August Writing Challenge: Honorable Mentions — Selena Schwarz and Lois Hilton

These entries from August's challenge were selected as Honorable Mentions. Those who completed  this challenge are now encouraged to share their stories in the comments section of the "August Writing Challenge."
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Selena Schwarz
22
USA

Seasonal Love

They called her Summer because her heart burned with love.

They called him Winter because his icy soul cut anyone who risked a step.

Summer’s golden locks, sun-kissed skin, and bright blue eyes warmed anyone who looked. People migrated her way to capture even just a sliver of light. She inspired growth. Change. Hope.

Winter’s dark hair (often covered by a black beanie) and snowy eyes captivated many, though his cold demeanor turned them away. Anyone who dared skate along the surface of his frozen heart could break through… but only if they were willing to drown.

The two knew each other since childhood and dated three years prior. But as time progressed and identities shifted, they forgot the history that bound them. Timing never aligned. But that didn’t matter; Summer still laughed, danced, and sang love songs with friends while Winter stayed in his car with his friend, windows up, exhaling smoke that never warmed his soul enough.

“Why doesn’t he talk to anyone?” Ivy asked Summer one day as they sat on the steps of the school building. It was mid-August.

“He talks to Greyson,” Summer replied, watching the two.

Winter and Greyson leaned against a car, smoking and talking. Summer thought Winter looked rather stunning in his black hoodie and black beanie. Ivy noticed the way Summer watched him, her blue eyes admiring his unshakable frame.

“Think you could melt his heart?” Raina asked.

“I wouldn’t want to,” Summer replied softly. “His heart is like a snowglobe, contrary to popular belief. Just needs a little shaking, and the flakes will learn to dance again.”

She knew why he turned cold: three years before, Winter’s older brother, Mateo, died in a head-on collision on Christmas Eve. They argued. Mateo swerved. Their car slid. And the blizzard put out the flames.

Winter bottled up guilt until the icy shards etched “blame” onto his heart.

But Summer decided to try once more. Maybe this time, love prevailed.

One evening as Winter slinked to his car, Summer caught up to him. “Wait!” she called. “Where are you going?”

He froze. Summer reminded him of all things fake and blinding, like the headlights that blinded his brother in the White Out. But she also reminded him of a fireplace, warm and comforting, smelling of old books and coffee. He remembered when they rode bikes late at night, built forts on lonely weekends, attempted roller blading and ice skating and failing at both.

“To the mountains,” he said. “I like watching the sunset.”

“Can I come?”

Winter hesitated, but then he said, “Sure.”

Just like always, they’d found each other.

Each day after school, they listened to music and watched sunlight bleed into the clouds. Winter started smiling, laughing, and eventually, the snowglobe within him awoke. Snowflakes swirled and sparkled inside. And one evening when darkness fell, Winter leaned over and kissed his new light, drinking in her warmth. A thousand tiny sparks crackled inside him, and he wondered if those snowflakes had actually been fireflies instead.

Winter and Summer fell in love. He loved the taste of her lips; she loved his fingertips trailing down her body. Summer finally found her snow angel, and Winter found a flame to light more than just his cigarette but his entire soul. Together, they flared.

But people wondered… how could fire and ice not damage the other? Perhaps because neither knew the truth of who they really were.

As seasons changed, holidays passed, and a new year began, old wounds scorched Winter’s skates and doused Summer’s flame. People knew it was only a matter of time before they collapsed. The lovers always forgot, made up, made love… only to remember once their cuts and burns resurfaced with the new year.

Because the accident that killed Winter’s older brother wouldn’t have happened had he left Mateo at home. Had Summer not kissed Winter’s older brother under the mistletoe. Had Winter not asked to be driven home instead of sleep at Summer’s house the remainder of Christmas.

Summer, Winter, and Mateo wouldn’t have argued the whole car ride home, and Mateo wouldn’t have looked away, looked back, seen headlights, and….

That accident stole Summer and Winter’s memories. Both sustained head injuries, and people called them Summer and Winter to cover up the tragedy that tore their worlds apart.

On December 24th, 2018, Sylvia Reed and Warren Ramos survived a head-on collision with permanent brain trauma. Mateo Ramos, 18, died on the scene.

Sylvia and Warren remembered in the Spring. But soon, they’d forget, just as they always did, and would cycle back through loving, remembering, and forgetting. Because Winter and Summer cannot be together. They’d only ever be gifted a brief and tragic seasonal love.

 

 

 

Lois Hilton
16
England

Seasonal Love

When you were here, I loved you.

From the day that I met you — your slanted grin and wide eyes, your defined jaw and soft hair — I loved you, but I didn’t know it. We can only live in denial so long. Every time we spoke, you lit me up like a string of fairy lights. And I felt it was up there with them, hanging down and setting the scene.

The conversations started off small and grew and grew, as we did too. You would always sit and listen intently to me, as if I was the only person in the world. Or the only one you cared about. You concentrated more on my words and sentences than anyone else and genuinely cared about my feelings. You laughed at the funny parts, cried with me at the sorrows. You engaged with me like royalty, and I felt like it too.

I tried to do the same for you, and I hope it worked. I hated being at the centre of all conversations, but you never made that happen. It was always two-way. We could always confide in each other. I told you my secrets, and you told me yours. Not in an obligatory fashion, but because we had a special connection that no one could take. I trusted you.

For once in my life, I had found someone who was as close as a family member and cared for me just as much as one. You were there when I needed you. You were there to hold the rope when I fell from the highest tree. You were there to bring me safe to shore when I went too far out and lost control. You were there when I was broken and when I was healed. You were there holding my hand through the moods, high and low.

Then, one day, it all went. We slowly drifted apart. Your hand loosened on the rope until you no longer held it. All the feelings I had loved and had taken for granted had disappeared. I don’t know how; I don’t know why. But it broke me. I had no one without you; no one to turn to, no one to trust, no one to hug in the hard times. Our season had gone.

I missed you, and I wanted you back. Us back. So, I tried. I messaged you, asking how you were, and tried to talk to you. I tried to keep the relationship going. You were so distant yet so close. I will never understand what was going through your mind or how I ever did.

One day, I just gave up. I knew I was wasting my time, energy, and thoughts on you. But that didn’t stop me from privately being upset with the whole affair. I thought we had something special. I thought we would never leave each other. You once told me, “I will always be there for you. No matter what.”

I guess we all tell some lies some days.

When I lost you, I lost me. When I saw you down the halls, I wondered what you were like, what you did now, if you had changed. I wondered what my life would be like now with you in it. A universe I’ll never be able to see because you didn’t give me the chance. Like all the others.

But I couldn’t stay caught up on you forever. I changed. I grew up. I started doing new things. And that wasn’t because of you; it was because of me. You can’t take credit for this one. I didn’t like the old me, so I invented a new me. The labels I had been given weren’t me anymore, and I created new ones. I gave myself what I deserved. Whether you saw the change or not, it happened. I started a new season of my life without you.

And as school came to a close, and I knew I would never see you again, I didn’t know how to feel about it. I wasn’t sad or happy. It was nice to know I wouldn’t have to see what I could have been with you always glaring at me as the monster you had become, but I knew it meant the end. We never said goodbye — I think we said that long ago.

And that’s when I knew I loved you. I felt pain in my heart and a yearn in my soul for an unsung story. But as seasons come and go, and the weather changes, I know one thing for sure.

I was once happy with you in one. And I was once unhappy because of you in another.

 

Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.

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