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Rated: E · Prose · Experience · #2210954
Though written in third person, this is an event from my life.
.Submitted to Any Memory contest - January 2020

Melissa was not an outdoor girl. Except for her one hiding place in the clearing, overlooking the base, she much preferred being indoors. In school, in a library, at the rec center, even at home, provided no one else was home at the time. Outside was not a fun place to be. She wanted nothing more to do with the other kids than they did with her. They either ignored her or made fun of her – she never knew which it would be. Home wasn’t much better, especially if Mom was there.

She was in Girl Guides and had survived Brownies. It wasn’t something she enjoyed – but it was better than arguing with her mother about going. She thought Mel needed friends. She had a point – but if parents were smarter than kids, how could her mom fail to see that being a Guide did not guarantee having a friend if none of them wanted her for a friend? Not that she could blame them. She didn’t even want herself for a friend.

Being a Guide had some good points. The leaders were nice and they seemed to believe she could do things. If it weren’t for Guides, Mel suspected she would never try anything new. She wished she could find something she was really good at – something she could do better than the others. So far, everything was a struggle and the result seemed barely adequate. Mel knew her mother was telling the truth in saying that she couldn’t do anything right. She longed for only one thing, however small, that could prove her wrong.

Last night was a perfect example. She was trying to earn a cooking badge. At every step in the preparation, Mel would start but Mom would take over and finish because Mel wasn’t doing it exactly right. What else was new? At least Mom let her serve everyone by herself and that part went well until desert. She had the instant coffee and sugar in the cups ready for the hot water to be poured in. The kettle was boiling on the stove. Mel wrapped the tea towel around the handle of the kettle to lift it but the end of the towel touched the burner and caught fire. She froze in place staring as the flame ate the towel. Dad grabbed the kettle and towel from her and put them in the sink. As soon as the kettle left her hand, Mel sank to the floor in a cross-legged position and hugged herself in an effort to stop shaking.

Her dad was saying something to her but his words were coming through garbled. Then they were all talking at once. Mel let out a long sigh, put her head on her knees and covered her head with her arms. Another screw-up. Hardly a surprise. Why did she even bother when nothing ever came out right?

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