She rises in the morning and greets the golden trophies of elementary days that once trumpeted, This one will be Something. As if spelling words aloud foretold a fairy tale of riches and honor. As if gathering stars and stickers and silly prizes like As in red ink meant she was Going Places.
She followed the path and read the books and wrote the essays and aced the tests and basked in the praise and fielded the questions about the Future, but all she ever truly wanted was to write down the intangible thoughts of her untidy mind so the storm would quiet for just a few moments as she tapped out stories on a keyboard and took her own breath away.
But the world frowned as she chose words over numbers. The Future dimmed when she searched for phrases, fiction, art.
Take the graphs, they said. Take the medicine, the equations, the cold, unchanging numbers that will save you.
But the words were intoxicating, the sentences irresistible in their lovely disarray. She tasted the dangerous tonic of language and felt the drug in her veins and could never break the habit even as disappointed eyes gazed at her glowing mind. The sighs of strangers filled her lungs with poisonous doubt but she spilled the dirty ink of make-believe onto perfectly blank pages.
The words came to life and danced in the darkness of tiny apartments, glimmering beneath twinkling stars of café lights. She had little else to show.
Not treasures nor fame nor glamour.
She endured the pity of those who took the Right Path. The ones filled with logic instead of fire, surrounded by the empty comforts of reason.
The chaos burned within. Her hands were stained with the shameful smears of a gift that she longed to share if only they’d stop sighing and advising and rationalizing and just read.
Just let the flames of a story, a poem, a perfect word sweep you away from the earth for a few glorious minutes so that you know what the hell she’s talking about when she whispers that this is her dream and she doesn’t need you to tell her about ladders to success because she’s going to write her way to happiness until her soul becomes as alive as her restless mind after midnight.
And when you hold the blue-black print of her thoughts and finally feel the blaze, maybe you’ll realize.
Maybe she is Something after all.
Perhaps all was not lost when she walked into the tender embrace of her own making.