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I was sitting at my desk and looking out the window at my college campus. The leaves on the trees were rapidly starting to change colors. I couldn’t believe I’d already been away from home for two months. I was supposed to be writing a paper on what my biggest fear was, but I didn’t really know. I was afraid of a lot of things.
My heart sank when I heard the door to my room open. It was April, my roommate. She despised me, and she made every single second I spent in my room a miserable one. So before she could say something nasty to me, I grabbed a notebook, a pen, and my jacket and trudged out of the room, keeping my head down and my shoulders hunched.
As soon as I walked out the door of our dorm, the autumn breeze bit my skin, and I shivered. Heading towards the park, I shrugged into my jacket and zipped it up. I held the notebook to my chest while I walked.
I took a path in the woods. Leaves crunched under my shoes with every step I took, and I couldn’t stop myself from thinking.
I thought about my parents. Although I talked to them almost every day on the phone, I missed them more than I was willing to admit. Sometimes I wondered if it would be easier to stop talking to them altogether and quit cold turkey, but I knew I wasn’t strong enough to do that.
I even missed my little sister. She wasn’t even that little anymore. Now she was in high school. I couldn’t believe how fast she’d grown up. Instead of asking me to play barbies with her, she called me for advise about boys.
Boys. I felt a familiar stab in my chest when I thought of one boy, my boyfriend. I tried to swallow the growing lump in my throat, but I couldn’t stop the tears from springing to my eyes. I missed Jason more than anyone. Sometimes he didn’t have time to talk to me on the phone every day. Although he did email me sometimes, I missed his smile and his touch and the way he kissed me.
My vision was so blurred by tears that I tripped on a tree root and feel to my knees. Water seeped through my jeans. The ground was still wet from the autumn rain. I didn’t feel like I had the strength to get up. Living without him was sucking the energy out of my soul like a black hole. I went through the motions of living, but I wasn’t really alive I felt like my body was an empty shell, and it got harder and harder every day to drag it around.
Unable to bring myself to stand, I sat and leaned against the tree, letting my tears flow freely. I hadn’t cried since we both left for college, but now the dam I had carefully built to hold back my emotions was finally crumbling away.
I felt like Jason was the only thing connecting me to the person I used to be: the fun-loving, energetic person who always looked on the bright side.
I bent over and wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my jacket. I heard the crinkle of thick paper in my pocket. Curious to find out what it was, I pulled out the object. Seeing it made me cry even harder, but I felt compelled to open the letter and reread it even though I knew it would make me hurt.
Dear my beautiful Delila,
I love you, and I always will. You can’t forget that. Don’t forget me. I don’t want you to be sad when you remember me. I want you to smile. I want you to remember how good it felt to be together, not how much it hurts to be far away from each other. I want you to read this letter when you feel horrible, and I want it to make you feel better.
We knew staying together would be hard, but I know we can do it. I’m sorry if I can’t talk to you all the time. You know I’d rather be talking to you than anything in the world besides being with you. But we only have to go through this for a few years, and we’ll see each other on holidays and in the summer.
So don’t think about the pain you feel now. Don’t forget who you are. You’re my beautiful Delila.
I folded up the piece of paper and tucked it back into my pocket. Although tears still streaked my face, I felt different. A little seed of hope sparked in my heart, and I felt it spread through my veins and to my fingers and toes. I closed my eyes, set my head back against the tree, and allowed myself to smile.
After a few minutes of basking in my new hope, I opened my notebook and began to write, My biggest fear is forgetting who I am.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
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