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Fire, Water, and the Written Word Part 3 (last part)

I began to write more voraciously than ever before. I wrote poems, stories, and songs. I wrote in a journal, in my notebooks at school, even on scraps of paper strewn throughout the house. Through words I was able to create the picture of a girl trapped between custody battles, fist fights, abusive boyfriends, and bad choices. Some days all I could bear to do was scratch holes into my paper, scribbling furiously trying to release the emotions trapped inside of me. I spent most of my money on notebooks, diaries, and anything else that held a blank page.

Then, in what I know to be the singularly greatest event in my life, my mother sent me to live with my brother. She had done everything in her power for me and was still losing. So it was, that at the age of seventeen I packed my bags and, without a word to my friends, left determined to change my destiny.

*

The apartment is a tiny one bedroom, my space inside it even smaller. I've got the fold out couch and this little closet stuffed with clothes. I pick up the empty laundry basket and look down the narrow hallway to the kitchen where, above the tiny table, the clock sits. 3:30PM. My sister-in-law should be home soon. Then I can get her to take me to work. I should change. I look at my now full closet and sigh. Trying not to unfold anything, I dig around until I find my shirt.

The phone rings, I lean into the living room to pick it up.

“Hello?” I ask, pulling the work shirt over my head. The phone comes loose and crashes onto the tiles. I reach down quickly. “I’m sorry. What did you just say?”

“That’s okay, I was just calling to tell you that the poem you entered into our contest has taken first place.”

My mind goes blank, the shirt suspended midway down my belly. “First place?”

“Yes.”

“As in… I won?”

The woman chuckles lightly, “Yes, and there is a $100 prize, plus a reading next week where all the winners will be given their awards.”

I wish I wasn’t alone, I wish someone was home. My words mean something to someone. There are people who understand me. There are people who understand my heart when it says:

Suddenly I turn and see
The girl in the mirror staring back at me…
She makes mistakes
She starts to break…
This young girl I’m so fond of
Loses hope, gives up on love…
But, again, she stands
Dusts off her hands…
And suddenly I turn and see
The child, the girl, is who I used to be.

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