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Grandmother Bettina B. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

When I was young, I watched cartoons and movies where squiggly lines were words. ­Obviously, it was just a representation of writing, but I believed in it. I wrote pages upon pages of little etched lines, thinking I was a genius. I thought words were easy. For a brief while, I thought I was the Keats of kindergarten.

And you, in your dress of a past age, raven-haired and clumsily magnificent, told me I was wrong. You said, simply, “Words aren't just lines, they have to mean something.” And I cried, and screamed, and grew red like a balloon. I knew I couldn't be wrong. You are trying to ruin or ­stifle or crush me, I thought. And I was angry for a solid week. Until, slowly, as always, I realized you held the key. You were right – words have to mean something. I felt so deceived by the crafty cartoons, the lying lines that meant nothing. I never admitted defeat, but you knew.

And now, words don't just mean something; they're my everything.

I want you to know that. Eleven years gone, your memory is a faded ruby in the necklace of my life. When I think of you, the sun of your existence grows less hot with clouds of time. But you should know now, in a corner of my heart, there are squiggly lines that only you can read.

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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