A contest entry for WDC's 12th Birthday. A memoir of the summer of my twelfth year.
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The summer of 2001 was hot and humid, as usual in Alabama. I didn't have room on my plate that year to worry about the weather though.
Not long after 6th grade graduation, I woke up to an unfortunate gift. Womanhood. I hid in my room and didn't mention my blood stained misery to anyone. Eventually, my mother figured it out and we had a short, awkward conversation. She was never one to give long lectures on important life lessons. I've never been one to listen to them either.
I was not the only one with a personal crisis. My mother decided to break off the marriage to my step-father, and packed up me and my two young sisters and hauled us off to the city.
We moved into a tiny duplex that my grandmother owned. We were one of two white families in our neighborhood. Regardless, I didn't miss the country at all. I was on an adventure, and was often scolded for wandering off on my own. My fondest memory of that time was standing on the overpass near my house and watching cars zip by and feeling the rumble of big trucks underneath my feet.
It was not long before we moved again. My great-grandmother owned a shed that had been converted into a small house. It was falling apart and covered with vines and shrubbery, but my mother attempted to make it inhabitable. I hated the place with passion.
My great-grandmother lived next door. Her home was a small mansion compared to ours. She had a library and a sitting room with a grand piano. I would have loved to visit if she had been hospitable. She was not at all pleasant, and once accused me of stealing her dolls. She also had frequent hallucinations. She once saw demons dancing around her living room.
My neighbors were predominately wealthy, and I was teased unmercifully for being different. I visited my father every other weekend, and one weekend he took me skating. There was a girl there that told everyone that I lived in a shack, and they all asked me about it. I was so humiliated that I asked my dad to take me home.
During this time, my mother met my second step-father, and I began to see another side of her. I remember that she would come home and be so friendly and talkative that I barely knew her. She seemed to be having fun, but I had a weird feeling that I didn't understand until many years later when I discovered that she was an alcoholic.
In the midst of everything, I found time to read and write. It was an escape for me.
I look back on that summer as one of the defining moments of my life. It was my first glimpse of reality, and all the pleasure and pain that comes with it. It was the summer that I lost my innocence.
Word Count: 498