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TOP TEN WINNERS

Emily Daza
Grade 9
Laurel Springs School, CA

The Bicycle Blackened clouds concealed every possible inch of sunlight beyond the harrowing masses of fog. Laments were carried on the wind eastward of the chapel. A procession ambled through the streets as the church bells symbolized the final departure of the deceased. Throughout the congregation, disguises portrayed a willingness to continue advancing forward in life. However, they were merely alternative traces of agony. The entombed automobile transported devastated souls enshrouded by the silence of the evening toward the beige house. With a slight upward tilt of the head, the resplendent redwood became detectable. The comforting scent of cedar permeated my spirit and a vortex of memories swarmed my pulsating head. A bicycle, midnight blue and white around the rim, appeared under the familiar red barked tree. A man, compact related to height, but magnificently sturdy compared to the surrounding world suddenly materialized. Instantaneously, my body leaned toward the four wheeled bicycle as my trusting heart grasped for the safety provided by the man. I sensed his firm hand on my shoulder, callused from the hard work, difficulties, and struggles of life, yet creased by considerable love, compassion, and kindness. His other palm clasped a screwdriver, one that represented new beginnings. The man crouched near the cement and removed the two additional rings of rubber, the training wheels. "Do you promise to never let go?" I asked this question more as a command. "I promise." The wheels slowly lurched forward. Steering straight with confidence, I rode my bike past the redwood. Each revolution of the pedal was reassured by the hand placed on the seat. However, imperceptibly, the hand had withdrawn after five minutes. Surrendering the midnight blue bicycle and leaving the funeral car, I realized that as my grandfather once let go of me, I must now let go of him.

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