Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Adolescence/Teen Years (07/16/09)
TITLE: The Turbulent Thirteen
By C Harricharan
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The first nudge happened when I lost my best friend, she did not die, but I felt as though I wanted to curl up and die. I thought that being nice to the new girl in class was the right thing to do, especially when no one made any attempt to befriend her. She was the youngest sister of the Head Prefect, and had an air about her; hence everyone was in awe, especially the boys. I invited her to sit next to me and my then best friend and before long I was the odd one out, but that did not hurt as much as the day I was on my way to join them and heard them laughing. They were laughing together at the fact that I was too tall for my uniform and looked really funny with a short skirt.
I was humiliated, I wished for the earth to open up and swallow me, so I would not have to look upon their faces again. My secrets were no longer safe and I was certain that the whole world knew it all, but God took pity on me and sent me another friend to soothe my broken heart and restore my spirits. The pain of betrayal never quite heals and always returns when least expected, it leaves a permanent imprint upon the once innocent countenance.
Deeply engrossed in my self inflicted pain filled world, I helped my mother care for my brother, ill with a heart condition. I felt his pain as I read to him and played teacher, since he was too weak to attend school. At nights I prayed for God to heal him and make him well again so we can play together like we used to when he was well. Slowly I watched his smile fade as his skin turned yellow with jaundice, while my mother grew silent with worry as my father enlisted the help of doctors and specialists one after another. Nine months after being diagnosed with a hole in his heart and acute jaundice we said goodbye to my ten-year-old brother. His life was so short, my heart broke once more, it was the first time death had struck so close to me. It was not to be the last, two months later my elderly Grandfather injured his food on a barbed wire fence while horseback riding. Due to complications with diabetes, within two months death struck again.
A shadow settled upon my brow and my heart felt as though it could ache no more. There were days when I wondered if the tears would ever stop. I looked around me and saw my parents keeping a brave face in those troubling times and I realized that my pain was just as real as the one that they were dealing with. I learned it was possible to feel old even when the years were still young.
With so much on my mind it was no wonder that I never realized that I had grown a full four inches taller and all my dresses were getting too short for me, even my school uniform. My face still grows hot when I remember my embarrassing encounter with my former best friends and their cruel laughter.
Through it all my one bright spot kept me from sinking too deep into the depths of despair. The two bright brown eyes of my baby sister with a constant smile every time I pick her up, and the dimple on her chin. She was my ray of sunshine above and under the cloud of hurt and worry hanging over our world. I am so glad that our family was blessed with this lovely baby girl before the shadows crept in.
This was the year when I wore a black ribbon to school for three whole months. I cried when my teacher and my classmates turned up for my brother’s funeral, but a small part of me felt loved that they cared.
I don’t quite remembered how it began or ended, but sometime between my gloom and my tears I grew up, maybe too fast but I never looked back. I learned to keep on giving even with a broken heart.
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