Life Starts Now.

October 15, 2008
It was an ordinary spring morning in Maine. The sun was shining and the mockingbirds were chirping away in the sky blue background. In the suburban neighborhood, Cloverleaf, moms ran down the sidewalk with their perfect surgery achieved bodies and dads climbed in their overpriced cars that could feed the starving children in Africa. Little tots ran across the crosswalk with nannies running after them, while wishing they could just take a spa day. Spoiled teenagers picked up friends in accident-prone cars, but if they totaled it, daddy would always buy them another one.

If you stepped inside the watercolor glass front door of the Zafree’s enormous estate, you’d see the family that’s been playing the world for years. Mrs. Zafree sat at one end of the dining room table, picking apart an orange, while sipping bottled Fiji water. Mr. Zafree sat at the other end, downing coffee while reading how the stock market is failing even more so than yesterday. Their younger daughter sat on a stool upstairs, blow-drying her straight blonde locks. Their older daughter was applying eyeliner and running a comb through her tangled mess of chestnut brown hair. She scribbled a few words on a scrap piece of paper and shoved it into her pocket. With that, she scrambled downstairs to retrieve her book bag from the couch where she had left it last night after sneaking in at two am. The younger daughter waltzed into the kitchen just as the older daughter did. They grabbed their apples and bit into them, following with a sip of orange juice. Neither parent looked up from what they were doing, so they left for school.

As the older daughter pulled into a parking space, she began to speak.

“Listen to me, Maya. You know mom and dad love you, right?”

“They have a funny way of showing it,” griped Maya.

“But they do. And I love you too. Life’s not always easy, but it’s worth the difficulties.”

“Okay, Michelle. I’ve got to get to class, but we can finish this later, right?”

“Sure. Go learn something useful.”

Maya got out of the car and headed into the elegant building of Rosewood Prep. The bell rang and Michelle squealed out of the parking lot. When she got home, she parked the car in the driveway loop, something never done. Inside, she grabbed a pop tart and headed upstairs. As she finished the pop tart, she pulled a duffle bag out from under her bed. Michelle tossed undergarments, socks, jeans, tees, hoodies, and personal items inside. She packed up her laptop and various cables as well as a few books. She grabbed an empty handbag and shoved jewelry, make-up, and a stuffed bear inside. She threw on a grey hoodie and brought her bags downstairs where she shoveled food into her duffle. With her belongings strapped to her shoulder, she tossed the scrap paper from her pocket onto the counter along with her car keys. She walked a few streets down to the grimy bus stop.

As Michelle took a seat on the back of the bus, she turned her eyes to watch her old life disappear into the bleak distance. And truth be told, she wasn’t going to miss it.

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