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A Little Star Carved Into Wood
“Mom?” I said, calling out for what seemed like the thousandth time in 336 hours. I got the answer that I was expecting. Silence. But still, there was always a tiny sliver of hope, when I called out, that my mother would be there, calling back to me. For some reason, I had a feeling that although she was gone, she really wasn’t, and was still with me. But then again, it could just be my "low I.Q." having an effect on me. I sighed and went outside to the barn, and to my only friend.
I combed through Betsy’s dark brown mane as she ate oats out of the trough. She was always so peaceful, so quiet, so much more different then the chickens, who I had a mutual agreement to stay away from them and vice versa. Of course, this was excepting feeding them and taking the hens’ eggs. However, even that sometimes got them to cause a ruckus in the barn, squawking, and scaring all the other farm animals. The only animal in the barn that never got scared was Betsy. Maybe it was her unchanging tranquil state that made her my best friend. Well, I mean, I didn’t have any friends in town, so I guess a horse and other farm animals would be my only other options.
In fact, I don’t think anyone liked me, besides my mom, and she was...gone. I mean, I have a kind of reddish brown hair with plenty of split ends, wear the same outfit, levi blue jeans and a red Beatles shirt with the faded words “all you need is love.” No one liked me. As a kid at school, I was the one who asked the dumb questions and finally got the jokes 3 weeks too late. After being classified as “stupid” by everyone, my mom homeschooled me, and
When I came out of the barn, it was already dark. I went home and ate my hard-boiled egg and warm milk in silence. Maybe that was where I missed my mother the most. Her cooking. I silently blinked back tears that now refused to fall, and breathed deeply. I had to be strong. Not only for myself, but for my mom, who always believed that I was destined for more than becoming a farmer. Like my father and his father and his father before him.
My brain went into autopilot as I finished my food, wiped the table down, washed the dishes, and went to bed, feeling filthy as I saw straws of hay and clumps of mud sticking onto my shirt. However, I didn’t have the luxury to take a bath. I guess I would just have to wait till Saturday, the only day when I could. I only had a limited supply of firewood, and unfortunately, it was getting used up faster than I originally thought. I chewed on my bottom lip, slightly irritated that I would have to get more firewood in two weeks. I pulled the paper-thin sheets over my thin frame and went to sleep. All the while hoping that maybe the next night I would have something else to eat besides eggs and milk.
I woke up earlier than usual. It was still dark outside, and I sat on the stairs of my almost-broken-but-not-quite porch, wishing like I did every morning that mom was next to me.Although I was sad, I felt a strange sense of peace as I remembered my mother’s last words to me. “Darlin,” She weakly drawled in her southern accent, “You gotta chase your dreams.” She coughed. “You gotta reach for the stars, cause the stars sure ain’t gonna reach for you.” I smiled grimly at the memory and realized that as I was thinking of my mother, I had absentmindedly carved a star into a soft piece of wood that I sat in a flower pot.
As I entered my lifeless shack, I sat in the living room and attempted to clean the house. Mom had always said that a clean home made her happy. At the time, I had asked her why she wasn’t happy. She had just smiled and said, “Honey, you make me happy.”
I looked around the room full of memories and my eyes landed on the fiddle nearby. It was my dad’s fiddle. He had always wanted to teach my mom, but instead, he got to teach me.
I slowly opened the oddly shaped brown box, and blew the dust off the instrument. Before my dad died, he had taught me how to play it, but after he died, I put it down and I hadn’t picked it up for 3 years. Taking the next few days, I recalled all that I had learned, and successfully played a few of my mom’s favorite songs. Each song brought me back into a happy place where I hadn’t been for two weeks.
However, the weather soon turned chilly, and fall rolled by. My firewood supply had long been gone, and I was desperate to get my hands on some. Riding Betsy into town 5 miles away, I figured the faster I got in, the faster I’d get out.
I sprinted outside the shop with two bundles of wood, cradled in my arms. I almost expected to hear shouts from inside the shop, or the people outside screaming “Thief! Thief!” But I heard nothing. I swung myself onto Betsy, and her, sensing a new kind of urgency on me, ran like the wind all the way home.
However, as I ate my dinner of milk and a hard-boiled egg by the fire that night, I could almost hear my mother softly rebuking my actions. Unable to sleep, I sat next to the fire and thought about how pathetic my life was. How bland my life was. How it was exactly opposite than what my mom wanted my life to be. Staring at everything around me, I realized I needed to leave.
The next morning, I packed my bags with the bare essentials and as much food as I could fit, and I bundled up and hauled myself onto Betsy. As I opened the barnyard stalls and whispered goodbye to the rest of the animals, I realized with a pang of sadness, that I would actually miss the chickens, and the cows, and the goats, and the house. I would miss it all.
But leaving the house, I saw the little block of wood in the flower pot with a star carved in it, and at that moment, I realized, while hugging my fiddle tight, that just like the star was carved into the wood, I was going to be the star making my mark in history.