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AMAZON

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I could see the trees and vines from the edge of the dirt road we were driving on. The air was heavy, as were my eyes as I peered unknowingly through the thick fog. I stepped out of the vehicle cautiously and took another step forward. I brushed leaves and branches out of my path as I entered through the majestic gates. I knew instantly that I had reached the jungle. I watched, amused, as two baby tigers padded carefully across a stream. I looked across the way and spotted a chimpanzee swinging from a deep green vine, cooing in the process. I spun back around and watched as three full-grown lions devoured an innocent deer as if it were nothing. I took a single step forward and the animals stopped cold. They looked up at me curiously; they knew I was an outlier. One of the lions approached me, sniffed me and turned away immediately, as if the scent of my designer perfume was nauseating. Her head snapped back in my direction so quickly I fell to the earthy ground. The animals laughed uproariously at my fumble. I closed my eyes tightly in attempts to make the laughter go away, but when I opened them, I found myself on the floor to the entranceway of my high school, surrounded by a crowd of giggling spectators.

It was my first day of public school, and I had already found myself on the floor. I was off to a great start.

After one of my audience members so kindly helped me up, I proceeded through the rest of my first day timidly, which was extremely out of character. I didn’t talk in any of my classes, even though I knew all of the answers. I sat in a bathroom stall during lunch, foodless and friendless. I waited outside the office for my father to pick me up after the final bell rang. He comforted me gently as I cried the entire ride home.

That night, I finished my homework and reacquainted my left ear with my pillow. As I lay in bed, I found myself again driving along a thin dirt road, bypassing vines and leaves. I reentered the jungle apprehensively, unaware of the animals’ intentions. The same lion approached me again, but this time, she held her paw out for me to grab.

She whispered, “You don’t deserve to be unhappy,” and we spun away into a vast field of creatures and wildlife alike. I noticed how different each animal was; each with their own mannerisms, their own culture, and their own resilient spirit. The blend was so beautiful, something I’d never known before. The lion reached her paw out again, this time to wipe away my tears. She laced my fingers between her fur and we returned to the jungle.

My alarm buzzed loudly. The lion smiled at me and nodded, as if she were reading my mind.

Day two, here I come.



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