Aoibhe wrote an alternative ending to a book she read for her TY English oral book review, ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold. She was selected runner-up in a competitive category containing 4th, 5th, and 6th year throughout Ireland, a very impressive achievement. Aoibhe won a €25 One4All gift card for herself, her teacher and the principal. She also won a €100 voucher for the school.
Alternative ending for An Post competition, here is Aoibhe’s winning entry:
My name is Salmon ‘like the fish’ first name Susie. I was murdered on December 6th, 1973, 10 years have passed. The safe where my body was stored was found on the coldest night of the year in 1983. It was found by a group of teenagers that were eager to see if any money or valuable items were left in it so they could buy alcohol. They called the police when they found my wrist.
My mother came into my room that night. Tears shielded her eyes. This was the first time she had come into my room in over 10 years. She said my name ‘Susie’ and I realised that I had always been waiting for her, for this moment, I was afraid that she wouldn't come. Her hand trailed across my bookshelf and her hand lingered on my camera. She turned and closed the door. The air was still.
Buckley slept in my bed that night. He dreamt of me and about the twig under my bed. Grandma Lynn raised a glass for me during the burial and muttered the words ‘my dear’. She looked so elegant; I wish I looked like her. My father cried yet I couldn’t sense if it was from happiness or sadness. His hand trembled over the wood of my coffin before his hand lowered, fingerprints staining the glossy wood but soon disappeared. I stood over the coffin and I wished I could tell him that I'm happy, tears dripped from my eyes. My hand desperately tried to reach for his in my effort to comfort him until he suddenly jerked. ‘Susie’ he whispered, I whimpered, this moment would play back in my head forever. I tried to convince myself that he had caught a glimpse of me, but nothing is ever certain.
Ray arrived last to the burial with Ruth at his side. He spoke Hindi while reading from his beloved poetry book in his right hand. He was thinking about the time he kissed me and the love letter he wrote to me. He thought about the time he told me I was beautiful and how he used to stare at me in the cafeteria and at my locker. He was thinking about the night we spent together. He thought about how much he loved me. Always I would watch Ray. I loved him and I always will. I want him to be happy. I want him to let go as I have.
Ruth came to my coffin and raised her head to the alter. We both stared at each other for what felt like years. I smiled while teardrops stained my cheeks. She was the greatest friend I have ever had. I looked at her and felt bliss. This was the moment that I had waited for. This was the end.
I sometimes imagine I'm the penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf inside the snow globe. I’m alone yet in a perfect world I create. I watch my family and friends grow without me. As the pictures begin to fade the memory of me does as well. Lindsey got married to Samuel that spring in a meadow outside of Pennsylvania. They moved into the house they always wanted to live in and started their family. Abigail Suzanne was born a year later in the winter of 1985. She is the most beautiful creature I have ever seen.
I’m in the air and breeze and everything that surrounds it. I’m floating away and I wish you all a long and happy life.