by Susana, Age 14 , Grade 8, Somis School, Somis, CALIFORNIA USA
Teacher: Mrs. Gass
Everyone is always saying that I am lucky to have the life that I have. However, I have to disagree. I do admit being wealthy and having two loving parents is lucky, but there’s more to my life that a lot of people don’t know about.
I have a hard working father who is the reason why we are wealthy, a caring mother who would rather do work around the house than have maids do it for her, and I go to an excellent school where I know could lead me to being very successful. Now, I know all these things sound wonderful and you’re probably thinking that I am lucky, but you see, there’s more to it. My parents are expecting me to be a very successful, married woman with kids. They want me to have the best life that I could have, and they feel that in order to do this, they have to make my own decisions. They’ve already decided what I was going to become and who I’m going to marry. Because of this, I’m always feeling like I can’t be responsible for myself. Not only do I feel this way, I always feel isolated. My father is always working, my mother is always busy with going into town and helping around, and I have no siblings. There is no one who spends a lot of time with me and that’s all I want.
Even though I feel this way, I do believe there are good parts to my life. First of all, I do love my name, Amelia. I also love living in Lexington and Concord in a huge house. I’m a 16 year old girl who loves going to the meadow just outside my house. The meadow is vast and it seems to stretch as far as the ocean. The fresh cut grass looks as green as the newly grown leaves on the trees. The sun shined so brightly; it hurt to even glance at it. Being outside surrounded by nature makes me feel free and it's the only time where I’m in control of everything. I can play with the animals that pass by, I can run through the grass, I can lay on the grass and look at the sky; I’m able to do whatever I want.
Today, I especially felt like going to the meadow because it was sunny and all the animals were coming out. As I opened the door to go outside, I felt a warm breeze brush across my face. The sun was shining on everything and the grass looked greener than ever. I ran across the grass with my hands out and feeling the most free I’ve ever felt. I did this every morning after I got ready and before I ate breakfast. I layed on the grass and closed my eyes, hearing the sounds of the outside. Soon after I heard my mother call for me.
“Amelia!” my mother said.
“I’m outside mother, I’ll come in a bit.” I said.
“No, come now your father’s here.”
My eyes opened wide. I jumped up and ran to my house. I hardly ever got to see my father, he was working all the time. When I saw him I ran up to him and gave him a big hug.
“Why are you home father, I thought you weren’t supposed to be here until next week,” I asked.
“Something came up sweetie; we’re going to the nearest tavern,” he said.
I didn’t like going to the tavern because it made me feel trapped. There was a huge front yard, but the caretakers didn’t like me going and running through it. Last time we went, they accused me of destroying their garden, even though I knew it was the animals. The only thing I like about going to the tavern is meeting all the people. Sometimes there are teens my age, but I can never meet one who would rather play outside than stay inside and drink rum. Hopefully when we go today, I’ll find someone who spends time with me.
“We’re going first thing in the morning. Go up to your room and pack some clothes. We’ll be staying there for a few days,” my father said.
“Ok father,” I said.
I ran up the staircase to my room. Whenever my family had to pack clothes for something, it took me awhile because I always imagined that I would meet people and I’d want them to see me in nice clothing. Because of this, I always ended up with piles of clothing scattered all over the floor. So, I began yanking some clothes off the hangers in my closet and out of the drawers. As I expected, my room floor was a mess. It was going to be a long night of packing so hopefully, I’ll get payed back with something good at the tavern.
There was sunlight coming through a crevice in the curtain that made me squint when I woke up. I sat up and gathered enough energy to drag myself out of bed. My bare foot hitting the floor made chills travel throughout my body. This made me think twice about getting out of bed, but then I could smell the aroma of the waffles that my mother was making. All of sudden, I jumped out of bed, put on the clothes that I picked from last night’s struggle of packing, headed to the bathroom, and I headed downstairs. I saw my parents sitting at the table in the dining room and they were talking quietly. They stopped mid conversation as my father saw me in the corner of his eye.
“Good morning sunshine!” he shouted excitedly.
“Good morning. When are we leaving?” I asked.
“We’ll leave as soon as you’re done eating your breakfast.”
“Yes sweetie, so just sit down and eat up,” my mother said.
I sat down next to my father and my mother got up to get me a plate of waffles. Waffles were my favorite thing to eat, especially when they’re warm and when my mom puts berries on them. I knew that they were warm because I could see steam coming out of it. The waffles were soon devoured so we started gathering our bags.
“We’re going to walk to the tavern; it’s not too far,” said my father.
“Okay father,” I said.
“Are you sure about that George?” asked my mother.
“Yes Linda, we’ll arrive there by noon,” said my father.
We started walking from our house to the tavern. What felt like two hours was about an hour of walking. I could see the tavern in the distance being hidden by the branches and trees surrounding it. When we approached it, we set down our bags outside, my parents went inside to tell the caretakers we were going to stay there for a few days, and I stayed outside with our bags. I thought to myself why we were even here and why I never thought of asking my father about it. As I was standing outside looking at the growing garden, I heard the sound of grass being stepped on. When I turned around, I could see four figures approaching the tavern. When they came closer, I could see that there was a man, a woman, another man that looked younger than the first, and a boy that looked my age. They all looked at me as the walked by me on their way inside the tavern. The boy that looked my age stood next to me instead of going inside with the other people.
He was taller than me and I could see little hairs poking out of his chin. His clothes looked dirtier compared to mine. The entire time I was looking at him, he was staring inside the tavern.
“So, where are we going to stay?” he asked.
“What..” I said confused.
“Tell your parents to not give us the worst room again.”
“...Oh you think I’m the caretaker’s daughter don’t you.”
“Wait you aren’t? No wonder. I didn’t see you the last time we came. Then why are you out here with that man and woman’s bags?”
“That man and woman happen to be my parents and I’m just waiting for them while watching over our bags.”
“Oh! I thought you were like the person who takes the bags to the rooms, good to know, I was about to give you our bags.”
“Good thing you didn’t, I would’ve thrown them to the ground.”
We both chuckled after I said this. I realized that this boy could become that one friend I’ve always wanted so I wanted to stay there longer to talk to him, but then my parents came out of the tavern. My father looked at me and then at the boy.
“Come on in Amelia, I’ll get the bags,” my father said.
“Ok father, I’ll come in in a minute,” I said.
“No no, quickly quickly!”
I sighed and I looked at the boy.
“Bye I’ll see you later,” I said.
“Bye, wait what’s your name?” he asked
“Amelia, what’s yours?”
“I’ll see you later, Lucas.”
With that, I went inside the tavern with the name, Lucas, on my mind.
After my encounter with Lucas, I went up to the room my parents and I were staying in. My parents were already in there with our bags. My mother was rummaging through the bags while my father was sitting on a bed looking at me with a look of anger on his face.
“Hello fath-,” I said being interrupted.
“I don’t want you near that boy!” he yelled.
“Why not? I was just talking to him.”
“I don’t want you near him because him and his family is one of the reasons why we are here!”
“What are you talking about?”
“We are here because...there is war going on. We are on one side and they are on the other side.”
“How do you know that they aren’t on the same side?”
“Because we are Loyalists and they are Rebels. I came here to have a meeting with my fellow Loyalists, but they are just going to wreck everything!”
“But father, it’s not Lucas’s fault that his family are Rebels, he doesn’t get to decide.”
“Oh but he does sweetie, he is old enough to decide whether he is a Loyalist or a Rebel, and I bet you he choosed to be a Loyalist.”
“You don’t know that father.”
“Oh yes I do, and if you hang out with him, before you know it, he’ll turn you into one of them.”
I ran out of the room because I couldn’t stand another second listening to my father. He was making accusations about Lucas and me and all we had done was talk. I know why he was doing this though. He probably thought that at some point we were going to have a “thing” and that I wouldn’t want to get married with the guy that they picked out for me. Well they’re wrong, I don’t even want to get married with the guy they picked out for me and all I’m looking for right now is just someone that understands me. However, it would me nice to have something going on with Lucas….
After I ran out of the room, I decided to go outside and just think for awhile. On my way outside, I saw Lucas with his family. They were all staring at me with a look, expect for Lucas. Lucas was staring at me but with a warm and kindness look. His family was staring at me with what looked like a look of disgust. So, I started to walk faster because I knew why they were looking at me that way. I then arrived outside and I sat down near the garden that I had apparently ruined the last time I came here. I could see the sun starting to go down because of the light that the sun was giving through the crevices of the leaves and branches of the trees. I then heard footsteps coming toward me. In the corner of my eye, I saw a figure sit next me.
“Oh look! It’s the caretaker’s daughter, but please, don’t throw my bags.” he said chuckling.
“Well, I can’t make any promises.” I said.
We both smiled at each other. I started to feel something at the pit of my stomach so I looked away. There was a moment of silence until I remembered why I was even out here. I decided to tell him because who else was there to pour my feelings out to.
“I hate my parents sometimes,” I said with a groan.
“Same here, but I always get over it,” he said.
“It’s just that they are always making decisions for me and it’s getting really annoying.”
“What if they do that out of love?”
“I doubt it because the decisions that they make for me make me miserable, but don’t get me wrong, I love them and all but they just don’t know me and they don’t know what I want.”
“That’s just how parents are; they think they know what’s best for you.”
“I know but you just don’t get it, they already decided on who I’m going to marry.”
There was a moment of silence again. I could tell he was pondering about what I just said. He looked up at the sky with a look that someone would give you when they feel sorry for you. He also had a disappointed look.
“Wow..do you even know the guy,” he finally said.
“Not really. I’ve only been to his house a few times and I know his name is Fabio. They think he’s the best choice for me because apparently he’s hardworking and is going to inherit a fortune,” I answered.
“So you're basically only going to marry him for his money?”
“Of course not. I wouldn’t marry him if he was the richest man on this earth. I’ve met him. He’s lazy, stuck up, and he thinks I belong to him just because we’re promised to get married.”
“Yup. That’s your average snobby rich guy. If he’s that bad, why do your parents want him to marry you.”
“He does an act whenever he’s around them. He tries to seem caring and loving to me but in reality, he only wants me to satisfy his ‘needs’..”
“Oh...well I’ll tell you, if I ever came face to face with him, I’d give him a piece of my mind!”
“Woah thanks..but you barely know me and you’re already going to try to protect me.”
“Well then why don’t we get to know each other.”
We started to tell each other everything about us. I told him about how I felt lonely and I needed someone who understands me. I also told him about my obsession with warm waffles with berries on top and some childhood memories. We had a few laughs as I was telling him. Afterwards, he began to tell about his family. His mother is a housewife, his father is deeply involved with the Rebels or as he calls it, Patriots, and about his older brother who wants to fight in the war against the Tories. When he told me this, I was reminded about what my father said about him wanting to go fight in the war. I was curious and I wanted to find out the truth.
“So since your older brother is going to fight in the war, are you?” I asked
“I haven’t decided yet. I think I might because my father really wants me too and I want to make him proud,” he responded
“Oh..well that makes sense.”
Even though I knew that my father was right about Lucas fighting in the war against my father, I wasn’t that upset because he was only doing it to make his father proud. I looked up at the sky and saw stars, I realized that it was night and we had been talking all day. It was one of the best nights of my life and from then on, I knew that he was that one person I had longed for.
The morning after the talk Lucas and I had, I woke up happier and I felt like I was beaming. I noticed that my mother and father weren’t in the room with me. I figured that they were already having breakfast downstairs. As usual, I did my “morning routine” and headed downstairs. As I was walking downstairs, I could smell the aroma of waffles and assumed that my mother had prepared them for me, but then, I saw Lucas sitting in a table with a two plates of waffles. I felt special because he had actually remembered about me telling him that I love waffles. I sat with him and we began to talk, but then it got ruined by the sound of yelling coming from another room. I went in and my parents were fighting with Lucas’s parents. They were yelling at each other and saying awful things about each other. The whole time, Lucas and I were looking at each other and then looking back. How could people who barely knew each other, have so much hatred towards each other? I was confused at first, but then I realized that it was the war to blame for this. I knew that wars did this to people. It turned family members, neighbors, and acquaintances against each other. It is horrible to be apart of and have it affect your life and unfortunately, I was experiencing this. It hadn’t affected my life so far, until now. Little did I know, it wasn’t going to be the last and worst time.
My parents were yelling at Lucas’s parents and vice versa. They were talking about the war and whose side was to blame or whose side was better. One of the things that bothered me the most is that they didn’t even acknowledge the fact that Lucas and I were in there listening to everything. Lucas’s parents stormed out of the room yanking Lucas by the arm, taking him with them. The only remaining people in the room were my parents and I. There was a moment of silence until my father spoke.
“This is why I didn’t want you hanging around that boy. I told you him and his family are bad people,” he said.
“No father. Just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t mean they are bad people,” I answered.
“You see, that’s exactly it. They are fighting against their own king. Those people don’t know anything. If you hang out with that boy..”
“What! You think that he’s going to make me be on the Patriots side or something. Well you got it all wrong. You don’t understand why he’s on their side.”
“I don’t care for his reasons for being a Rebel. The point is that he’s on their side and not ours. Didn’t you see how rude his parents are? Their son is probably the same way and I don’t want him influencing you. I don’t ever want you around those people, which is why I’m forbidding you from ever talking and going near that boy.”
“But father he’s the only friend I’ve ever had. He’s the only person who has ever understood me.”
“What? You have many friends.”
“Are you serious? Now I know that you don’t ever pay attention to me.”
“That’s what you think. I’m sorry but my decision is final, I forbid you from seeing that boy.”
I looked at my mother, who the whole time didn’t say a word. She looked at me with a sorry look but then turned away.
“I hate both of you! I’m sixteen and I’m old enough to make my own decisions!”
I ran out of the room up to the room we were staying in.
“I think you were a little too hard on her, George,” my mother said.
“Oh relax Linda, I think my decision was right. Now, I don’t have time to think about that right now. The general is coming for a meeting later. I have to make sure I’m ready for him.”
Later that day, I decided to come out of the room because I had been in there thinking about how my father had forbidden me from seeing Lucas. I was probably in there for a while because I could see the sky covering itself with stars. My mother was in the kitchen helping the wife of the caretaker cook food for all the men in the other room. My father was in the room with all the men. The men that my father was with were all wearing the uniforms that the Loyalists wore. They were all drinking beer and were deep in conversation. I heard some things because I was near them but I was hiding. They said something about ambushing the Rebels. I didn’t care for anything else they were saying so I decided to go outside. As soon as I went outside, I went to the exact spot where Lucas and I met. I began to think about him and got upset because he had left without us saying good bye. I looked at the open and thought of how easy it would be to run away and find him. I knew that he lived in the village so it wouldn’t be that hard to find him. I started to think about it in depth and found myself walking toward the village. Before I knew it, I was running; I looked back at the tavern as it was getting harder and harder to see and realized that I was actually disobeying my father. But I didn’t care. I kept running until my feet ached and was out of breath. I looked around to see if I could see the houses of the village nearby. I noticed the tops of some houses just below a cliff. I walked on it and looked down. I was standing on top of a cliff looking over a village. I felt a breeze across my face and realized that I had actually done it; I disobeyed my father. In that moment, I was changing as a person and it had something to do with Lucas. However, I don’t think this change is bad. On the contrary, I think I like the way I’m changing.
I found a pathway from the cliff that led to the village. I followed it, running as fast as I could. I was kind of nervous because believe it or not, I had never been there before. My parents never let me go anywhere except for school, the meadow, the tavern, and Fabio’s, my “fiance,” house. This is why I didn’t have a lot of friends. All the kids at my school were snobby and there wasn’t anyone I liked at any of the other places I went. My parents never exposed me to other places, and if they did, I’d want them with me.
As I approached the tavern, I could feel butterflies in my stomach. The butterflies seemed to grow larger as the sound of the village people’s voices grew louder. I could see lights beginning to turn on as the sky became darker.
I finally arrived and the sight of the all the people made me feel even worse. I looked around and there were many houses, kids running around, and many adults selling items at stands. There was so much going on, I can’t imagine what it was like during the day. I kept walking in hope of finding Lucas. At this point, I was starting to give up until a salesman called for me.
“Hello young lady. Would you like to buy fruits?” he asked.
I walked over to his stand and observed all the fruits he put on sale. When I looked up at him, I thought I recognized him. I could tell he did too because he stared at me for a while.
“Hey! Aren’t you that girl I saw talking to my brother at the tavern?” he asked.
“You’re Lucas’s brother aren’t you,” I said.
“Yes. My name is Aaron. If my folks saw me talking to you, I would be in so much trouble. You should leave right away.”
“I understand but I need you to tell me where Lucas is.”
“I think he’s near the well. You go straight until you see a flower stand, then you turn right and you’ve arrived to your destination.”
I ran as fast as I could, remembering to follow Aaron’s directions. In the distance, I saw a stand covered with flowers and my heart started to beat faster when I arrived to it. I looked to the right and saw a figure standing next to a well. I knew it was Lucas so I ran as fast as I could. I hugged him and felt comforted and protected, something I didn’t feel when I hugged Fabio. When we realized we were hugging, Lucas looked at me with a surprised and concerned look.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I wanted to see you,” I responded.
“I’m surprised your parents let you come here.”
“They didn’t. I sneaked out.”
“I got angry when my father forbid me from seeing you, my only friend. So, I decided to show him that I can make my own decisions.”
“Wait, your father forbid you from seeing me and you disobeyed him?”
“Of course. You’re my only friend so I need to see you.”
He smiled when I said this. It was true; he was my only friend.
“Hey by the way, how did you find me?” he asked.
“I met your brother and he told me where you. He seemed okay with me talking to him.”
“Ya he gets along with pretty much everyone.”
“Oh. So, how did he even know you were here?”
“I always like to come here at night. I like hearing people’s wishes when they toss their coin into the well. Knowing what they want in life is interesting. Enough about that, why don’t show you around.”
Lucas took me around the whole village and made me talk to everyone we bumped into. I know why he did this. He knew that I wasn’t very talkative to strangers, so he wanted me to talk more.
I liked walking around at night because there were fairy lights all over the place; the lights made the village look very lively. There were also items, like types of rocks and other things that were made by the village people, that I hadn’t seen before, being sold by people in the stands. When he noticed that I had never seen some of the items, he explained to me what they were and what their purpose was. He bought me a few of the items for me because I really liked some of them.
After, we walked around the village and just talked. Whenever we talked, I didn’t feel like I was alone anymore, I felt like I actually had someone who cared for me. I realized we had been talking for a really long time when I noticed that there were lights being turned off and there wasn’t many people outside anymore; the people were getting ready to go to bed.
“I should go now, it’s getting pretty late,” I said.
“Oh. I’ll walk back to the tavern with you if you want,” he said
We walked together from the village to the tavern, talking the whole way of course. He showed me a faster route to get to the village, which I figured out is also a route that could work from my house. When we could see the tavern hiding behind the trees, we stopped.
“I guess we’re here. Good-bye Lucas, I had a wonderful time,” I said.
“Good-bye Amelia, I also had a great time. Hey, it was almost like a date,” he said.
“I guess so..” I said as I blushed.
“Will I see you again tomorrow?”
“Maybe you will.”
We hugged each other and headed toward different directions. I began feeling something else toward him beside friendship. This feeling was small, but it was there and it was growing.
I decided to go to the back door, the one that lead to the kitchen, instead of the front door because I knew that my father and the other men would still be talking. I arrived to the back door and was very careful in making sure that it didn’t squeak. Before I opened it, I looked through the net to make sure that nobody was there. The coast was clear, I walked through the kitchen and pushed opened the door that led to the room with all the men. I wasn’t surprised that they were all still talking and hadn’t left yet. They didn’t even notice me, they were too busy talking about plans for an upcoming battle. My mother and the caretaker’s wife were there too and not even they noticed me. I ran up the stairs, skipping every other step, until something caught my ear. I heard about a battle that was going to occur here, in Concord and Lexington. I assumed that it was going to take place somewhere else, but not here.
“So do we agree on all the plans,” I heard my father say.
“Yes George, I’m thankful that you finally decided to join us,” a man said.
“General Jonathan, I would do anything for our side.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Will I be seeing you before the battle right?”