Sunset Seasons

Raenna L. Matthews

           My little siblings and I stampeded up the white-carpeted stairs to the dining room, books in hand. The morning sun shone brightly, and the warm ocean air blew in through the double doorway of the balcony. My older sister, Alyssa, reached out to tickle my little brother, Micah, as we reached the top of the stairs. He dodged behind me, and I toppled to the floor, laughing uncontrollably as the tickle monster attacked me. Alyssa stopped tickling and we raced through the kitchen door to the pantry. I started to climb the shelves to get to the Strawberry Special K (Papa kept it on the second highest shelf because otherwise it was gone in a matter of hours). Uncle Scott reached up and grabbed the box for me, and I skipped to the table to pour myself a bowl. Once I had my bowl of Strawberry Special K and a glass of orange juice, I delicately skittered to the ladder in the hallway. I balanced the plastic bowl that held my cereal on top of my orange juice and stuffed my paperback copy of “The Fellowship of the Ring” into my sweatshirt pocket. Holding my breakfast in one hand, I used the other to balance as I climbed into the watchtower. I set my breakfast and book on the bench attached to the wall, then took a few minutes to admire the three-hundred-sixty degree view the all-around window in the tower provided. I glanced down at the vacation complex the lighthouse building was in, but I gazed long on the ocean horizon, with the wet sand trailing into dry, scorching, bright sand as it progressed toward the pavement. I stared at the glory of the morning sun reflected off the ocean waters. The blue became progressively darker as the water grew deeper. The waves broke in beautiful bubbles of white and showers of salt-water on the sand and on themselves.

           I turned from this alluring view to my breakfast and book. I lay on the floor with my book in front of me, my cereal next to me, and my orange juice still on the bench. Munching on the sugary flakes and tart dried strawberries, I was absorbed into the story.

           After hours that felt like seconds, the room had grown markedly darker. I stood to take in the evening view and check if my siblings were outside. As I gazed down I saw long shadows cast by my sisters and brothers throwing a disc around on the beach. They laughed with glee and fun each time someone threw too far or didn’t quite jump high enough. The light hair of my sisters and older brother shimmered in the twilight, and I could imagine the twinkle in my little brother’s eyes and his serious expression as he concentrated to catch the disc again. They ran about on the still-warm, but no longer scorching sand for several minutes, before my sisters pranced down towards the soft wet sand and salty ocean waves. They splashed in the shallows as the tide rose. Then Alyssa pointed out to sea.

           Following her finger, I watched as dolphins danced and played in the waves a ways from the beach. The sunset glistened peach, vermilion, and rose on the shining water as the wondrous, curious creatures chattered and flipped in the ocean.

           As the evening became twilight, my siblings were called inside for the night; and as the twilight became night, the dolphins retreated to their ocean home. The stars were made visible and the crescent moon grew bright as the sunlight faded behind the earth.  

black and white


black /blak/


the color of the world on days where it’s too much. the sound of silence when all you want to do is speak, staring too long to try to remember how anything feels. the color of never ending keys on a piano that remind you of his heart. ink splatters on old clothes, the text on forgotten books from times past. the color of his wings when you two flew up to the sun, but he let you fall into the sea. black is color you saw when you looked into his eyes and realized how foolish you were to have ever loved him.

white /(h)wīt/


the color of new beginnings, of scars beginning to heal over. the foam from the waves that crashed upon you over and over again, until they didn’t as much anymore. the color of the keys that made you forget, trying to remedy the broken parts of its player. the pages of the books that you read that made you dream again, hope again. the color of the shirt you wore when you first saw the boy. the innocence you see in little kids, reminding us all of how the world can still be good sometimes. the color you saw when you looked up at the boy that saved you. his hair so light, that sometimes you could’ve sworn you almost saw a halo. white is color of your wings when you realize that you can finally fly again, but this time without the fear of falling into the sea.





Along the Way

Along the way,

you’ll come across a man who needs your help.

There he sits, unkempt, unclean, and unnoticed. He is thin. So thin, that his ribs can be seen through his tattered shirt, and the skin around his bony fingers wilts like a flower in the cold. He will reach those fingers out to you.

Along the way,

you’ll come across a man, slumped against a tree in the dead of winter, no coat around his shoulders and his bare feet buried in the snow for warmth. The tree’s icy bark peels and digs into his back. You may wonder about his family and his friends and his children and where they all could’ve gone. Was this man, now barely clinging to life, once along the way as you are now?

Along the way,

you’ll wonder many things about this man, but even as you wonder, you won’t stop walking. You won’t take the decrepit hand he reaches out to you. You’ll keep going, your boots crunching in the snow. For you’re along the way, and you don’t have time to stop. You’ll trudge right past, barely looking him in the eye.

Along the way,

you might find yourself to tired to walk any further, your boots are long gone, your coat has been lost, and your clothes have been reduced to rags. You’ll slump against a tree in the dead of winter, wondering about your family and your friends and your children and where they all went, and why this person walking by you won’t stop for a second, just a second, to even look you in the eye.

But then, someone else,

Along the way,

may pause for a second, just a second. You’ll reach your hand out to her, the skin around your fingers wilting like a flower in the cold. You reach your hand out to her in need,

and she might take it, because she knows,

you were along the way once, too.

-Joey Schuman