Burning Bridges

posted in: Short Stories | 0

My face burns hot as I witness a group of riot police pushing back the protesters near my community college. I see them scream, and cry, begging them for peace and love, but they act as if they cannot hear. I can see their faces under the dark helmets, they are stoic. It is as if a wave of stagnant energy is surging against one full of emotion and anguish. Women fall to their knees and cry out to the other side, but there is an invisible and uncross-able line between the two. I can see people pulling their hair, ripping at their own skin, but the police merely hide behind their big shields of denial and misunderstanding.

I stand unmoving, as I see the police raise their bayonets and guns. The guns are very big, and they are very inhumane. Suddenly however, I feel something inside of me change. My lungs have expanded and my heartbeat has suddenly slowed. I am my own energy of stillness and thought. I feel as if in one breath I could run a marathon. I know now, what I want to do, what I must do.

Picking up the flower crown I had made earlier, I put it on my head, and walk towards the line between riot police and protesters. Along the way, I find I very beautiful daisy. I pick it. It smells sweet, sweet like the eventual peace and love the world will find. Walking with slow, calculated steps, I go to the middle of the line, to the biggest rifle, with the sharpest bayonet. I stop.

With a sad smile, I begin to place the flower into the end of the gun. I can see tears begin to well up in the police man’s eyes. I can see all the pain, all the sadness, all the hate, I well up with it. I want to punch something. I want to turn around to the protesters and cry with them, and feel with them. I want to join the line of police, and hide my empathy. I want to feel so alive and sad to what is happening to my fellow humans, and yet I want to hide in ignorance.

I reach out with my flower, and begin to place it in the end of the gun. I am filled with hope that this may spark a connection between the two groups, maybe create a bridge of understanding.

Then suddenly, I feel nothing.

by Alice Crown, 16, Seoul American High School, South Korea

Burning Bridges

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