Chapter 1

Each school year starts the same – always with the same dumb assignment.  Write about yourself.  Write an autobiography.  Tell about your summer.  Share your likes and dislikes.  Give me an idea about who you are.  Blah!  Why do teacher’s assign this stuff?  It’s not like they really care.  Mrs. Bishop is just like all the others.  I was hoping she would be different, being younger and all, but it turns out, I was wrong.  Sigh Well, if I have to do the assignment, I might as well get it over with.

Ordinary is how someone would probably describe me.  I am just ordinary, plain, unoriginal.  Not standing out from the crowd usually helps though in high school.  At 17, I am only 5’2″.  Depressing and no hope for anymore growth spurts.  Curly or straight, my hair is usually thrown in a ponytail so I don’t have to mess with it.  I’m more of a tomboy than girly-girl and that seems to make it even easier to blend in.  I go unnoticed throughout my days, quietly observing and wishing my life were different.  

White and pink, that’s what colors are in my room.  Definitely not my choices.  I like richer, deeper colors like forest green or midnight blue.  On the up side – I don’t have to share my room with anyone.  My brother has his own room, and the even better part is it is NOT next to mine.  I don’t have to smell any of his sweaty clothes or listen to his music, my space is my own in the back corner of the house.  My space, my peace, filled with books to get me out of my boring life and into other worlds where I can be anything I want.  It’s not that my parents stop me from doing whatever it is I want to do, but I just don’t know what I want to do.  Nothing grabs a hold of me and says, PARTICIPATE IN ME.  They ask me, “What do you want to join this year?” and every year I have the same answer, “I don’t know”.  Then my parents have this sad, disappointed look on their face until they ask my brother the same question.  He always rattles off 3 or 4 different sports or things he wants to do, and my parent’s faces light up.  All I want to do is go back to my room and read.

Some days I wonder if anyone will truly understand me and who I am.  Being a quiet girl doesn’t help me much at school.  I don’t have a lot of friends, boys or girls.  I have never really gotten along well with girls – they are too dramatic all the time.  Usually I hang out with the guys, but lately, that doesn’t work too well either.  So I stay to myself, reading or writing – daydreaming basically.  I love that I can get so into a book that I never want the story to end and when it does, I’m so upset, I have trouble talking to anyone for a few days.  It’s like I have to slowly leave a part of me behind.  It’s kind of a cool feeling, being that connected with something, since I don’t have a lot to connect with in my own world.  But the scary part is that the connections I have with my books and writing has gotten weird lately.  It is like I am completely part of whatever world I’m reading, or even writing, about.  Everything else drifts away.  I hear nothing except the sounds from the world I am engulfed in.  When I finally snap out of it, I feel drained, like I’ve traveled far and wide.  I’m having a harder and harder time connecting with what is going on in my own real world.  I probably just need to get a life and stop reading so much.

So I guess this year, I hope that I can pass, hang out with some friends that actually get me, and do something that makes my parents care.  Having your parents care about you and be proud of you sounds sort of dumb, but deep down, I kinda wish my parents did, even just a little.

Hmm, well, Mrs. Bishop should like that essay.  At least it says how much I like to read and write; she should like that.  I just hope that we don’t have to read these aloud to the class.  How embarrassing!  I guess I could always ask to go to the bathroom.

Shoving my essay into my folder, I get up to look for a new book to read.  Nothing is really catching my eye so instead I flop onto my bed and turn on my stereo.

If I die young, bury me in satin….

I love this song.  Kimberly Perry sure does get it.  Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’.  I hope that people don’t start listening to me until after I’m dead.  Not that I want to die any time soon, but still.  Before I die, I hope that people get me.  Ha, I hope I get me.  I hope that I do something important, something that people will remember me for – but not bad remembering.  Something that makes a big difference, changes things, makes people see things in a different way.  Almost an honest way.  Truth.  No shields, no fakeness, no show – just the real honest truth.  Hmp.  What a joke.  That will never happen.  People have to put on a show.  If everyone knew the real us, what would happen.  The magic of disguise would be gone.  No one would be able to hide all their bad things.  That probably would be really bad.  I mean, I wouldn’t be able to hide the fact that I seem to be able to live in books.  Granted, this is a great thing for me – get out of this crazy world – but if other people knew I could do that, oh boy.  I’d end up really having no friends.  They’d all think I was crazy.  So, maybe I don’t want people to get me.  I guess I would settle for doing something important – big – historical!  Yeah, that’s it.  Before I die, that’s what I want to do, something historical.  No problem.  Ha!

I remember one time when I was just out wandering and I came upon this almost secret place.  It was so quiet, peaceful.  I never told anyone about it.  Once when I was there, I decided to lay down on the soft warm grass and just breathe.  The sun seemed so bright that day.  I remember the breeze, like it could carry me away or hide me in this safe place.  There was a magnificent tree there, it’s branches stretching out as if to cover the secret it was keeping there, me.  I knew that in this place I could be anything I wanted, do anything I wanted, just be me, and I would be safe.  As I laid there under the protective branches, the wind seemed to pick up.  I remember thinking it was strange because the leaves weren’t rustling.  It was like the breeze was only there for me, almost speaking to me.  I relaxed even more and closed my eyes.  I began to feel like I was floating on this breeze, that I didn’t have a care in the world.  Nothing could bother me.  My body felt so light, it was as if even my soul was at ease.  When the breeze paused, I opened my eyes.  To my astonishment, I was sitting on a high branch of this stately tree, completely hidden from view.  I finally felt safe.

I remember that field and that tree.  It had seemed to call to me that day.  I couldn’t take any more of the strange looks from my neighbors.  I couldn’t take feeling like I didn’t fit in.  So I had left, walking, going anywhere that I could, just to get away.  I wonder if I went there, would the same things happen?  I was just 9 or 10 the first time, but I haven’t been back there since I turned 13.  That was a magical place.  Feeling secure, safe – those things don’t happen any more.  Now I get more stares, avoided, whispered about.  Am I really that different?  Does walking around with a book all the time make me so weird that no one talks to me anymore?  It’s not like I’m ugly or smell.  Even my own parents, in my own home, make me feel like an outcast.  sigh  Maybe one day, I will get the chance to find that place again.  Maybe there’s a way that place will lead me to my historical, influential, big….thing that I will do before I die.  I don’t know if I could be that lucky.  That lucky to find it again, that lucky for it to be the key to me, that lucky period.  But, maybe.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 1

  1. SarahWidman says:

    Mrs. Brandon, this is a fantastic chapter! I’m hoping that her parents will be proud of her soon and she will find that magical place she is looking for. I can’t wait for the next chapter!

    • Renee says:

      Thank you Sarah – that means a lot! Right now I have the Intro and Chapters 1-4 posted on this site. I’ll be working on more chapters as the year continues.

  2. Emma H. says:

    WOW! Mrs.Brandon this book will be great. I think you will be an awesome writer. If you get this book published I’ll buy it. You will do great on this book. :)

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