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There lived a girl once, in a modest house in a small valley. She was afraid of cockroaches, and strangely liked the smell of gasoline. She spent most of her time in her room, with her brand-new chair she flaunted, her messy closet, and her pink and blue walls, as tacky as they were. She collected soda tabs, stayed up late reading fantastical books, collected polaroids and pictures from her friends and sculpted tiny little people out of cheap clay, with strange colors and long noses.

She liked texting her friends, painting, decorating her room, lighting scented candles, listening to music as she wrote short stories, annotating poetry books, shopping but always convincing herself to never buy anything. She didn’t like insects, tight-fitting clothes, strangers, or when her parents yelled at her. She was afraid of growing up and torn in between what she wanted to do or what she should do. She wasn’t sure if sacrificing her happiness for stability was worth it. Or not.

She wanted to be famous-who doesn’t? She wanted to make videos, entertain people, make art, make songs, do stand-up comedy, paint, sculpt, craft, discover. But she knew sometimes the world could not afford that, and she was afraid to fail.

Maybe it was her parents, or maybe it simply was just her. But ever since she was a child, she’d been drilled that money meant happiness, and being broke meant a life of misery. She could not afford such a loss. If she failed-if she didn’t get into this specific college, or aced this specific tests, then that would lead a bad life. Too much was balanced on good grades, and smiles, and appealing to those who had more power in her world. That’s why she liked so many things; it was to escape.

She read books to forget, painted to drown it out, sculpted so her world could narrow down to the clay and her dirty fingers. She drew so she could distract herself, texted her friends for a laugh, listened to music so she couldn’t hear what she demanded of herself;what everyone demanded of her.

If she fell, it would be the end.

If she escaped, it was just escape. Every single time, she would come back. She knew she was still young, but just like reading a book; it doesn’t last forever. One day, she’ll be fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen. Would she go to college? What job would she pursue? Art? Medicine? Engineering? Happiness? Money? Approval?

Would she meet a lover? A boy? A girl? Neither? Would she ever get married? Have children? Bring them up like her parents brought her up? Would she move away? How will the world change? All these questions...they were going to be answered one day.

Her name was Leo. She liked to draw, to write and laugh, and she hated that she didn’t know.

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17 Apr, 2021
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