Third Place

Hadley Christman

Grade 12

Haddonfield Memorial High School

Teacher: Ms. Julia Smart


The Journey of You and Me


good morning, says the sky, and I say hello

while you glare at the gentle light of the sun, trying to say goodbye

because you were never good at dealing with things or much of anything

other than making me feel special

but feeling special doesn’t stop the knot in my stomach from forming whenever you kiss me too hard or look at me like you own me, like I’m yours

it’s 8 am



it’s 11:37 am

you’ve told me I was wrong ten times today, the first before a good morning or a hello

but you still insist you adore me, you still insist I’m yours

and I think I want to leave this house but I don’t think I can say goodbye

so I’ll stay here, at least I still feel special

but I also feel that when you come home, this is no longer a home-it isn’t anything



I’ve never felt like I could tell you everything, in fact in contemplation I’ve never felt I could tell you anything

it’s 3 pm

I have tears in my eyes and bile in my throat-but at least I still feel special

I think the sun sets faster when you’re here, like the darkness is more eager to arrive at my doorstep to say hello

and when it does come, it always leaves without a proper goodbye

and I’m left with a feeling that I can’t shake and a soul that should be, but isn’t yours



I have to remind you, like a goddamn child, not to touch things that aren’t yours

but you don’t seem to give a shit about anything

god, just let me say goodbye

it’s 5:16 pm

it makes me sick to hear you say hello

I wish you didn’t make me feel special


I wish you weren’t the only thing that made me feel special

because for the rest of time I refuse to be yours

and never again do I want to hear you say hello

or say anything

it’s 8:47 pm

and you don’t deserve a goodbye


but I’ll say it, because these long days will haunt me without it: goodbye

and I’m still goddamn special

it’s 12:01 am

and I’m doing just fine without being yours

these chains are broken and the gashes on my bones and heart tell me as they begin to scar, you’ve been a victim but no longer are. do anything

so I greet my new self, myself who belongs to me and me alone: hello


and I’ve never been so relieved to have said goodbye, but I can’t say I wish I never saw you, that I never said hello

because I’ve learned I don’t need anything from you to be special

and to never fall for bullshit like yours at 8am or any hour