Sometimes the Search for the Right Words Can Take Too Long

Grade 10, Thetford
Monday, June 05, 2017

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages Vermont and New Hampshire students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences and on websites, including youngwritersproject.org, vtdigger.org, vpr.net and medium.com. Young Writers Project also publishes a digital magazine, The Voice. YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing.

This Week: Unsaid. Write about something that should have been said, but never was (real or imagined).


“Bye! I’ll see you this afternoon!” He turned from the doorway, backpack on, lunch box in hand. “You’ll pick me up at 5, right? After your practice?”

“Mmm,” I answered, distracted by the ringing phone. “Okay.”

Private caller, I thought. I don’t need to pick that up.

He headed out the door, and shut it behind him. Something had been bothering me about him. He was fine — but something was off.

Shoot, I thought as I turned from the door, his fly’s down.

It shouldn’t have been a big deal — someone would tell him eventually — but man, third-graders can be ruthless. I’ve seen those kids turn on each other for much more trivial matters. I can’t just go out there now and tell him; that could be humiliating — having your older sister walk out and start talking to you in front of all your friends? I guess it would be worse if your mom did it. Mom would do it though. Ugh, what day is she getting back?

Okay, okay, I thought, pros and cons of letting him find out for himself. Pros: 1. I don’t have to tell him; 2. He doesn’t have to know that I knew; 3. I won’t embarrass him in front of his friends. Cons: 1. He finds out at school in front of people who he cares more about impressing than his bus stop friends; 2. They make his life hell for it; 3. He hates me for not telling him; 4. He has no one else to blame for embarrassing him.

I sighed. A third-grader needs someone to blame. Usually it’s Mom, but today, it looks like it’s me. You’re welcome, little brother. I walked out the door, certain of my decision, just in time to see the school bus pull away from our corner and head toward the elementary school. Damn.

Monday: 1. Sister: 0


You have been the best girl. I think of you constantly. At 10:30 on Tuesday night, I lay on the living room floor with the lights turned off, humming music until my voice broke up into small sobs. I was replaying that morning in my head.

9:34 a.m. sitting on the top step, tucking my leggings into my socks

9:36 a.m. slowly walking down the stairs

9:37 a.m. waiting with you, talking to you, running my hand up and down your side

10:17 a.m. two veterinarians coming into our home

10:18 a.m. you, wagging your tail and trying to get off of your bed. You, not succeeding.

10:24 a.m. a green plastic syringe with blue liquid in it

10:25 a.m. two handfuls of treats

10:28 a.m. your twinkling eyes staring up at me. You, devouring your treats. You, putting your head down between my legs to reach a treat that you had dropped. And you, never lifting your head again.

If I had known you were going to go so quickly, I would've given you so many more pieces of bacon. I would've taken you on a walk every day. I would've told you that you were a "good girl" a thousand more times. I would've done everything differently.

The Unsaid Unstory

The role of the common bystander:

to not speak up against the bully’s slander.

The moral obligation is to speak out,

to know what is right, and share it throughout.

Silence leads to a lack of acknowledgment,

getting to speak, and giving a compliment.

The potential of words to make the world better,

to make things good, be a trendsetter.

What is unsaid is an opportunity forgotten.

It is long overdue and the chance has gone rotten.

Like Langston Hughes’ poem, it is a dream deferred.

In the end communication is the method most preferred.

A person doesn’t thank the one who held open the door.

A person doesn’t help one up when pushed down to the floor.

A person doesn’t support the one who is feeling down.

A person doesn’t speak and leaves the other with a frown.

These people are not being bad, but yet they are at fault.

They had the chance to make happiness, but put it to a halt.

The quote says if not me, who, and if not now, when?

Make it clear for happiness to be spread again.

Tell someone you love them and tell how much you care.

Confront someone to make a change when they are being unfair.

It doesn’t take much more than the lungs and vocal cords.

People who can share what’s right are the ones who win awards.