December 7, 2009
She takes the large, soft hand of her love,
the diamond sparkling on her left finger,
interlaced with his hands that have never worked a day.
She displays to the world she is taken.
His and his alone.

This is what she has waited for.
To plan a white day with yellow daisies.
Happily proclaiming, “I do” to the perfect man.
Dancing away the night with her new favorite people.
She is content.

Her face has not changed,
Yet she seems different. Cleaner. Preppier.
Hair pulled straight back into an elegant ponytail,
all high school nonchalance about style—forgotten.
No torn and faded band tee,
but a crisp Brooks Brothers polo instead.
No Lucky Brand.
Only Lilly Pulitzer.
No more Converse and Vans.
Sperry’s and ballet flats adorn her high-class feet.

She has changed, if only in attitude.
Conformed to everything she fought against for years.
It seems necessary to approach and ask,
“Paige? Is it really you?”

She does not write like she planned.
She does not act like she dreamed.
She does not keep in touch with the people she always hoped.
Yet, she has paved a new path, with new ambitions,
left old dreams to perish in her south Texas home.

Living in Southeastern heat,
dreams flourish in the surrounding forest.
Music plays from every corner of her new home.
Away from family, old friends and childhood memories,
she has found satisfaction.

Until now.

Seeing the high school scrawl of a soon-to-be past name,
the all-too-familiar crest at the top of the envelope,
she is reminded of a happy past she has long forgotten.
She tears open the letter slowly,
five years of dried glue sticking to her finger.

She scans the familiar words and suddenly, everything is off.
Did she choose the right path, the right man?
The right school
the right friends
the right place?
Even at eighteen, she knew what a disappointment to herself she’d become.

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