijah.”

“Maybe I’ll see you in another life, huh?”

She nodded and squeezed her eyes shut. When she opened them again, she knew he was gone. 

Evangeline let herself cry.

Elijah died at 2:52 AM, when he had skidded off the bridge into the water, losing his life upon impact. His vision had gone black, and when he had awoken he was staring straight at the woman he loved. 

He was almost confident he had died, and had felt a horrible kind of hope welling up in him at the sight of his wife. 

But his arms had gone right through her, and she didn’t even seem to recognize his presence until he had stuttered out her name. The wisp of maybe that had grown in him extinguished. 

He made a few stupid jokes, told her he loved her, and then he faded away. 

It had felt—weird. Tingly and floaty as if he was lifting off his feet and flying, leaving behind Evangeline, the one thing he never thought he’d do. 

He didn’t like it. At all.

Elijah Grant had lost his life at 24.

Evangeline Grant had her heart broken, but she would pick up the pieces.

And Elijah would watch over her as he always had. 

(And maybe they would meet in another life one day.)

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