You Can Reach the Horizon

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January/February 2013

Lucy Lu

The bam of the gun and the final wail of his mother—his entire world had fallen apart. The frail windows nearly shattered from the heat of his burning tears streaming down his face, loosening the tight grip of the dust and sand that clotted his eyelashes. The young boy ran through the torn but precious shelter that for years had guarded them from any danger. But now, as he wove through the collapsed door that once stood proud and protective, the young boy realized how alone he was when he faced the vast, open, and finally silent battlefield.

Immediately he shielded his eyes from the brightness. But how could that be true if there were no sun in the sky? The young boy realized that it was not the brightness from the beautiful sun, but the glaring gray fog that towered over all of the young boy’s hopes and dreams. Now, the young boy did not want to thrust himself onto the forlorn and desperate battlefield, so he stood on the steps of his home, trying to find his father. Several years ago, when the boy was just a baby, his father had left for war, promising to return and bring wealth to take care of his family. Just before his father disappeared into the cold that lay outside of the warm home, he looked deeply into his father’s eyes—blue and promising. A resolute color he would never forget. Nowhere else in the world that color could be found—neither could the meaning that it held. But then the boy remembered what his mother once lovingly said. “There are only two pairs of eyes that are each other’s reflection—two blues blending perfectly together. Now that is a true bond.” The young boy relived his overflowing hope at that moment, years before, and wished he could have that same amount of hope now. As he searched, the tall weeds rustled and slithered over the expressionless faces from the people of his neighborhood, whose once friendly and hopeful voices rang too clear in his mind.

You Can Reach the Horizon man in the battlefield

For that one moment, he suddenly felt all the complex twists and turns of life

For that one moment, he suddenly felt all the complex twists and turns of life; all the hardships and successes; enduring or achieving, life is a tangled maze of dreams, hopes, and experiences. The young boy came up with this sophisticated thought when he was standing on the doorstep of home, in fact the only one standing, because all others had fallen down. Every part of the young boy’s body ached, his eyes were sore, his throat was tight, his stomach was starving for food, but his legs especially ached, not only because of standing but also because it hurt to be the only one still there when all others had given up on their feet, and in their hearts, too. It hurt because there was no purpose to still be living. It hurt to be alone.

The boy wanted desperately for someone to comfort him, for someone to erase his memories of all the times of war. He wanted to fly away to a new land, a new life. But who would he be if he ran away? A coward. A traitor. Someone who never cared about his family. Someone who would dump all the difficulties into the hands of someone they love. The young boy had to stay in the places of hardship. He knew he could not flee. He knew he needed to conquer his troubles. So the young but brave boy stayed.

Every day, the young boy gave each collapsed body a flower. He roamed the fields, giving time and appreciation to every soldier. The land was vast and forsaken. It seemed to go on forever. The young boy walked through places where the grass was cut sharp, and places where the cold sliced his skin like knives. He could never reach the horizon, no matter how he tried. The boy walked on, still, the wind slashing at his face, his body becoming numb until his eyes were the only things alive. His blue, but now gray, eyes, reflecting his dirt-filled tears and the infinite sky.

Many suns had set before the young boy came to a river. It was a wide one, with ragged waves that reflected its touch-me-not appearance. The young boy dipped his finger into a biting ripple. The water was as cold as his frozen heart, not that he was unforgiving, but that his heart was lost of love. However, he was still alive because his heart urged him to find love. And that’s why he battled across the river. He dove head first into the steel-cold water because the last bit of life in his heart told him that he could not survive without love.

The young boy burst out on the other side of the river, his only pair of clothing soaked, and barely able to see. He lumbered up the rocky banks and collapsed on the dry grass. The young boy closed his eyes, thinking about when his journey would end. In a few hours? Maybe he would die from the cold, or the hunger, or the loneliness. Who knows? Suddenly a warm hand laid itself on the young boy’s shoulder. The boy jerked. He hadn’t felt anything warm in a long time. He cautiously turned up his head. Firmness held the young boy’s eyes instantly. Reassurance and calmness swept through his wandering mind. For this one moment, two pairs of eyes were tied in a bond of understanding, gratefulness, and love. Memories from when his father left hovered clear and real. Only, that was when his father left, this was different. It was a finding. It was a color and reflection that defined the boy’s journey. It was so deep, it seemed like the trail was infinite. And his smile was deep, too—one as wide as the horizon—one as true as the color of blue.

You Can Reach the Horizon Lucy Lu

Lucy Lu, 12
Newton, Massachusetts

You Can Reach the Horizon Kian Kafaie

Kian Kafaie, 11
San Francisco, California

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