Submitted into Contest #58 in response to: Write a story about someone feeling powerless.... view prompt


Drama Adventure Mystery

If only I could be transient, of and out of this world, I wish I could be as spontaneous and swift as the wind, sifting through leaves and dreamcatchers. I've never been able to change my situation, I may be seventeen, but it feels like my world is crashing, and like I'm the reason for it, the catalyst to this social experiment. Maybe I AM the catalyst to the explosion that is my life.


 "A strong friendship doesn't need daily conversation, doesn't always need togetherness, as long as the friendship lives in the heart, true friends will never part."

 Crystal and I said this together, left hands intertwined while the others held the paper on which those words were written, the black Times New Roman font staring right back at us- we were lying on the grass behind her large family chateau, looking up at the stars, it was our first time trying it, and for some reason, it felt like the stars were looking right back at us. We were star-gazing for so long that I began to see them even better, their sparkles individually beautiful. It was the happiest moment of all my seventeen years, for the first time in my life, I felt transient, I felt out of this world, there was no sound, not even a peep, but it was almost like I could hear the stars, their sounds drowning out the voice at the back of my head, I could feel the twinkles on my skin, I finally closed my eyes... I wanted to revel in the moment...

 then it happened, again.

 I was already crying by the time I had stood up, Crystal had dozed off listening to Clairo, so I had enough time to run over to the bathroom and slide down unto its marble floors. Looking around now, everything in here mocked me, the mirrors, the perfect bathtub and the scented candles Crystal's aunt, Merlyn had set up. My eyes stung even more now, I wasn't in a fetal position like most people though, I just sat there, shoulders heaving up and down, nose stuffy and eyes red, I wanted to scream, to tear at this Juicy Couture sweater I was wearing because even though I had bought it myself, it wasn't mine. Nothing I owned was mine, least especially the camaraderie of a 'lifestyle' I put up.

 I managed to get up, my behind hurt bad enough from sitting on the floor, my cat-eye mascara had run down my face, this was how it always started, as soon as it ended. Fits of sadness and sparks of despair, I'd cry, I'd think, I'd wish and then I'd remember, unfortunately, that no matter how much I cried, no matter how red and cloudy my eyes were, I'd still end up coming back to the only reality I knew, the one that meant I lived on 43 Downing Avenue, the one that meant that I slept on the floor of a small kitchenette, the one that meant that in real life if they knew if she knew...

 I'd have no friends.

  "Marie!" Crystal's groggy voice ringed through the walls and broke me out of my reverie if I could call it that.

"Shit, my face." I had forgotten to clean it up. I stumbled over to the tap, and before I could get any running water on my face, there stood Merlyn. Turns out it wasn't Crystal, it also turns out that I had run into the wrong bathroom, and I had woken Merlyn up. I was glad it wasn't Crystal at least.

 This was awkward, yes, but at least I didn't have Crystal questioning me about my breakdown

 "H-hey. I'm s-sorry, I thought th-this was my r-room." I was stuttering, I couldn't help it, it was either this or I cried again, and I definitely didn't plan on letting Merlyn in on my mental struggle for balance. 

 "That isn't why I'm here sweetheart." Her tone was so soft that it began to seem condescending.

  I don't know if she expected me to speak, or to break down again and cry in her Baby Phat robe, but I did neither, I just stood there and tried to wait her out while holding unto my composure, tears had already started building up, their sting begged for a release, someone who didn't also depend on me for emotional support, someone who wouldn't scream and judge me, someone who wouldn't stare at me blankly and claim I didn't understand their struggle. I didn't want someone who'd remind me of how powerless I was, I needed someone to tell me I could change my situation, even if it was a lie.

  She was still standing therethrough, and that's when I realized it, Merlyn had always noticed how I'd easily reject their gifts, how I'd run to the nearest bathroom and cry, or how I'd rush home once I heard my phone ring, even if I had just gotten there. She did what Crystal didn't, she paid attention. 

 I'm not saying Crystal was a bad friend, in fact, even if she was, she was my only friend, so how would I know? I couldn't and shouldn't expect someone to understand a situation that they haven't been granted access to, but sometimes, I begin to feel like Crystal was friends with "Marie". The one who wore exclusive clothes, the one who knew the latest songs and made the loudest jokes, the Marie who lived in a private estate with heated water and a jacuzzi. That Marie is made up and imaginary, that Marie who only exists in public.

 The words came out before I had a chance to stop. 

"My whole life, I was told I lived like everyone else..."  

 stop, stop, what in the WORLD are you doing?

  "And for a while, I thought I did. I thought everyone had peeling walls in their bathrooms, I thought everyone felt the way we did, stressed, worried, confused. But that was 11 years ago, soon, I began to notice others, saw their clothes, passed by their porches, they HAD porches, with gardens and white picket walls, they wore shoes that weren't open at the toe, they wore their hair in normal styles. They didn't have to hide or run when they saw any passing cars because they weren't scared of someone they knew passing by. That's when I knew that my "normal" wasn't normal. That's when I began to notice how we managed everything to the last crumb, how my mother crying and randomly screaming at me hysterically wasn't because of "hormones", how every prayer point included not letting the owner of the house kicking us out, how my so-called "fun visits to the gas station" were actually my only way of catching a proper shower. I realized how down the food chain we were, I became scared, I became drowned with all the issues, so I looked for an escape, and I found her, I found fairly used clothes and bags and shoes, I began to distance myself... from my problems, from the people involved and from my real life. None of this is me, but what can I do? I'm 17, not even close to becoming 18, and I can't solve the issues we have, sometimes, I feel like I'M the problem, the issue, the burden who can't give but takes, but I'm also afraid because I can't let this life go..." 

 I was crying, and this time, it wasn't because I was anxious or worried or had a jolt of memory, for the very first time in my whole life, I had opened up, I hadn't looked up to see Merlyn's reaction, partially because I was scared, and also because regret had slowly started to creep in, I really don't know why I told anyone, or why it was Crystal's aunt of ALL people, but she had listened, and I didn't feel as hopeless and weak as I did before, yes I did feel stupid, but at least, for once, it felt like I wasn't carrying two people around, this is Marie, and despite the fact that I may regret this soon, or even right now, it felt good to finally open up.

  Although she didn't say a word, Merlyn was hugging me, and I loved it. There was no noise except my muffled sniffles and her heartbeat against my ear. She held me tight, and it felt like she took all the pain away with it. I was still crying though, and I cried even harder now realizing that now that the truth was out, nothing would change after I left here, after I left Merlyn's grip. 

So I hugged her back, my grip way harder than hers, mainly because I was the one who didn't want to leave. 

 Eventually, I broke away from the hug, and simply put my head on her shoulder "I never know how to express myself, especially since there are so many things happening at once, I never knew how to help out, I couldn't change the situation, and I still can't. It's almost like I'm as much as a burden as the house. Every day, I wish and I pray and I hope, and nothing happens, I still sleep on the cold floors, I still end up feeling hopeless, like the present will forever stretch out and leave me like this, without the ability to change anything." 

 That was when Merlyn finally said something, "Don't forget there's a future. And in that future, you can change everything. This "present" is merely a past that you haven't finished living through yet, it's okay to feel confused, drowned and weak..."

 "as long as you remember that there is always power in the powerless, and hope for the present."


  It had been a few hours since I had spoken to Merlyn, Crystal had eventually woken up an hour after I left and went straight to bed after, still oblivious. Maybe I'd tell her, maybe not.

 I was on my way home in our old Kia from 2004, the windows were blurry but I could still see the outside clearer, I was still going home to all our problems, and usually, by now I'd start getting worried, start getting sweaty, or angry about how unfair our situation was.. but instead I looked at my mom's face through the small mirror at the very front of the car, and I noticed how tired she looked, how sad she seemed every day I'd complain, how choked up she felt when things got extremely low for us. 

 Then I smiled.

 Because I realized I wasn't fighting alone.

September 12, 2020 01:02

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Doubra Akika
00:44 Sep 14, 2020

Hey Ash! I loved the ending! And the beginning as well! So glad I was able to read to read this! Loved the narrative till the end and the subtle way things changed for her till the end. Sometimes we build this fake world we know isn’t real and think we can live in it forever but we can’t. I feel like this is something a lot of people can relate to. One or two grammar errors but nothing bad. I really loved this one. Hope you keep writing more! Amazing job again!


19:58 Oct 02, 2020



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Princemark Okibe
07:53 Oct 26, 2020

Introspective and deep. You are very good at focusing on internal conflicts. I think you should replace the adventure tag with the inspirational tag. I don't see the adventure in the story. I know you can't edit this story so my edits are for you to take note for your next story. It is better for a fullstop to end the sentence below, than a comma. [It was the happiest moment of all my seventeen years,] This is because the reader will automatically want to join it with the next sentence and so it may not flow well. [It was the ha...


19:40 Oct 26, 2020

thank you very much again for the comment, much appreciated!


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Adrian Stolecki
16:10 Sep 17, 2020

This was a really good read. It was really introspective and deep in a way that I'm sure many people can relate to. I liked the ending as well, with the narrator finally realizing that their mother was trying her best and going through the same issues. If I could give you a bit of constructive criticism though, try to be careful of run on sentences. For example this segment: I don't know if she expected me to speak, or to break down again and cry in her Baby Phat robe, but I did neither, I just stood there and tried to wait her out w...


19:58 Oct 02, 2020

thank you so much and i'll take note of all that. also i will(:


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