Stepping Stones, part 1

i am fourteen years old. the year is two thousand and four. my mom is away visiting my grandpa. he has cancer. he will not live much longer. i am feeling so alone. i miss my mom. i have already decided not to return to public school this year. it is August. i am sitting alone on the porch. there are no walls; it has not become my bedroom yet. i see a small piece of broken plastic in the dirt. it is sharp. i am sharp; if anyone gets close to me my anger and sadness will cut them. i pick the plastic up. i press it into my flesh, near my knee. i drag it against my skin again and again. i am bleeding. i lie when asked what happened. scraped myself on something. it was an accident.

 

i am seventeen years old. the year is two thousand and seven. my parents drove me to Burbank. we carried my things up to my third floor dormitory. at some point my dad cries. he does not want me to leave home. he has held on too tightly and i’ve been afraid to leave because i don’t want to break his heart. but at the same time i am angry at him because i want to be allowed to spread my wings and fly. i want to stop being his emotional crutch.

 

i am eighteen years old. the year is two thousand and eight. i meet a boy. he is really sweet. i tell myself i do not want a boyfriend. i want to be just friends with this boy. in a week’s time he will be my boyfriend.

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Characters

I’m Belle and you’re Aladdin,
but ethnically speaking
I’m more like Elsa
or maybe even Rapunzel,
and you’re that guy Mulan
hooked up with,
whatever his name was.

But do you really
wanna marry
a Chinese Joan of Arc?

Back to the beginning…
You were a homeless
jack-of-all-trades
and I was a homely
book-nerd who got lost
in a forest.

We could rewrite
the story;
I’ve got the words
and you’ve got the eyes…

I’ll let you
dot my “i”s.