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Grade
12

There was no telling how she would react. I printed a copy, delicately placing it beside her laptop.
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Day One.
I followed the line in my head. “I am worried you don’t love me.” I felt shame, joy, truth, fear - catharsis. I crumpled the pages before me.
Day Two.
I screamed to the world my suppressed frustrations on her petty critique about a “risque” crop top, about her firm belief I was destined to be a doctor. At the end of the day, I cleaned the slate.
Day Seven.
What made us so different? Words often fail, betray, and separate us. What if her reaching-out faltered behind short adjectives and harsh verbs? Her love was a warm meal after a scolding, fresh-cut fruit to eat while I studied, or a light smack of a ruler to the hand for white lies.
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As my mother read the poem aloud, her eyes that shined with pride gradually hardened, her mouth twisted into a subtle frown. She fell silent, before embracing me - before telling me, “I love you and I hope you know that.” I cried. She cried. And let me tell you, it never felt so great to sweat from the eyes.

State
CA
Zip Code
91381