| My parents divorced at the end of the summer between 9th and 10th grade. It was a difficult time, for the obvious reasons: the divorce itself literally tore my family in half, and, though it was a mutual decision by my parents and held no malice for either of them, the extended family was not so understanding. One half of my family went to live elsewhere, and the other half, the half with which I live, was looked down upon by many for the split.
Throughout the process, everybody I could think to name told me, at one point or another, that their biggest concern was the well-being of “the kids,” my sister and myself. That concern meant a lot to me, in principle, but in practice I would have preferred they left me alone; this was far from the first hardship I had faced, and far from the most trying, so I felt – and still feel, largely – that I would get through it best if left to my own coping devices. The families' attempts to ease me through the process only made the underlying scorn that much more apparent.
For a number of months, I existed in a sort of twilight zone – half who I had been beforehand, half kid with divorced parents. Few of my friends, even my closest friends, knew what I was going through, and those who knew what had happened were starved for details. For the first time in my life, I couldn't find the right words. I didn't know how to explain the details, so I simply didn't. To this day, I don't really know who knows the whole story and who doesn't, except in a few cases, and those were the people who I had made sure didn't know.
Anyway, it was shortly thereafter that I discovered, much by accident, that I had a sort of undeveloped talent for baking, something I had never attempted before. In looking for an escape from concerned relatives, I had determined to make a desert of some kind. I had previous made a few very simple recipes – of the kind where one doesn't really do anything but throw some fruit in a bowl with sugar and something else and stir – but had not made anything from scratch. Once I started baking, I was very successful (I say this with no ego, since I credit all such success to luck alone... I have no idea why something I made should be any better than the same recipe prepared by someone else). So liked were my creations that my grandmother asked me to make the deserts for that year's Christmas dinner, which is a major, major event in my family and would be the first time they would all be together at once since the divorce. My headliner that evening, among other, smaller deserts, was a pumpkin cheesecake which went over extraordinarily well.
So, when the whole affair was said and done, and the contentions amongst my family cooled (things are as much back to normal now as could possibly be expected), I ended up with a great, newly discovered talent. All it took was the complete schism of my family to find it – but all is well, and I count myself richer than before, overall. For I have learned an important lesson, which will guide all the rest of my life: life is never as it should be except for a few small moments when all is right with the world. We live every day for those small victories – small, yet they can block out all the hardships.
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