A Stellar Flare of Young Adult Writing and Visual Art
BY ALEX MESSINA
She had no name, no voice. The world had no recollection of the little girl with the big, brown eyes. They saw her as the girl with the book, the girl with her mind somewhere else. Little did they know what churned in her head all those years. She saw a world of her creation. She saw a world with no fear of its end but a hope for a new beginning. They told her to get her head out of the clouds and plant her feet on the ground, but she only flew higher. She saw the world through her mind, not her eyes. She saw it as she wanted it to be seen.
Her father thought her ditzy. Her sisters, though they loved her, could not see what she saw. All they saw was the physical reality they had known all their lives. Her mother did not see the world quite as she did, but she reveled in the mind she thought her daughter, whose name and voice she knew like her own, to be so blessed with. Her mother saw the girl that was thirsting for knowledge by the age of one. She saw the daughter that she read to through every meal, the daughter that finally picked up her own book on that first day of school and began to learn and see the world for herself. She supported her daughter and pushed her head even farther above those clouds fogging reality. Her mother did not pull her feet to the ground as the rest of the family did but only let her fly higher and higher with every passing day.
She breezed through elementary school. Teacher’s pet and everyone’s friend, she had no troubles in her path. Year after year, her best friend learned to dream with her. They drew pictures of far-away lands and beautiful princesses with chalk on their driveways, as any child did. Innocent and pure, they danced around playgrounds and begged their mothers for just five more minutes. They dreamt of their lives in the future. She would become a writer, her best friend a teacher. They would live next door to each other and eat dessert before dinner every night. They were children and they saw the world as any child would.
Through the years of middle school, a heavy reality set in, pushing on her shoulders like hands reaching down from the sky. There would be no dessert for dinner. She would not become a writer. Her best friend would not live next door. This is what her new friends told her, the new friends that she was forced to find after a traumatic split between her and her hopeful best friend. They laughed at her hopes and dreams, so she laughed with them. She cried to her mother in bed at night about what the girls would tell her. Her mother told her she could be whoever she wanted to be, that she could even become the world’s greatest writer, if she only saw it with her mind and not her eyes. Her father told her future would come how it was meant to be and if she was not meant to be a writer then it might just not happen. His little girl was no longer a little girl and that’s how she should see it.
The girl let her father’s belief take over her life for the next few years. Her life revolved around schoolwork and her after-school job. Yet in the safety of her window seat, she read. The girl read and read and read until she could no longer see the world she lived in but the world she could turn it into. She saw everything she wanted and she pulled and pulled at it until it willingly came her way. She embraced her love of knowledge and stories and showed it off to the world like a grand prize trophy. She wrote story after story about worlds that do not exist in the eyes of an average teenage girl. She discovered her name and her voice in the stories she read and the places her mind brought her. She hoped and wished for these worlds to become reality. Her name was everything and nothing. Her name was the world itself and everything beyond. She was a dreamer and she belonged to no single name but all of them.
Alexandra Messina is 16 years old and lives in Bayport, New York where she attends Bayport Blue-Point High School. Writing this piece allowed her to see how far she’s come and how far she wants to go. While conceived as something of a memoir, the piece does not mention a name as Alex felt like her name was merely tying her down to one life, one story and she’s always wanted to be part of all the stories.