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The Trial This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The green grass crunched under the force of my small feet, then sprang up again with only a tiny crook to mark my passage. Each blade wrapped around my heel or toes and cooled them from the glaring August sun intent on bleaching my platinum blond hair white. I spun around, my hair flying in wide arcs to wrap itself around my ivory throat. I was a pale ghost among the bright greens, purples, reds, and yellows of Nana's summer garden. The sun's efforts could not break through my coconut sunscreen which coated every exposed portion of my body. I threw the lawn dart so that the red plastic whirled around into a pinkish blur and the metal spike couldn't be seen. I kneeled down to pat the old gray poodle who followed me around by the sound of my scampering feet. Her blindness caused me no problems, but her smelly breath did. I ran toward Nana, working with the rich black soil in the garden, for a soft hug from her massive arms. I played in the sticky dirt and played with the light-colored earthworms.

That used to be Nana. Now she is just another person in the long line of betrayals. My eyes well up with salty tears designed to give me relief. Yet I know my tears give me no relief just as hers give none. Less than one town away and we do not speak. We haven't spoken for almost three years. All it took for this schism was the word of a judge.

The small room was cramped with people paying an abnormal amount of attention to me. No one ever noticed my words before. The blood pulsed in rapid bursts in the thin walls of my veins. My eyes couldn't break contact with his greasy face. His wide bald spot winked at me but I stared on. The brownish hair lay limp and greasy in its unsightly ponytail. The hair streaked the back of the uniform. The guards stood on each side of him. Fear and disgust spilled into my throat. I couldn't claim that. He's a bad man from Tommy Town, I thought as my eyes stared forward, no longer seeing.

"Name," said the judge.

"Shawna Lea Wentworth."

"Age."

"Fourteen."

"Do you understand that your age entitles you to take the stand and give an opinion regarding your biological father's parental rights?"

The words were a nonsensical blur. "Yes."

"Who do you wish for your father?"

"Donald Mark Adams." My voice was barely audible.

My body shook when I finally left the stand. The school day I had left behind seemed rosy and pleasant compared to the stuffy room, the judge, and that horrible man. I walked silently to Mom and hid my face. We filed out of the room. By the end of the day, he was no longer my father. The adoption proceedings continued. Nana's threat resounded in my mind. "If you adopt the two children, then I will disown them."

I lost my Nana. Now, she is a surly old woman who smokes and weighs too much for her bones to carry. If she ever looks my way, all I receive are complaints and cross glances. Nana never speaks to me. I do not miss the man from Tommy Town in the beat-up uniform. I do miss Nana and her smiles, jovial laugh, and hugs. Ages have passed and we don't speak. The tears brim over and I cry. fl




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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