A diminished reflection on first love from an old age. This short story was written under timed exam conditions.

Essay by the_beer_barronJunior High, 9th grade October 2004

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My sweethart

2375, that was her number, her diminishing identity. Her eyes lay barren unable to comprehend her surroundings. The hospital was hot and stuffy from the midday heat. The windowless wards were quiet, except for Mrs Rogers sticky breathing and the buzzing drone of Mr Finn's life support next door. Everything in this wing had fallen silent in the sickly claws of time.

It wasn't a pleasant sleep they slept. It was full of fears for the past and worries about what was to come next. Nothing here could ever be lucid. All their thoughts are mixed and muddled. Their minds have become jigsaw puzzles, unfitting with missing pieces. But in every person there is always a hidden memory left untouched. The memory of first love.

They first time they met was amongst the ruins of Corfe castle. They were on an outing with a youth camp. He sat against the crumbling stone wall of the remains, obscured from sight by the long grass.

There was a tiny gap through which he could see one the other kids playing. Harriet was fighting with the boys, as they teased her about her short hair and her over sized clothes which, were actually hand-me-downs from her older brother.

Thomas stayed watching from the security of the brush. One of the smaller boys in the pack scraped some mud off the ground and flung it towards Harriet. It missed her and hit Tony. At Tony's signal everyone came running towards the small child and pushed him down, landing on top of him kicking and screaming. Harriet crawled out of the mass of human bodies gasping for breath after being elbowed in the ribs, and slowly started to wonder up the hill.

As she approached, Thomas could see that her face was red...