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A Key to the Soul

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Edie’s body stiffened as she and her father pulled up in front of her mother’s snow-covered house. Although her mother had been dating Vincent for a few months and her parents had been separated for many more, it didn’t make it any easier for Edie to see his beat-up, jungle green Honda in the driveway.

She glimpsed at her father’s face looking for signs of apprehension as he parked the car. She didn’t find any underneath the premature wrinkles of experience, but this didn’t surprise her. Her father was careful not to show his two teenaged daughters any emotion that might betray the fact he was more than a parent.


Edie did not want to leave the comfortable, warm car and stalled by going through her duffel bag to make sure she had everything she had brought to her father’s apartment for the weekend. She loved the time she got to spend with her father, but was looking forward to coming home too. She imagined spending that night alone with her mother sipping hot chocolate with too many marshmallows and watching reruns of Gilmore Girls. She silently hoped Vincent wouldn’t be sleeping overnight.

Edie’s father interrupted her thoughts by saying, “I’ll see you next weekend sweetheart. I won’t leave until you get inside the house.”

“You don’t really have to do that, dad,” she replied, already knowing he wouldn’t change his mind. Without waiting for a response, Edie kissed her father’s cheek and opened the car door, not ready for the strong gust of wind that greeted her. She ran through the frigid cold to the front porch, being careful not to slip as she had done so many times before in her boots that looked great, but didn’t actually lend themselves to comfort or safety.

Edie got into the house, stomped the snow off her boots, and announced her arrival. When her mother stepped into the foyer with a too big to be genuine smile, Edie felt a knot begin to form in her stomach. She understood her mother’s expression and the way her quavering voice asked how her weekend was to mean that she and Vincent were in the middle of one of their frequent fights. All of Edie’s thoughts about her and her mother giggling later on their overstuffed couch vanished. Edie wasn’t far up the stairs before she heard them yelling, apparently starting where they had left off before her interruption. She hated these verbal fights in a way she couldn’t fully understand and always promised herself she would never raise her voice in front of her kids.
A tear rolled down Edie’s left cheek as she closed the door to her room and walked to her framed Audrey Hepburn poster. She quickly took it down and took the gold key that was hanging on the nail underneath it. She unlocked her nightstand drawer and glanced over all of the beautiful journals she had filled in over the years before taking the bright red one at the top. Tears covering her face now, Edie curled up on her bed and started to write on the next blank page of the journal. For as long as she could remember, this was her release—to surrender herself to the writing. Turning her sorrow, joy, and experiences into words felt right, and she let the feelings pour out of her pen. During times like this, the entries were barely legible paragraphs of self-pity, one angry sentence after another. As the page filled up, she grew calmer and the voices downstairs got softer. All was peaceful in Edie’s world for now, but if that changed, there was always the key behind the poster, which was coincidentally, the key to her soul.





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