Somewhere MAG

January 9, 2012
By Cecilia Woodworth BRONZE, Gladstone, Michigan
Cecilia Woodworth BRONZE, Gladstone, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

In the sticky heat and warm afternoon rains,
With chigger bite-covered legs
That made me look like a beaten child,
Wearing a tight, green skirt with a loose, white shirt and
Bright orange flip-flops,
And skin with no make-up,
But covered in a film of sweat, suntan lotion and DEET,
I learned I was beautiful
And maybe someone nice would love me again
And that I was ready for them.

In a house filled with strangers who were really my closest friends,
With Diet Coke and rum-filled glasses that weren’t allowed,
But tasted sweet and warm
Drunk outside with dirty, bare feet and endless giggles,
Before a conversation that started out right,
But ended in tears and a hug
That told me everything I already knew and denied for too long,
I learned that my problems would only grow until I faced them
And opened my heart to unsaid apologies.

In a strange place filled with strange people who spoke a strange tongue,
Pretending to work and flirting during water breaks
With rowdy boys who stopped and stared
At my pale skin and yelled things I couldn’t understand,
But still answered with a smile and hola,
And listening to bad techno on an old bus,
With a future yuppie trying to hold my hand,
Assuming that beers at eight in the morning impressed me,
Feeling my heart ache while looking at an old picture
Before bed in the spare room,
I learned that I could stop needing him and being sad,
And I could survive without a boyfriend.

In the drizzling rain and mud that sucked at my boots,
In scrubs that weren’t mine and a Mt. Rushmore shirt
With the sleeves tucked under my bra straps,
With everything aching from my shoulders to my back,
Drinking warm water and too much Coke
While throwing chicken bones to starving dogs,
After hauling block in the 90° sun
With gloves a size too big and oil on the tip of my long braid,
I learned I was stronger than I ever thought,
And good for more than just getting As.

In a week that was too short but just long enough to change everything,
With eleven new mothers
Who talked about me when they thought I couldn’t hear,
Braided my hair, said no to late-night discos,
Carried my stuff when I got tired,
And shared their seat towel and shirttail,
With three new fathers
Who rubbed my shoulders and bought me ice cream,
With three new older brothers
Who teased, pulled my hair with a smile and stole my bandanna,
And with two new sisters
Who shared their stories about love, sex and drugs
And laughed about nothing for hours on a bunk bed,
The whole time worrying about breaking it with their weight,
I learned that family doesn’t have to share genes,
Only love, which comes more quickly than I ever thought,
And can bring peace to my entire life.

Between leaving on a fall afternoon with a feeling of dread and nervousness
And coming home to an empty house with a full heart and too much dirty laundry,
Feeling insecure and wondering if I brought too many shoes
And not enough personality,
But being the Ultimate to cover my fears while
Hooking anyone up with anything,
And shakin’ my groove thing to loud Spanish music in a scary, old van
That Myrtle fell out of and I held her hand,
Wanting to be as brave and tough as her,
I learned I was a good person and people should like me,
Because I am something special.

The week of hot days and long nights with noisy air conditioners
I spent in a place that’s dirty and poor called Honduras,
I did more than help people who just have bad luck,
I helped me learn how to be me,
And like it.

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