The Downfall of The Hopeless Romantic
By Kailee Ortiz
When a hopeless romantic gets into a plane crash, how will her experience with love plague her possible final thoughts?
I know I am dying. Clear waves of aquamarine are crashing down on me as the sun begins to collide with the ocean. A ringing noise envelops my surroundings as I faintly hear the plane begin to combust, parts falling swiftly across the beach, just barely crushing me. Waves have crashed and the sun has collided with the ocean, darkness shortly following. I drag my knees across the burning sand, the skin on my knees slowly peeling off my body as if it must run away from me. There is no longer feeling in my feet. All I can do is continue to drag my shattered legs away from the plane. My vocal chords rip and tear as a bloodcurdling scream hurls out of my throat, not letting any air enter. Tears streaming down my face, I shout and scream for my mom’s help, ignoring her limp body sunken at shore. I wish for my thoughts to be silent, but the panic has overtaken every one of my senses. It feels like the words I wish for are overflowing within my mind and spilling out of my ears along with a taunting ringing. I roll onto my back, finally making it far enough away from the plane to hear the crickets chirp and the waves crashing down, wailing at the dead she must consume. I try to even my breath as the burning begins to spread from my feet up. I avoid looking down as the blood pooling around my feet continues to make me hyperventilate. I watch the sky darken as I begin to wonder if anyone else made it far enough to see the stars shelter over us, even one last time. I wonder if my mom was able to get up from the sand, if she is looking for me now. If she loses me I’m sure it will break her world for a little bit, but I’m sure she will be able to find someone to fill the hole I somewhat left her. I’m really sorry, mom, for not telling you when I struggled with school, for failing one of my classes, for being mean to you. I wish I could kiss you one last time goodbye. I wish I knew what the taste of a boy’s lips were like. I’m sure it would be as crummy as this very moment. I never had that fairytale romance that swept me off my feet like the Disney princesses I grew up on. I don’t have many stand-up qualities that make me special, other than my passion for love, so without finding it, was my life really all that special? I mean, what else am I good for other than loving? My mom is gone. I will never feel the warmth of her hugs or the sweetness of her praise. Or the taste of her mushy rice and roasted chicken. I made it a point to never get too close to friends, to avoid standing out within my friend groups, so if I ever lost them, it would be like nothing even happened. I’m sure my death will carry out in the same way. Like the waves touch against the coast, the wave eventually draws back. And just as the sand dries, it will be as if I was never there. The love I was so ready to give will go unheard, untouched, an heirloom no one will pass down or receive. Was all this for nothing? All my life I’ve lived within a false reality where I daydreamed of the different beings who I could possibly cherish my life with, who could fill out the fantasy I always desired, yet the bitter loneliness aches me to my core as I lay on this beach without the selfishness to even have a thought for myself in these final moments. Being a hopeless romantic is absolutely nauseating. I swear, if I ever survive this hell, the first person I fall in love with will die by my hand.
Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology
For more than two years, our young writers have weathered an adolescence shaped by an ongoing global pandemic. But a harsh climate can also produce work of rare depth, complexity, nuance and humor. The Girls Write Now mentees in this collection have found new ways to build community and take root. This anthology is a catalog of seeds—each young writer cultivating a shimmering, emergent voice. In short stories, personal essays, poetry, and more, they reflect on life-altering topics like heartbreak, self-care and friendship. The result is a stunning book with global relevance of all this generation has endured and transformed.
I first began writing how I felt in the moment, the beauty surrounding me as I wrote while on vacation. I wrote about my happiness being single for once and how, on a daily basis, love is always on my mind. Focusing on myself and my independence have been big goals of mine for some time and finally having this inner happiness within me is truly amazing. However, I wondered, what would someone from the past with a similar mindset to mine be thinking about at the brink of death. There is so much I want to experience in love and in life and I wanted to encapsulate those feelings of loneliness and insecurity while enduring an absolutely terrifying situation. So I began to write the scene of this terrible plane accident while incorporating some of what I might’ve been feeling, with a bit of a twist.
Kailee Ortiz is a young Latina from Brooklyn, currently in her junior year of art high school, where she explores not only her love for music and singing but for poetry and short story writing. She hopes to become more proficient in Spanish so she can better communicate and experience traveling abroad in the near future.