Around the Rosie | Teen Ink

Around the Rosie MAG

October 8, 2009
By Jose Paredes Rascon BRONZE, Fort Morgan, Colorado
Jose Paredes Rascon BRONZE, Fort Morgan, Colorado
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I take a deep breath and inhale the humid, summer air. My sweaty palms hang at my sides as my fingers play with the laces of my dress. My heart pounds against my chest, and my brain pulsates rapidly. I hear my sister speak, but her words are lost to me. They are unable to surpass the ringing sound that encompasses my lobes.

I do not need to hear her to understand what she's saying. We had run it over and over again as we made our trek to the solitary tree behind our house. A lone swing hangs from its dry branches – put there by our father once upon a dream. The cicadas that cling to the tree's bark fill my ears alongside the ringing sound. I gaze at the dry grass encroaching across the earth; another normal summer day in the blazing heat of July.

My sister clears her throat to get my attention. I turn to face her and take in her form. The white Sunday dress Mother bought her not a week ago. A small red stain at its hem threatens to wrench apart its purity. I've always been jealous of her; I'm not even a shadow when scrutinized beside her. I'd humbly stand beside her as the grown-ups remarked on her posture or how well she was learned. Her golden hair comes down in subtle ringlets to her bosom, which has already begun to develop; the boys adore her, maybe a little too much. Her lips are always the perfect shade of pink, and her nose complements her with its perfection. What really catches everyone's attention though are her deep blue eyes; profound chasms that enlighten others with a strange euphoria.

Jealousy is a fickle thing, though, for however much I envied her beauty as I stood for hours criticizing my own plain form, I would never wish to be her, always striving to perfect her already-perfect world, always maintaining a perfect visage. For who would allow her even the slightest slip of the tongue? Mother drills lessons into her every day from dawn 'til dusk. Father eyes her in a not-so-fatherly manner. No, my sister could keep her perfect world; I would continue to be the dreamer.

She hands me a pile of berries – Solanum dulcamara, or bittersweet nightshade, as it is commonly known. They are small, bright red. How could a berry so beautiful be so powerful?

“One,” she whispers. I take a deep breath.

“Two,” I reply, my heart pounding rapidly.

“Three,” we say together. I swallow the berries and feel them tumble down my throat and into my stomach. Qu'a fait est fait. What's done is done.

Time passes as we take turns on the rickety swing. The wood creaks and the rope sways. My head throbs more and more. As my sister swings I see her white dress glow. A bright ethereal light blurs my eyes. Her skin becomes translucent.

My turn on the swing. She gently pushes my spine. My stomach lurches as the swing goes back and forth. I feel like all the food I'd ever eaten in my life is ready to come back up, that it wants to escape its dungeon and be set free. The symptoms are just as the book had said.

“Rowan?” my sister breathes. She too has come to realize her fate. Her breathing is labored, “Can we play Ring Around the Rosie? Like when we were little?”

Just like her, always wanting to make light of the moment, but I smile. Of course I'll play. There is nothing I'd like more. We interlock fingers, our hands closing around each other. We spin slowly, around and around, picking up speed. Then we sing, our voices becoming one, without distinction:

Ring around the rosie – It's getting hotter the more we spin – Pockets full of posies – My heart has begun to slow, almost to a stop – Ashes – My eyes sting as they fill with tears – Ashes – My head spins – We all fall down – I close my eyes.

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This article has 12 comments.

vivz02 GOLD said...
on May. 3 2016 at 4:59 pm
vivz02 GOLD, Naperville, Illinois
12 articles 0 photos 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
"a life you love," sydney carton to lucie manette, a tale of two cities

This is a really nice story; it's a light sort of sad, the imagery is really nice and the pictures goes well with it too. Good job!

on Nov. 5 2012 at 6:09 pm
TaylorWintry DIAMOND, Carrollton, Texas
72 articles 0 photos 860 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." - Unknown

The first paragraph was enough for me to know the beauty of your work. Great job!

on May. 23 2012 at 10:23 pm
Aeliss-Novak-the-Zombie-Space-Pirate BRONZE, That Place With All The Trees And Stuff, Oregon
1 article 3 photos 150 comments

Favorite Quote:
Impossible is not a word, just a reason not to try.~Kutless

I'm going to smile and make you think I'm happy, I'm going to laugh, so you don't see me cry, I'm going to let you go in style, and even if it kills me - I'm going to smile.~Anonymous

When my family moved from California to Oregon, where we live now, one of my older brothers ate nightshade. I think he was about six. He only had a bit and he was sick, he was fine though. That was a long time before I was born.


I love the writing style, and the story. It's very...pretty. Even though they are comitting suicide it is beautiful.

on May. 13 2012 at 7:59 am
Bookwizard PLATINUM, Watertown, New York
38 articles 0 photos 53 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you love something, let it go. If it comes back it was always yours, if it doesn't it never was.

OH MY GOSH! That story was great. I loved how you ended it. I knew they were going to commit suicide as soon as I read nightshade. I was so into the story and like I already said, you ended it awesomely. :)

on Jan. 24 2012 at 3:13 am
tweetiebruce PLATINUM, Sydney, Other
24 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is like music - You can make mistakes so you try again. But when the piece can't be helped you try again another time.

The whole time, i just wanted to keep on reading, when it ended i wished there was more! Its brilliant and very well written.

on Oct. 19 2010 at 11:47 pm
SpringRayyn PLATINUM, Lakeville, Minnesota
34 articles 2 photos 658 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't punish yourself," she heard her say again, but there would be punishment and pain, and there would be happiness too. That was writing."
--Markus Zusak, "The Book Thief"

were they though? just curious. If so, the ending really fits and is really awesome story!

on Aug. 14 2010 at 8:01 pm
DiamondsIntheGrass GOLD, Martinsville, New Jersey
14 articles 1 photo 278 comments

Favorite Quote:
Worry is simply a misuse of the imagination.

WOW i googled solanum dulcamara, and i do not like it.  i hope they were not using it to commit suicide but to get its healing properties. !!!??...

on Apr. 26 2010 at 7:24 pm
.:Echo:. BRONZE, Austell, Georgia
3 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Im smiling, that alone should scare you."
"I'm not evil..I'm good with a twist."
"Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the crayons."
"Good friends don't let you do stupid things..alone."
"I dream of a better world where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned."
"It's all fun and games till someone gets hurt.. Then it's hilarious."
"Team Jacob. I like my guys with a pulse thank you."
"I never got my letter from Hogwarts so I'm packing up and moving to Forks to live with the Cullen's."
"No camera could catch the look in her eyes and the feeling in her heart when she looks at him."
"I love how you make me laugh when I don't even want to smile."
"If I had to chose between you and breathing, I would chose you and then I would use my last breath to tell you "I love you."
"And he asked “Is everything okay?” and she blinked away the tears and said, “Yeah, I’m totally happy for you.”
"In Kindergarten we learned about cooties, in middle school we learned about relationships, and in high school we learned the definition of heartbreak."
"Sometimes when I say “oh I’m fine” I just want you to look me in the eyes and say “tell the truth.”
“He looked at me and said “do you ever feel like you’re working for something you’re never going to get? A shoot + miss kind of deal. Like no matter what, you just can’t have it, but that makes you fight for it just a little bit more?” I looked at him, stared at him for just a second and said “everyday.”
"Never say I love you if you don’t really care. Never talk about feelings if they aren’t really there. Never touch a life if you mean to break a heart. Never say you’re going to if you’re not planning to start. Never look me in the eye when all you do is lie. Never say hello is all you mean is good-bye."
"We don’t talk anymore and I don’t understand why. It’s like you gave me wings and told me it was illegal to fly."
"My friends and I are the kind when a house burns down; we’re roasting marshmallows and crushing on the firemen."

I love this, absolutly love it. I can see the two girls, swirling and spinning. It's an amazing story, keep writing! <3

on Apr. 1 2010 at 5:20 pm
this is truly amazing :))) i loved it so much. i liked how you used the song in the story too

on Jan. 28 2010 at 8:49 pm
lily1411 BRONZE, Fargo, North Dakota
2 articles 0 photos 69 comments

Favorite Quote:
Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.

--Benjamin Franklin

I loved this; at first I thought it would be one of those super long and nagging sister-is-jealous-of-the-older-sister stories, but it wasn't that. I'm glad you're a writer:)

Joyce said...
on Oct. 30 2009 at 9:02 pm
I love this story. I enjoy the simplicity and a sort of mysterious tone and feeling to it. I was surprised at the end, why did Rowan wanted to die? Maybe was it to be with her sister, because she loves her so much?

I love how Ring Around the Rosie matches the action and how it has the same meaning as what is happening at the end.

Bex24 BRONZE said...
on Oct. 9 2009 at 12:20 pm
Bex24 BRONZE, Toronto, Other
3 articles 21 photos 79 comments
Whoa, I like the way the story ends up! It makes me want to know what caused them to do this to themselves - the sister I understand, but Rowan? Maybe there's something we don't know about her. Very mysterious - love it! Especially the last paragraph, the song intertwining with the prose. Great writing.