Lost. I am lost. Tears drip down my smooth, trembling cheeks, spilling salty sadness on my tattered childhood blanket.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” my mom says. Her eyes are gentle, crinkled softly in the corners. “One day you’ll meet a guy who will love your mind.”
Does it help — or hurt — that an English teacher once said the same thing after I poured out my heart in a writing assignment? Another tear shed; another rip in my tender creative soul.
I don’t know who I am anymore. Clever. Quirky. What does that mean? Why is it unappealing? I stare out the back bedroom window, a deep rumbling sigh reminding me of my cat-like qualities. I could almost sense a tail flick.
I glance up into her friendly, loving face, my emotions tangled in a web of blackened, twisting dismay. She plants a quick kiss on my head. “Late blooming doesn’t always apply to those teenage years. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find the right one. You’ve got great wit. Strong independence. Forget about what others think. Focus on you. What makes you happy.”
“I’m lost. Lonely. I don’t know how to be free.”
“Find your happiness, and you’ll find yourself. People will notice. Trust me. That’s how I met your father. I wasn’t always the one who could light up the room. I used to glower in the corner, writing my pain on paper serviettes.”
Warm hazelnut eyes search mine. Her words strike me. Give me hope. It radiates downwards, filling me with strength and determination.
If I can’t fend off the insults, at least I can write them off in my stories.
Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on National Flash Fiction Day: The Write-In