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Life is very difficult when you have a secret to keep. MY life is even harder because I’m keeping my whole world a secret. If I tell you what happened to me, you can’t tell anyone else. Ever. So here goes nothing...
My name is Alison Monteith. My parents abandoned me when I was born. I guess they were too busy with their jobs and social lives. I never got the love I deserved. I was sent to the local orphanage, The Home for Little Wanderers, in Boston, Massachusetts. After my parents sent me here, they moved to San Diego to start their lives anew. They left me with just a little lavender blanket and a note explaining why they left me.
I’d been living at H.L.M for the past 13 years. I was going to turn fourteen within the next week. The only thing I really wanted was more art supplies. All they gave me at H.L.M was some printer paper and a few worn out pens. I had used wonderful art supplies once when Marilyn Demington, the biggest donor to H.L.M, took all the kids to the city art museum for the day.
Every day, I would walk past it and dream about one of my drawings being in that museum. Everyone would be able to walk through those majestic gold doors and look at my art through those fancy glass cases with the little cards explaining the art’s purpose.
We walked in the museum and had a grand tour. I was left on my own a few times because I was trying to make mental notes of the art for future sketch ideas. after we had our tour, they took us to the old cafeteria, a medium-sized room with a few tables. In front of us was some big, beige drawing paper, and pencils in every color of the rainbow. I’d developed a liking and with the supplies, and I know this because I sat there drawing and experimenting with those pencils for hours.
So. my only wish for a gift last year were those exact art supplies. When my birthday arrived on June 24th, I slept in. That was something I didn’t get to do very often. After I woke up, I went to the kitchen for my usual choice of oatmeal or cereal, and poured some Frosted Flakes into my favorite pottery bowl that was painted pink with violet flower and a beautiful sun shining down on them. After my breakfast, I went outside and wrote a note that I would be back at about 9:00. I walked by the museum, through the park, and along the stone wall that had engraved names of war veterans. I strolled back home, and arrived at the front door to the most magnificent surprise.
The kids, adults, and staff were waiting for me with presents, cake, balloons, and homemade cards. I thought everyone had forgotten, but instead they had been keeping the secret from me. Now that I think about it, it did make sense when Mary-Kate, my best friend, had told me she had to miss the volleyball game we were playing because she didn’t feel good. She must have gone to the town CVS to pick up all the party supplies.
Mary-Kate has been my best friend since she arrived here at H.L.M six years ago. Her parents brought her here when they couldn’t afford insurance, a home, or enough food for the family. She was only five when she came, but now she treasures everything she has because she knows how important it will be later on.
Every Wednesday, we play volleyball outside. The building consists of the main building, a little house-sized building for learning, and a rusty swing set with a basketball court next to it. We used the court for basketball, volleyball, soccer, jump rope, baseball, and even cards when we just needed some fresh air outside.
Anyway, Mary-Kate loves volleyball, and honestly she’s better than most of the fifteen year olds here. She ‘s always focused and she never misses the ball, unless she’s playing against me, then she lets me win.
We celebrated my birthday for hours. We played, ate, sang, and danced. It was time to open gifts, and Mary-Kate wanted to be last. The first gift I opened was from all the kids. It was Carrie Underwood’s new album. She’s my favorite singer, and the only other CD I had to listen to on the CD player was Beyonce’s 2009 album.
I opened a few cards the other girls had made for me which was really sweet of them. Mary-Kate gave me this huge thing with plastic bags cut apart to cover it up. She was the best friend anyone could ever ask for.
The drawing pad she got me was the exact kind we had used at the at museum a few years before. She even taped some charcoal pencils on the top. I spent the rest of the day hugging her, thanking her, and was waiting for night to fall so I could test everything out.
I was in my bunk staring at the cover of the drawing pad. Strathmore Drawing, Medium-sized pad; Works great with charcoal! There were 24 pages to sketch on, and I figured since this was all I had, i should use it sparingly. I began my first drawing of a young girl who looked sad and depressed. She was sitting alone in the park in a large city feeling lonely and outcast. She had a blanket over her knees, and was staring up into the sky. That was not me. What did I have to feel sad about? My life was great. Okay, maybe not great, but it was good. I had a great family, an actual home, and people who loved me. Riches and money can’t change that.
The next day, I took my daily walk, but saw something unusual about the park.
Maybe I was just a little groggy from the night’s celebration before, but there seemed to be a girl exactly identical to the one I’d drawn in my sketch pad. Come on, Alison , I thought, you’ve got to be imagining it. I walked along a different wall to get a closer look. She had a blanket draped across her knees! I needed to rest, and get some water.
I went back home, and sat on the two-person bench with my blanket under the shade of the tree. I had all my supplies with me. I relaxed; cleared my mind of all thoughts, and focused on something to draw.
The girl in my sketch was lying on her bed, looking out the window at the stars. There was a constellation of the Big Dipper.
Mary-Kate yelled to me from a few yards away and made my pencil slip. I scratched the girls face. There was a dark charcoal line running diagonally from the bottom of her eye to her mid-cheek.
Mary-Kate was calling for me to play volleyball. We played all night until the moon was directly above us. Its so fun to have so many people surrounding you with love.
That night, I walked into where Mary-Kate slept so I could say goodnight. I noticed she had a scratch on her face. I asked what happened, and she said she was getting into obed, and the broken window scraped her cheek. Oddly enough, she was sitting in the exact same area my character in my sketch had been in. I had a strange feeling about this.
I was in bed the next night, and drew a shooting star to test my theory. I looked out the window and a gleaming ball of light shot across the sky. I was right.
My drawings were coming to life somehow. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I realized that when I drew something, I was basically changing the world. I had added two people to this earth! My drawing were going to have to be simple and plain. If, for example, I drew a sunny orphanage with golden gates and all the money you could ever imagine, everyone would want to be here. Nothing would be the same.
I had thought about this while I faked sick for two days. There was a way I could give myself the things I wanted. Not in a selfish way, but just enough for me to be happy. The one thing I wanted was a new coat for the upcoming winter.
There were twenty-four pages in the book. I had already used up sixteen. My seventeenth drawing was a woman bringing a box of coats for the orphanage. There was a young girl rushing out the door with a pink ribbon flying out of her hair.
The very next day, I heard someone buzz in at the front door. There was a woman with dark hair and gold earrings. She was in a plum suit with fairly fancy shoes on. I overheard her say her grandkids grew out of some coats and she no longer needed them. I loosened the ribbon in my hair, and ran outside to get first dibs. I ended up with a mid-length navy church coat. It was really warm, and I promised myself I would take real good care of it.

Now that I had the one thing I needed, I thought of something everyone could use. Food. We always ran low on cereal. We were used to eating it dry because milk is really expensive. I drew a mailman with a map on his windshield. The directions pointed to H.L.M. I drew this right before breakfast to get a good serving that morning. When I came down to the dining hall, there was a full table of all the cereals with milk in glasses. Marion, the volunteer cook, said there were tons of cartons of milk delivered and we would have enough to last the whole week before it went bad.
There was room for one more drawing after I used the paper to make sketches to change minor things like the dead flowers in the park, or the crack in the steps to go in the kitchen.
Before drawing anything on that page, I realized something I never thought of before. The real meaning of magic is to make yourself imagine. I drew these things to help others, when really nobody needed the help. I love my life just the way it is.
The final drawing I had was a girl and her friends on a basktball court playing volleyball. Above them was a dark sky full of gleaming stars shining down on them. The moon was just right, and every kid was smiling. I called it Starlight.
The only thing that lit up my life were the stars. To this day, I value them more than anything. They are the things that keep your wishing, and no wish is worth more than love.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Mallory W. said...
Feb. 20, 2013 at 10:46 am
*Story not article.
Mallory W. said...
Feb. 20, 2013 at 10:43 am
Lilly, This article is well written and very creative. Great Job!
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