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My name is Mira. I don’t know what my last name is. I doubt I’ll ever know. All of my life, or at least, for as long as I can remember I’ve lived on the streets, by myself for most of the time. I’ve lived as a so called “homeless person”. I don’t consider myself a homeless person though; in my opinion the world is my home. Because, you see, I think that a home is not necessarily the place that you love; filled with the people you love. After all some people hate their homes or hate the people in their homes. Some people don’t have anyone in their homes. In my opinion a home is somewhere that you know and understand. I definitely understand the earth, the highs and the lows- I’ve seen them both. I know a lot of it too, as I’ve moved around from place to place constantly, trying to hide from life and the police officers who don’t like homeless little girls.
I’m not exactly a little girl, because I’m almost fifteen but I’ve lived like this since I was in first grade. Before that I lived with my mother, who I remember only as a beautiful woman. However, she must not have had as beautiful of a heart, because she abandoned me when I was six. When I was with her, though, my life was probably worse. I don’t know for sure because I don’t have a good memory to begin with, but I think I blocked out a lot of my life with her. You see, today, I’m pretty sure she abused me. My reasoning for this is all of the unexplained scars and burns and bumps up and down my arms and legs and across my chest. I hope that there’s some reason other than abuse for these pieces of my past on my skin, but in a way, I doubt it. I don’t really understand how anyone could act like that. I get that her life was pretty damn bad, more than that, actually, but I don’t think it was at all necessary for her to take it out on me, her child. You’re supposed to love a child. I don’t think my mother loved me. Because of this, for a long time, I felt like no one would ever love me, and I didn’t love anyone either.
I said that I blocked out my life with my mother, but my first day as a motherless child is a day I’ll always remember. It was a normal day for the most part- a typical day in the first grade- that is, until the end of the day. Normally, you see, at the end of the day, my mother would walk to the school and pick me up. But that day, she never came. I remember it all: the long waiting with my teacher outside the school, how she was my favorite teacher- Mrs. Meech. I remember how windy it was, how all I wanted was to go inside and get warm. I remember watching as the other children got picked-up all smiles, as they rode away in their fancy cars. Even at my young age I knew that these were the types of cars that my mother and I would never have. Eventually all the kids were gone and Mrs. Meech was beginning to look concerned. I remember shivering from the cold and she stood me in front of her and zipped me up inside her windbreaker with her. And we still waited. When it got unbearably cold she took me to the office so she could call my mom. My mom never picked up. The school secretary went to the principal who made some more calls. I was sitting in this big chair in that office, taking everything in with big eyes. The secretary gave me her phone to play with, but I could tell that something was wrong, so I only pretended to play the racing game that was on there. I was really still watching. I always watched.
Eventually some workers from the foster care unit came to get me. I got away from them quickly. One thing I do remember about my life with my mother is her teaching me to never to trust anyone in uniform. I know now that she meant police officers, presumably because they liked her as much as they like homeless little girls, possibly even worse. However, until I was old enough to figure that out, I was scared of mailmen, and janitors, and even people wearing things like tuxedos or suits. The people who came to get me were dressed in these all-white jumpers, which, looking back at now were really dorky, but at the time, were terrifying to me. So as soon as the plain white car with me and the coated-in-white workers in it stopped at a stoplight, I jumped out and ran for my life. They weren’t expecting it at all, I’m guessing they were used to kids my age as being sweet and trusting, but that wasn’t me at all. I trusted very few people. So I ran and they couldn’t get me- I was already hidden in a tree by the time they were able to get out of the car and put up a chase.
I’ve always been a good climber and I assume it was because of my mother. Sometimes when I try to remember my time with her, I think of a small yellow building, a house. I’ve decided that it was my mother and my house. It’s tiny, too tiny to find a place to escape from an abusive mother in. I’m guessing that when my mother was dangerous I made a beeline for the trees. That’s what I do now anyways, whenever I see trouble. So the second I was out of that white car I was climbing, and once I was climbing no one had a chance of catching me. And they’ve never caught me since that day- no one has even the smallest chance of catching me when I’m in a tree.
Ever since that day I have moved around, living like a nomad, but one with big blue eyes, and blonde hair, not like the typical African ones. I’ve hidden in people’s backyards, mostly the ones with unused little playhouses that were probably cute at one point. The ones that I stay in, though, have either been outgrown or overthrown by bugs and spiders. I’ve also set up shelters in abandoned buildings, though honestly these aren’t my favorites. There’s just something about a place that’s been abandoned that gives me goose bumps. Maybe it’s because I was abandoned too. No matter what the reason though, I avoided these. At one point I even lived in a small group of runaways, set up like a camp, which was the best. Seeing other people like me, who had to deal with what I did, was comforting. I rarely stuck around there though. I couldn’t ever make connections-I was too drifty. And it wasn’t like anyone cared about me there. So I would just move on. Life was hard, but my life had always been hard- I never knew any difference, so I was fine.
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When I was thirteen years old, I met him. That ‘him’ needs to be emphasized, it’s more than necessary, because he was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met him at a potluck supper at a random church. Everyone around me was there for family and fellowship and friends. I was there for the free dinner and air conditioning. I had done this many times before, that is, snuck into gatherings where I would get food and the occasional entertainment. This dinner was different though, it was not ordinary, because he saw me. He was a teenage boy, named Zachary, who was about a year older than I was. He just walked right up and sat down with me and started talking. I didn’t know what to say at first, I hadn’t been to school since that horrible day in first grade, and I had no experience with boys. After he kept chatting I decided I didn’t care and I started telling him all about my life, the same way that he had done to me. Zachary learned about my past, and I learned about his. He told me how he was a foster child, and he’d moved through the system since he was seven, when his mother had died of cancer. Apparently, his father was long out of the picture so Zach was sent to the foster system, the same way that I was. He stayed with it though, and because of this, unlike me, he’d had a dictionary-defined ‘real home’. However, he said that my life sounded steadier than his, as he’d lived with over twenty families. I said he should run away, the same way that I had when I was little. At that point, I was already amazed, infatuated even, with this boy, Zach, the one person that had ever seemed to actually care about me, or, as a matter of fact, even talk to me. I held my breath as he answered me. His answer confirmed that he felt the same way about me.
“I think I might… if I can stay with you”
I agreed immediately, and we have been together for over a year now. We have fallen in love many times over during this year, as we connect more and more. I am finally able to see that I can be appreciated, and it’s the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. Zach has taught me to open up more, to people and to my home. I have taught him to be braver and stronger and to stand up for himself more. At this point, I have opened up to him more than I can say, and when his now strong arms are around me, I open up even more.
Another thing that Zachary taught me was the Stars game. Every night, for as long as he could remember, he said, he would go outside and look up at the sky, at the stars. He would find the biggest star first, and that would be the biggest, most special person in his life. He said that that was me now. He would gaze at the sky for an hour or more, every night when the stars came out. He said it helped him remember his loved ones better, and that when he played Stars he felt like he was making a connection with them. Whenever he said this I would say that he already had the best possible connection with me and he didn’t need a star to help him get closer. But Zachary didn’t care. I tried to play with him, but whenever I did, I ended up depressed, because, Zachary was the only person I truly loved. I was thirteen years old, and I only loved ONE person! Zachary would try to console me, and say that our love should count for more than one star, but I wasn’t ever comforted.
I don’t really know why this bothered me so much. In a way, it shouldn’t have, because Zach was right. I loved him more and better than anyone had ever loved anything before. So why did I need someone else? The part of me with common sense told me I was ridiculous, that I had everything with Zach and there was no reason whatsoever for me want someone else. But another part of me, the part of me that was louder, said that I DID need someone else. It said that maybe, just maybe, there WAS someone else, someone from my past who I had forgotten, or blocked out because they were connected to my mother. I didn’t know, and I doubted I ever would. So I tried, as hard as I could to be happy, and most of the time I was. It was just during the Stars game that I wasn’t. But the longer I was with Zach, the better and easier it got. It was hard to stay sad around my Zach, the best thing that had ever happened to me.
I knew that Zach and I would be together forever, for as long as we lived.
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On my fifteenth birthday, Zachary gave me fifteen kisses in the morning. That afternoon we braved the city to go to lunch. We went to Chick Fil A, which for two ‘homeless’ teenagers was like gourmet food. After I finished my nuggets and we split some ice cream, we went outside. We walked around the city park, looking at the luscious grass, and the gorgeous pond, and the large rocks surrounding it, just talking for hours, until the sun went down. Then we sat down on a bright green park bench and looked at the stars. He said that that night, fifteen of the stars could be mine. When he had gone over all fifteen he took my hands.
“Mira”, he said in an intense voice “I will love you forever, no matter what happens.”
We held onto each other and I cried onto his shoulder. For an hour we stayed like this and then we just talked – about anything, everything- until it was the next day, the day after my birthday.
Probably around one in the morning Zach needs to use the bathroom. He gets up and jogs to this open-all-night café we’d discovered down the block, saying he’d be back in the next five minutes. He says he has a surprise planned for me. While he’s gone I stare at the stars, naming fifteen of them after Zachary. Then I wrack at my brain trying desperately to think of more people.
It is then that I hear the footsteps. They’re moving towards me, and quickly too. I turn my head to the direction they’re coming from, but it’s too dark for me to see who it is. This makes me uncomfortable, I hate when I don’t know what is happening around me. So I stand up, hoping that might help me. But the second that I am on my feet, I’m tackled to the ground, and I hit it hard. I moan in pain, and try to stand back up, but something slams into my chest and I’m down. Then someone’s on top of me.
“Zach?” I ask groggily. My head hurts and I’m not thinking clearly at all, so I’m not resisting. I’m thinking it’s Zachary, and that this has to do with my surprise, so resisting wouldn’t be necessary. But then the ‘someone’ on top of me started tearing at my clothes.
“NO!” I shriek “Zachary, stop that! I’m not ready!”
The person keeps tearing and I know that this is NOT my Zach. So that’s when I start fighting. I’m clawing and kicking and yelling and whoever my attacker is, is clawing and kicking and yelling back. I can’t get him off. I’m trying as hard as I can, but I can’t and I hurt- it hurts! Then I hear more footsteps, and it’s Zachary. He’s shouting out my name frantically, and then he’s on the ground, trying to pull this person off of me. Together we manage to throw him off and Zachary pulls me up. Immediately we start running. But even though we’re going at top speed my attacker is gaining quickly, also at top speed. Luckily Zach and I are coming to a tree, and we’re climbing as soon as we hit it.
When we’re about 80 feet up, Zach pulls me onto a sturdy branch beside him and pulls me into his arms, hugging me tightly and trying to comfort me. I start crying all over him, and he starts crying too. He squeezes me hard, but suddenly he tenses, and then pulls back-
“Oh Jesus” he breathes and I look down and see my attacker about 30 feet below us. At first I’m thinking that he’ll never catch us, we’re way to fast. Then I see the rock, large, about the size of a football. He’s gripping it tightly in his hand and grinning. I realize that he catching us is not the problem.
Zach starts climbing again, and he’s pulling me to the next branch, when I hear the whiz of what I know is the rock flying through the air. It hits me in my lower back- hard- and even Zachary’s strong arms can’t hold onto me because I’m falling. I hear his terrified yell as I fall, which I know happens fast but feels like it’s taking place over the course of a thousand years. And then everything is black.
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“Mira…Mira… Mira please wake up!”

“Mira please… I NEED you”

“Please, Mira!”

“Mira don’t leave me… wake up!”

“Wake up…. Wake up right now, Mira, please!”

“Mira if you wake up all the stars in the sky can be for you!”
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I’m fading in out of blackness and it’s strange. One second I’m completely in the dark and there’s nothing. Then I can hear a voice, a voice that I know I love but I don’t know why. I don’t know why any of this is happening. This voice sounds scared, but it’s very quiet and gentle like whoever’s speaking doesn’t want to scare me. I’m still scared though. I ache all over and I have no idea what is going on, and I hate it so much. I go into another phase of the black and the voice goes away. Then it comes back and it’s pleading with me and I want to answer so badly but my lips won’t work, none of me will work and it frustrating me.

Something comes into my vision- a face. I recognize this face and I’m trying to figure out how but my brain is too numb and it won’t work. The face is slowly replaced by something bright: a star. Its brightening at a steady pace- it’s the brightest star I’ve ever seen. I hear someone saying a name, and I think it’s my name. They’re repeating it over and over again. The star keeps getting brighter.

Then, the star is gone. I am gone.

All the stars in the sky are gone.



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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

loverofbooks said...
Apr. 5 at 1:07 pm:
This story was so amazing!  The writing and story were so addictive and I seriously found myself wrapped in it. The only negative I have would be the ending, and I say that for two reasons.  One, well, you will see when you get there and two, I WANT MORE!!!  Awesome story!  
 
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holly1999This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 27 at 4:12 pm:
Wow! Great story. The description and emotion is great...very touching.
 
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Jetta_WroteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 26 at 7:32 pm:
I think you could do a bit more with separating it into paragraphs, so it's more pleasing to the eye. I love how it's got a lot of thought at the beginning; it's really interesting. I also like the flashbacks that you include. You're also great at not making adjacent sentences sound like each other; in other words, each sentence has a different starting word, and that's unique! Sometimes, you're missing a comma, but your grammar is actually really impressive!... Loved the... (more »)
 
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runner-girl-4-everThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 20 at 6:00 pm:
Wow! That was amazing Claire! :) I love the descriptions....really touching and tragic. 
 
ClaireBearBThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Mar. 22 at 3:23 pm :
Thank you so much!!
 
Alicia_is_America replied...
Mar. 22 at 6:13 pm :
That is an amazing story! Keep writing Claire!
 
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