If I had a box of crayons, I would color my world with vibrant hopes. I might even dye my hair blond, paint my eyes blue, and bleach my skin white.
In my mind, I sketched a rich, faraway land overseas in very bright hues; a place where I heard that ambitions could be reached and freedom was esteemed.
If I could fly right now to that magnificent nation, I'd certainly be transformed into a carefree child.
I'd be going to school learning from books and life, instead of from a sweatshop where children of my age are forced to work with heavy machines and foul-smelling chemicals.
I'd be playing with my friends and with virtual computer games, instead of toying with real rifles shooting live targets.
I'd be listening to nursery songs, ballads and classical music, instead of being rocked by the deafening rhythms of canyons and bullets.
I'd be selecting my meals from delectable choices, instead of rummaging through waste yards for discarded food that I had to relish because of my painful hunger.
I'd be watching lively Disney movies and Broadway shows, instead of the shocking drama of human carnage.
I'd be breathing the fragrant scents of pink and yellow roses, instead of gasping the scorching smoke of gunpowder.
I'd be having a complete, happy family, instead of being forsaken in a war-torn town after the cruel death of my parents and siblings.
I'd be living permanently in a peaceful neighborhood, instead of being constantly relocated from one hiding place to another draped around with an air of terror.
I'd be wearing warm clothes and comfortable shoes, instead of filthy rags and running barefoot.
I'd be sleeping in a cozy bed, instead of on the hard, cold, mosquito-infested ground.
I'd be bathing in a tub of clean tepid water, instead of wallowing in a greasy mud full of maggots.
I'd be protected by a democratic constitution, instead of being hunted down and brutalized like a wild animal by bandits and villains.
I'd be able to become the person I wanted to be, instead of focusing at a bleak future.
I heard that people in that country also got depressed and were sometimes confronted with difficult problems and challenges. However, they were able to brave those storms through the help of their families, counselors and support groups. But as for me, whenever I experienced misery, I'd tearfully and nervously curl up in one dark corner embracing myself until my sobbing lulled me to drowsiness.
My reveries were suddenly interrupted when my friend, an old man, gave me a freshly-baked, sweet smelling piece of bread. He told me a kind soldier gave it to him. I inhaled its sweet aroma, trying to draw a permanent image of it in my mind. I wasn't sure when I'd be able to have another one of this again. His hard-bitten wrinkled face smoothed into a cheerful smile as he looked at my misty eyes and said, "You are lost in your American dream again, boy. Eat the bread and count your blessings."
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