My Unapologetic Coming of Age

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Short narrative fiction

 

 

I am unraveling the seventh piece of crumpled paper. I think I will use this one. It is getting dark and I am mentally exhausted from rewriting this letter over and over again. Whatever I wrote in this last one will have to do.

I am taking too long to read it. The tremor in my right hand is back, so I can’t stay still long enough to read the words.

I think I have forgotten how to read.

I envy the silence in my bedroom, oh, it is just deafening. Instead of quiet, the first sentence on the page is screaming out, begging to be free.

I am moving my lips as I read the words, but frankly, no sound is coming out. Maybe the truth is, I really don’t want to read it out loud. Because once I do, it will stick to the confines of my brain like glue on paper. Like nail on wood. Once I say these words out loud, they will become me.

I am trying really hard not to cry.

The first sentence reads:

“I am sorry.”

But the thing is, I cannot justify why I am sorry. For what really?

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Maybe I should just say…

I am sorry for being me.

I am sorry that my words don’t match your thoughts. I am sorry that I just like to say it how I see it.

The other day, we were both having a random conversation. It was raining and we canceled the plans we had made earlier to go downtown. The sound of our laughter often brings trouble. But not on that night. It was a serious night. I watched as you waited for me to say something. And when I finally spoke, I saw your face go red with rage. I surveyed your face, perplexed about how your beautiful smile quickly grew into a monstrous emoji.

I am sorry that sometimes we don’t think alike.

Some days, you see fire when I see water. You see dandelions and I see roses. You point to danger and I walk through it just fine. Some days, when you are strong, I am weak. But when I dare to be bold, you perform a disappearing act and hide under your big, old blanket.

I am sorry that, sometimes, we don’t agree.

You told me your opinion that night and I dared to scrutinize it. You shared your worries and I played the antagonist. I outlined my reasons and you told me I was mad.

Did you know that I cried on countless occasions? I was ashamed. Why am I annoyingly different from you? The good thing is you never saw the tears so you just assumed I was fine. It was so easy to cry along with the water from the shower sprinkler. I made sure you never knew. But I’ve always wondered though, about why our opinions clashed that night.

But, now, dear friend, I know who I am. I know my name.

The real words I want to say are these.

I am NOT sorry. I will never be sorry for who my Father says I am. Don’t you agree?

I think I will be me. I am now really comfortable with seeing roses when you see dandelions. I will no longer think I am blind when I see water and you see fire. In my weakness, His strength is made perfect. In my unashamed emotionalism, His name is glorified. Even when I don’t understand why you take the other standpoint, I won’t fight it. Unapologetic. I’ll stand firm with reason.

I promise to lose myself only in His word and His truth.

No, I am not sorry.

This is me. This is my unapologetic coming of age. I hope you find yours.

Shepherd Girl

Shepherd GIRL

 

 

That day will forever be etched in my memory. One second it was hot like fire, and the next the skies broke loose, making way for heavy rain to burst out of clouds that could no longer carry it. Like a mighty army, the rain approached the earth. Determined. Incapable of being stopped.

It fell with purpose. Wiping out suffocating heat. Cooling bodies filled with sweat. Resuscitating discolored blades of grass that drooped sideways, almost dead from days of lack. Bringing winds of refreshing to our sheep.

That day, after we’d put the sheep back in their shelter, we ran straight for the back door of the house. With clothes dripping wet, we sat in front of the kitchen window watching hard drops of rain hit brown soil, wilted grass, and those thirsty plants littered around the sheep shelter.

That same day, my mother looked into my eyes and said, “Nina, see how the rain falls?”

“Yes, mother,” I answered, half-wondering where she was going with this.

“Nina, your heart should be like rain,” she muttered. “One hundred percent in. One direction. One goal.”

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Tonight I’ll be a Prostitute to Crave

Tonight I will be who I am. The woman with the dark red lipstick, face-beat makeup, and perfume that whispers, “Take me, please.”

Our actions and decisions today will shape the way we will be living in the future.

The woman in my oval mirror looks back at me as she adjusts her beautiful cream-colored pearls worn four layers down her neck into the curve where her breasts divide. With her ears adorned with large hoop earrings that barely caress the tips of her shoulders, she looks back at me as though mocking me publicly with a question I cannot answer.

The wall is thin. I can hear my children breathing heavily in the room next to me. Some nights, the youngest of the three somehow senses when mummy walks past his room. Some nights, he wakes up too. Hopefully, not tonight.

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For This Child I Prayed | What You Need to Know When You Desire One Thing

Hannah needed a child. Her heart bled for a child. Nothing else could comfort her. Nothing else could make her laugh. Give her a thousand gifts, she wanted none. Her husband tried, but he wasted time. Wasted gifts. Wasted words. All rejected.

For this Child

“Hannah!” Elkanah called to her one day. “Look at me, please. Am I not better to you than ten sons?” he whispered into her ear.

There was no response. Echoes of unanswered questions remained.

She must have turned away from him, flinching with guilt. Red-faced. Sullen. Angry — not at him, but at herself. She did not know why she had these feelings.

Every day, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed her rival Peninah, who not only had sons but daughters. She saw her laughter. She craved her joy. She was jealous of her fullness. And when she thought about herself, what did she have? Only gifts from her husband. No children.

So she prayed, and she prayed…and she prayed some more. Continue reading