I’ve always liked being on the road. There’s something extremely unsettling about the thought of being stuck in the same, tedious, repetitive routine and I feel a sort of comfort through change. The only thing about being on the road is having too much time alone, drowned in your thoughts. Sometimes you feel so alone that you are left with nothing but the troubling perception of the world around you. 

I strongly associate traveling with my summers in Greece. I can easily recall the buzz of the engine and the slow afternoon warmth enveloping by body.

Every summer, without fail, my family chooses to visit the same place: Halkidiki. We drive in the car in silence, save for the music playing in my earbuds. And upon our arrival to the northern Greek peninsula, I press my face against the car window to admire the never-ending fields of flowers dancing in the soft breeze. The glass fogs up as my eyes struggle to take it all in.

The silky sands, magnificent eucalyptus trees, the turquoise waters, all make me feel free, even inside our vehicle. A smile etches onto my face.

On our last trip, while admiring these beautiful sights, one thing in particular caught my eye: a crystalline beach, shimmering brightly beside an enormous shadowy cave.

For a split second my hyper-fixation on this specific spot sucked me in, pulling me in so deep that I found myself surrounded by the warm waters of the Aegean Sea. The world felt like a kaleidoscope of colors—hundreds of dots blurring my vision.

My mind went blank. A feeling of confusion swept over me, leaving me restless. 

Lying in the shade of a newly-found cave, staring at the never-ending flocks of birds, I felt comforted and safe. All of my worries had vanished and it felt like the hole in my heart had mended itself. The salty air overfilled my senses, making my once hard-to-catch breath alter to a steady breathing pattern. For the first time in a while, I didn’t feel lost. The tranquility around me shifted my mood as I watch the jasmine bushes slowly sway in the wind. Unable to remember anything or anyone, I felt all of my worries succumb and diminish into nothing but a once nostalgic memory. 

Through these moments of peace, a wave of shock passed over me as I spotted a car in the distance. The blurry figure of a person made its appearance in the passenger seat. I’ve been alone for so long that seeing an actual human made me tear up.

A girl.

The sunlight caressed her porcelain-like features. Long hazel-specked curls framed her rounded face. She carefully pressed her face onto the car window, examining the world around her. So clueless and free, vulnerable and unaware. The glass fogged up as she saw me standing by the beach. Her eyes dropped and her head hung. She looked so sad.

She softly gazed back through the window; and for a moment, time stopped. We looked at each other through the thick glass. Then she slightly rolled it down just enough to hear me.

“I can help you,” I whispered to her. “I can get you out of here. I can take you to a place far, far away where nothing means everything and all of your worries can dissolve into a moment in time.”

“I haven’t seen any of your kind in a long time. Help me.”

She maintained eye contact while simultaneously trying to spot the beach behind me. I reached through the glass and pulled her in. She rode with me down steep streets, to places far away. Yet, somehow, we reached the same crystalline beach where we first saw one another.

Where the sand met the cave, we lied together, watching the star-dotted night-sky. Exchanging a few words, cracking a few jokes. The sound of laughter echoed in my ears.

Maybe things weren’t so lonely after all. She was just like me.  

And in that moment, the silky sand beneath my feet started to vibrate—similar to the comforting buzz of a car engine. I felt a hand on my shoulder.

“Alky, come on, get out.” It was my father. He looked at me with a peculiar gaze, almost as if he didn’t recognize me. “We’re going to be late for our check-in.”

This creative writing piece was selected from Mr. Chuck’s 9th grade English class to be featured on our website. The assignment was to write about a true event or experience, while incorporating fictional elements to create a magical realism narrative. We think Alky did this perfectly.