My Inspiration This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My story is about a very special person I met over the summer, someone who taught me a lot about myself. I'm sharing this in hopes that it helps at least one person realize that no matter what happens, you're not alone.

Let me start by saying that I'm a single mother of a two-year-old little girl named Brittany. It was March 29th, 1992. I had gone to my grandmother's funeral and Brittany had stayed at my best friend's house to play with Neil and Joe, her twins.

Tammy had talked with me about introducing me to a friend of hers, but I didn't think much about it at the time. When I came home from the funeral, she and her husband told me that they had invited Brett over. We hit it off instantly, but he was only home for a week. You see, he was in the Marine Corps and had just come home from boot camp. We spent the week together, then he left for North Carolina. We promised to keep in touch.

I was devastated when he left. I felt very alone. I was used to being alone, so it shouldn't have mattered, but I had fallen in love with him. He was very good to Brittany, and to me. We understood that he would be gone for four years, but I was willing to wait for him.

A week after he left, his mother came over for coffee. We got along great and started spending a lot of time together. I guess we helped each other through the loneliness.

Then Brett came home again in June for one week. We talked a lot in that week about our futures. He said I should go back to school. I had quit school three years before, and after Brittany came along I hadn't thought much about going back. He brought up a lot of good points, but I still didn't think that I could do it. He told me I could achieve anything if I tried hard enough.

He was then stationed in Okinawa, Japan for one year. We had decided to be just friends. It hurt a lot to say good-bye to someone who meant so much, but I knew that if it was meant to be, then it would be. We'd grown really close in the last seven months. He helped me to believe in myself when I thought I was alone.

Two months after he left, I enrolled in school. I'm 19 years old and in the 11th grade, but that doesn't matter. All that matters is that I believe in myself. All it took was for someone else to believe in me. It's hard, I won't deny that. I hate being away from Brittany. I know that in the long run it'll be worth it, and I'll wear that cap and gown with a very big smile on my face.

Brett and I still keep in touch and I hope it will stay that way. He's very important to me. I've never met a more caring and loving person. He brought new meaning to my life and for that I'll never forget him.

I not only gained self-confidence, but I also gained a very loving family. Though they aren't my own, they are always there for me. His mother helps me through the hard times, and when Brittany goes in for surgery every six weeks, she always checks to make sure we are all right. If I ever need to talk, she's right there for me. When I get down on myself, she always has a kind word to lift my spirits. They treat Brittany and me as part of the family.

So, my advice to anyone who has either quit school, or is thinking about it, go back; don't quit. It's worth it in the end and you'll be proud of yourself when you put on that cap and gown and walk up to get your diploma. You're not alone; someone will always believe in you, just like Brett believed in me. n


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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