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Sad Coming of Age


She adds another braid in her hair for every year she survives. There are four braids missing. 


She cannot remember. She knows she doesn’t want to. She can tell in the way the others look at her that she doesn’t want to. 


She lives. She lives and does not think of her story. She does not think of her family or the home she does not know.


Only at night can she remember. Only at night can she remember how her family were killed and her home burned.


She wakes up screaming for the mother that she does not know.


She wakes up screaming for the father that she cannot remember.


She wakes up screaming for the brother and the sister that are no longer there.


She cannot remember the dreams in the day.


She adds another braid in her hair for every year that she survives. There are still four braids missing.


She can barely remember. She is not sure if she wants to.


She lives. She lives, but she thinks of her story now. She thinks of her family and the home she hardly knows.


Only at night can she remember clearly. Only at night can she remember how her friends were maimed and her pets slaughtered.


She still wakes up crying for the mother she does not know.


She still wakes up crying for the father she cannot remember.


She still wakes up crying for the brother and the sister that are no longer there.


She can remember the dreams now.


She adds another braid in her hair for every year that she survives.

There are still four braids missing.


She tries to remember. She feels like her memories are slipping away. Day after day.


She struggles to live. She struggles against the dark fog that is pulling her down and washing her memories away.


Not even at night can she remember. Not even at night can she remember how the bombs were dropped and innocents murdered.


She wakes up, but does not scream or cry for her unknowable mother.


She wakes up, but does not scream or cry for her forgotten father.


She wakes up, but does not scream or cry for her lost brother and sister.


She does not dream anymore

***

One day I meet a tall and beautiful stranger. The stranger is very quiet. I can tell that she has seen things that she wants to forget.

I speak to her when the others leave. She is very wise. She tells me many things. The stranger tells me that she knows me. This is impossible. No one knows me. Not even me.

I speak to the stranger again the next day when the others leave. Again she says that she knows me. This time I stay.

She shows me a picture. It is of a young woman with long hair and a nice face. The woman in the picture is laughing. She seems familiar.

The stranger tells me that the woman was my mother. This is impossible. I do not have a mother.

I speak to the stranger again when the others leave. She shows me the picture again. I think I like the picture. I tell the Stranger so and she says that I can keep it. I hang it in my room.

I speak to the Stranger again when the others leave. She says that she knows me. I tell her that it is impossible. The Stranger tells me that I am one who is afraid of the past.

I know this is impossible. I have no past.

The Stranger tells me that I am one that clings to the past.

I know this is impossible. I have no past.

The Stranger tells me that I am one who has forgotten who I am. This is true. I do not know who I was. I was lost long ago.

I leave. I do not want to hear any more truths today.

I visit the Stranger again the next day when the others leave.

She tells me that I do not have to be afraid of the past.

I tell her that I am not afraid of the past. I think I know that this is a lie.

I tell her that I do not cling to the past either. I think I know that this is a lie.

I tell her that I have forgotten who I am. This is the truth. The old me was lost many braids ago.

I cannot stop telling her.

I tell her that I forget many things. Even still. Even the most simple things.

I tell her that the others won't let me out on my own. They fear that I will forget what I'm doing, or that I won't be able to remember the way back.

I tell her about my old dreams. My old dreams of my real family and my real home.

I tell her that I do not dream anymore.

I tell her that I used to be able to remember what had happened. I tell her of the day that the memories became hazy again.

I tell her of the day when I stopped eating and sleeping. When I would just lay and try to remember who I was before.

I tell her everything I can remember. It is not much. But she listens.

She says to me " Do not be afraid of your past, child. You may not be able to see it there anymore, but it is still a part of you. If you learn not to fear what you may find, then you will see it clearly again. You will not be afraid. "

***

I have added many more braids since that day. There are still four braids missing.

Sometimes I try to examine the memories I have in the long hours of the night. Sometimes I find something new. But I am not searching for new memories anymore. I am searching for a part of me that I left behind. I cannot find it.

Suddenly:

" Sikara!! "

My real name. I have not heard it for years and years. It was the name that my mother called me. I turn around.

There is a girl. She looks only a few years older than me. Maybe fourteen. Or fifteen. I remember the picture that the Stranger gave to me. She looks a lot like the woman in it. The same hair, the same kind face. Except her eyes. Her eyes are like mine. Bright green. Not blue like in the picture.

I can remember now. She is the missing piece I have been searching for. My lost sister.

I can remember now, how inseparable we were. How we did everything together. How our sweet, sad mother sang us to sleep at night.

I reach out and touch her hand.

I can remember now, how the bomb tore us apart, how it tore the whole world apart. I remember her screams as she saw me bleeding out onto the stones. I remember her screams as she saw the bodies of our parents and brother. I remember her screams as she was dragged away. Her screams were mine when I woke in the night.

Her face is more scarred, and her eyes are ones that have seen too many things. But she has not completely lost the look of the sister I had before.

A tear falls. I hug her. She hugs me back. I have finally found my missing piece.

The Stranger was right.

I do not have to be afraid of the past anymore.


And I will leave my four missing braids as a reminder to those who feel lost.



January 06, 2021 17:08

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27 comments

Wow Carissa! I think that I really enjoyed this story! Great first submission! :)

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18:10 Jan 09, 2021

Thank you!! :)

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Your welcome!

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Nainika Gupta
15:35 Jan 09, 2021

This was a great first submission. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the story and how you twisted the prompt to make it fit what’s you wanted to convey. Can’t wait to read more of your work!! -Happy writing

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15:39 Jan 09, 2021

Thank you so much!! :D

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Nainika Gupta
16:45 Jan 09, 2021

Of course :)

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Zahra Daya
18:54 Jan 10, 2021

Wow! I really enjoyed this story and I got chills near the end! My favorite line was 'The old me was lost many braids ago.' The italicized part at the beginning was also a very nice, unique touch. You did an amazing job, especially for a first submission! I would also love it if you checked out my recent story (same prompt!) and gave me some feedback! Thank you :) - Zahra Daya

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19:02 Jan 10, 2021

Thanks very much! And I will check out your story! :DD

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Eliza Entwistle
19:24 Jul 22, 2021

Your story is sad and beautiful, and has great writing. Well done :)

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22:59 Jul 22, 2021

Thank you! This was my very first one, so I feel like I've improved a lot since then :)

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Eliza Entwistle
18:55 Jul 22, 2021

I just want to say that I love your username

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22:58 Jul 22, 2021

Thank you! On a related note I used to go to school with a girl named Kailani

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Eliza Entwistle
23:33 Jul 22, 2021

That’s cool :)

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00:41 Jul 23, 2021

yupyup

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Dhwani Jain
10:15 Jul 09, 2021

Hello Carefree Chicken, The Overlord Of Space And Reality! I am pretty sure I read this story and commented on it too...don't know why it isn't showing though.... Nice story. Very poetic. I liked how you expressed the girl's views and dreams and imagination. Really liked it! Please read and comment on my stories too! Where are you from?

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17:17 Jul 10, 2021

Oh thank you so much, Dhwani! This was my first story, so I think I could have written it better now, so thanks!! Of course, I'd be happy to read one of your stories! I'm from Colorado in the U.S. :)

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Dhwani Jain
10:51 Jul 11, 2021

Welcome! :) Thanks!!! Cool!

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Nyx ⛥
13:21 Apr 26, 2021

I really liked this story! also thx for liking my storys! theres part 3 posted if you want to read it!

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22:37 Apr 26, 2021

Yaaaaay!!! I'm so excited! Thanks btw XD

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Nyx ⛥
01:40 Apr 27, 2021

Anytime! thx for liking it!

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02:49 Apr 27, 2021

Yeah, I love apocalypse stories!!

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Nyx ⛥
14:23 Apr 27, 2021

Im glad! im working on a part 4 right now!

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22:22 Apr 27, 2021

AAAH YAY

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Coco Longstaff
01:16 Jan 10, 2021

Hihi~ Loved this! The braids part was really interesting and intriguing The ending is really passionate Great job!

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01:18 Jan 10, 2021

thank youuu haha

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Opal Knight
03:27 Apr 19, 2021

Wow! This is amazing.

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03:53 Apr 19, 2021

Thanks!! It's been a while since anyone has read this one! :D

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