Thursday, September 27, 2012


"What do you want to do?"

I glanced up at Mikayla. "Um, finish my homework?"

She wrinkled her nose at me. "No, not today. I mean, what do you want to do? Your life! What do you want to be, where do you want to go? We have our whole lives ahead of us...  where do you think you're going to be in ten years?"

"What are you, my guidance counselor?" I shrugged. "It doesn't matter, anyway.  Getting through junior year is about as far ahead as I can think."

"Emmalynn, you have no imagination. Of course it matters! Don't you have any dreams? Places you want to go, things you want to do? Don't all those books you read tell you anything? Don't you want to be something bigger than... than this?"

I put my pencil down. "Mickey, we live in a small town.  I can't have big dreams because they aren't going to come true.  I'm going to finish high school and go to the community college.  Then I'm going to drop out and get a job at the Dari Mart.  And marry Butch the Guy at the Auto Shop.  We'll live in a house behind his parents, have two children, and a dog who won't pee outside. And if I have big dreams, I'll never be able to be pretend I'm happy with that." I picked my pencil back up and turned back to my homework.  "What'd you get for #6?"

"Fine, geez." Mikayla's eyebrows furrowed in hurt.  "Forget I asked."


The clock blinked in the dark. 3am.  Rolling over, I punched some numbers into my phone and listened to the ring.

Mikayla mumbled sleepily into the other end. "Mmm, hello?  It's 3 o'clock in the morning, this had better be important."

I blinked into the dark of my room.

"Emmy?" she asked.  "Are you okay?"

"Paris. I want to go to Paris. And I want to stand on the top of the Eiffel Tower and kiss a Frenchman named Jacques-Pierre in the fire of a French sunset. I want to go to NYU. I want to take a ride in a hot air balloon. I want to write and scribble my name on the front page of my own book in an uncomfortable line of people at the Barnes and Noble. I want to ride on a gondola in Venice and I want to see the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel and I want to walk along the Great Wall of China.  Not the whole thing.  I want to go to a party and kiss some guy whose name I don't know just because he thinks I'm pretty. I want to have a closet with 50 pairs of shoes, one for every occasion... sometimes the same shoe in multiple colors.  And a Broadway show.  I want to dress up and see something I've always wanted to see right there off of Times Square."

Nothing but silence.

"Mickey, are you there?" I asked.

"Yeah, I'm here. Can we start with Paris?"

Photo Credit: Rian Castillo

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