The girl glides past everything in her way. The drama, the pain, the lies. She goes through it all, a shy girl who sits in the back of class and no one knows is smart, but even though she is there, her mind is elsewhere. Her mind is thinking about other worlds she so desperately wants to go to. At the end of the day, she goes home, retreats to her room, and locks the door. She is not safe, not yet. No locked door will take away the pain, and no drug can take the edge off the darkness. She does not reach for her phone. She isn't interested in the latest crushing expectations society calls a trend that's being shoved down everyone's throats. Instead, she sits down, takes a deep breath, and reaches for the only true means of escape: her books. As soon as she opens the front cover, inhaling the wood-like and dusty familiar aroma she much prefers over the chaotic and overwhelming stenches of so many perfumes, she is transported. Transported into a world where she isn't intruding, but a part of. She has friends who will risk their lives for her, who will do whatever they can to stop the evil that threatens them. She no longer worries about school, clothes, or boys. She is a warrior, a wizard, a queen. She runs freely through jungles with creatures unlike any other by her side, she holds objects with power and magic that she can use for good. She shouts in triumph and victory, and screams in agony when a loved one is lost. She can cry, and no one will judge her because she is alone at the same time she is surrounded by those she cares for. Thousands of worlds she can leap across just by darting her eyes through the pages. Emotions she never knew she possessed spring up when it feels like all hope is lost, but her inner warrior also comes out, and she knows, if she was really there, she would fight. And when the adventure ends, when the last page is turned, whether she won or lost, the memories will never be forgotten. The lessons she learned and the people she met will stay in her heart forever. She is back, back in her room, knowing that life still goes on, even though she got to pause it for a few minutes. She loves her real friends and her real family, but her fictional family remains in the back of her mind whether she notices or not. And even though there's some disappointment that it's over, she knows that whole other stories, adventures, worlds, friends, are just waiting for her, and all she has to do is turn the pages.
Freedom of Literature
April 7, 2017