I wrote this a very long time ago and came across it recently. I wrote this for my English class senior year. My teacher hated it.
The crowd parted in reverence at the esteemed entity that was to take me on the unforgettable journey. There it stood: magnificence on earth defined in wood: black, sleek, and beautiful, with curves that couldn’t be defined even with second derivatives. It sat floating in the water as the gentle air rocked the Venetian creation like a cradle. I climbed in with the hands of a stranger, just as I had done in these past few days. The gondolier secured his feet on the threshold of the bow. The gondola slowly started to move, as the oars glided the passengers effortlessly into the sea.
I looked up to see the brilliant pale yellow moon standing out against the opaque blue sky as the last rays of the sun faded behind the sinking buildings. There stood a moon, shared by all across the world, but still made individuals feel as if it existed merely for their aesthetic viewing. Here was an object that had existed for centuries with millions of societies, but remained unforgotten in the course of time. Much like humanity, as individuals, we look to find ourselves in something that already exists. After centuries of history, we struggle to find ourselves as a person who can make a mark, but is similar enough to society to fulfill the needs of a human being. And while assimilating to this society, we are expected to meet these standards. These standards stand as obstacles to defining ourselves as individuals. From this arises the issue of humanity: where does our loyalty lie?
I ran my hands across the hull, feeling the scratches that came from experience. These were the scratches I was trying to earn from my own life, the scratches of experience that brought together humanity as a species. Feeling so much that I’ve been caged the past 15 years of my life, I wanted to be lifted, shifted, and dropped. I wanted to feel the experience that stemmed from the simple act of living, of actually living: outside your comfort zone, outside your time zone, outside of everything considered monotonous. However, living, whether by “street-smarts” or “book-smarts”, isn’t taught. Classes, guidance books, therapy sessions, advice… They all are “hints” for the average person to find happiness. But does happiness even exist if each person’s perception is different? The universality of such definitions of the meaning of living, unfortunately, does not subsist.
With the assumption that staying alive longer brings experience, age would be seen as the logical determinant of the scratches we bare. However, that is not the case. Becoming yourself at whatever age you are is what brings experience. After living through different events and having different genetic capabilities, age is only a useless measure of time.
Many people sympathize with the misconception that the older we get, the more we get to do and the more sure we are of our actions. From the perspective of a child, an adult’s accomplishment’s stand out as learned or trained tasks. In a way, as kids we think that our parents know how to do the things they do because they have never messed them up. With exceptions, the traditional authority figure of a parent is revered, in the least, as the epitome of knowledge. But as we get older and walk into their shoes, we see our parents, who we honored as shrines of comprehension, as fallible, like all human beings. The love and care they put into us is reflected in the warnings and advice they give to us, hoping to keep us from falling into the same traps as they did. Accepting and dealing with the weaknesses we experience as human beings, although done unconsciously, is one of the factors that must be taken into consideration when loyalty is decided. As different as lives can be, its not the ages that tie humanity together, its how we all have to live. The actual act of going through modern life and being content with what we do everyday is becoming oneself. What is expected of us and leaving a mark are the factors we consider in living our lives to be content with.
As the buildings passed by, I stared in awe at the immense history reflected in their structure. Each intricacy in the stone was handcrafted to human perfection. Each window held the hope of peering out to enjoy more of this city upon an island. The immense amount of work put into building such a city for the hope that mankind will appreciate something concrete in a world of spirits. Here, in Venice, the meaning of life, the definition of living, the purity of emotions, swirled in the air as petals to be caught and smelled. Here, in Venice, the ride of a lifetime ended as the bow pulled up to the precarious harbor of other graceful gondolas.
Another was falling, slowly, lengthening the time between when my eye would blink and find it gone. But here I sat, savoring the crystalline structure of the translucent fluid that ran down my car window as I left the airport. There I sat, waiting to be awakened out of my fantasies from the last few days in another world. There I sat, waiting to fall back to reality. Here I sat, waiting to grow up once more.