Steps to Avoiding the Straight and Narrow

Submitted into Contest #179 in response to: Write a story in the form of a list of New Year's resolutions.... view prompt


Coming of Age Teens & Young Adult Adventure

This story contains themes or mentions of suicide or self harm.

2. Absorb Newport

   In my very brief 18 years of life as Victoria Mendell, I say brief not because at 18 years old I am still young, but because at 18 there is not much in life that I can recall, I have never known a slight like this. The cool breeze makes its way underneath the layers of my winter coat as I stand looking towards a startling view of the Atlantic on the balcony of a home rich with history and memories. An untouchable legacy that I have been waiting to explore since the moment I learned about the age from which it came in my AP US History course. This in front of me is a part of the heart of the Gilded Age. Unlived for many decades, yet as I move from room to room there is a story of life told by every bedside. In my life, I have developed a desire to understand and absorb the past, reconstruct it for the future, and create better days. This, my family, could never understand because what could a minor degree in English Literature or History possibly take me? All except for one who is currently chasing their dreams elsewhere, although we promised to meet each other along the way here once spring returns. 

3. Dissect the Pacific 

   Once when I was let loose long enough to attend a summer camp with a friend, We found ourselves at a beautiful camp up north with an indescribable atmosphere. Every activity, every night spent bent over the campfire, exchanging stories, culture, and tales of life was filled with ethereal energy. Once as we sat together closing out the day, we learned the story of two siblings there from a place where it was customary to give up a child to a family member who was unable to have a child and raise them as their very own. True life sacrifice and service to your neighbor as the bible that my parents would have me read every week taught. Siblings raised as cousins 3 doors away, but no less bonded than any sisters raised in the same home. As a person who has taken almost every opportunity to come my way to escape the borders of my hometown and explore the unknown, I hung off every word and description, deciding then that their homeland would be one of my first stops when I was free to leave the country. Renewed is how I left there, and renewed is how I felt returning every time since. A few months ago, I learned that a member of our small little community was lost. 4 times over this past year I have learned that sometimes we will lose people along the way. But even now being a bit older at 18 and with this permanent trace of sadness on the memory, the call to the Pacific has yet to leave me. 

      4. Take On Taylor 

This Christmas I sat on a loveseat with a small weight on my lap looking down on some of the tiniest fingernails I have ever seen. As my eyes travel up the arm attached to the body of a curious 6-month-old baby, with every breath she breathes out new life. Growing up in a family where there are at least two kids for each of my mother's 7 siblings, there is always a responsibility to a child that is not yours. Kayla, one of the many babies born into the family this year, looks around the room and flinches slightly at a booming voice coming from the kitchen where they are arguing about one thing or the next. Living in one of the less fortunate areas of this extremely wealthy state and having an ever-growing hate of the uses and need of money, I am determined to contribute what I can to the Taylor Project, a childcare service for low-income households at the local community center. With more than enough experience in child care, I will apply for the position of child attendant. Kayla lets out a squeal and I look down at her in time to catch her recognizing the fact that the hand she is reaching out is her own. Hope, when I look at her I see hope. And if I keep my eyes on her as much as I do the world around me, this hope is made valid.

  1. Chase Change

Staring at the walls that have held me for 17 of the 18 years of my life, layers of chipped paint covering every word I inscribed into them in desperation. Desperation to be seen and not looked at, to not just be heard, but listened to, I make a new resolution. In a few short months, I will be continuing the journey. As I part ways, for every tear shed within this place, I will take a hundred steps in the direction of every calling. I vow to never fail to breathe in every experience life offers me. This journey, it isn't always from one destination to the next. I understand that sometimes the paths that will lead me to everything I’m chasing may lead me from onshore or within waves. Or it may come after the wave has already crashed into me and through my life and I might not think I have the strength to stand again and may consider traveling backward into old ways but I know that I must get up again because this journey is never over until it all ends. And I may find myself in places I don't understand with people I don’t recognize and may not always speak their language but as long as I reach out above and around me to the call, things will fall into place and I will find myself exactly where I need to be. 

I'm only 18 and while I may not remember a lot of it, I know that I have lived much and have so much more life to go. 

January 06, 2023 16:14

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Delbert Griffith
18:20 Jan 07, 2023

This is a very heartwarming and inspiring story, Abrielle. I really liked the way you attacked each resolution (yes, attacked. You went in with zeal and vigor!) Excellent concept and written with energy and enthusiasm. Nice!


Abrielle Pope
18:19 Jan 08, 2023

Thank you so much!


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Brenda Wilson
19:25 Jan 12, 2023

Hi, Abrielle! Your descriptions and the way your character self-reflects are beautifully done. I love the "walls that have held me" line. Such a cool image for a childhood home. I will say, I'm not sure why the number one was last. I spent a few minutes in the beginning of the story wondering if I had missed something because it started at two. Then was thrown off when I got to one at the end. Maybe starting at four and going backwards could have helped?


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