Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story

She was born in the morning as the sun rose over the hills, the air was crisp and full of promise. Her mother held her tiny newborn hand and took a breath full of exhausted relief as she watched her first and only child take small breaths of new life and open her eyes.
She was four years old on her first day of school and she held her mothers hand as they walked through hallways full of towering lockers and screaming children and parents. All hearts were full and tight as the children let go of the hands who made them and took their first steps alone.
She was seven years old when she first saw violence. Her father was different and her mother's fear was like a child’s. She never held her father’s hand again. Her childhood ended today.
She was twelve years old; it was summer and the air was hot and thick. She took to the road astride her bicycle. The air changed around her; whipping her hair back and she knew what freedom was. The freedom to change.
She was fifteen years old and she wrapped her fears of who she was becoming in a box and hid it away in her mind. The box can’t be opened, then the thoughts would come out...the thoughts...I’m not good enough, I’m too ugly, I’m too shy, I’m too ashamed of me. I can’t change.
She was eighteen years old and her strength came from her best friends. She had them and she saw them but they only saw what she would allow of herself. She had time and knew her whole life was ahead and she could be anyone she chose to be.
She was twenty years old she held his hand and she loved him. He was hers now and she felt validated and she felt comfort and she felt fear. He would never see her. She could not open the box. She still had time. She was still young. She could still change.
She was twenty two years old and she watched herself let go of his hand and walk away. He was never hers. She walled up her heart inside her chest. There was no need for this pain. This wasn’t love.
She was twenty five years old her life was full and fun. She began to marvel at her own mother for resilience she’d never before seen. She loved her mother and envied her strength. The wall was weakened.
She was twenty seven years old. He walked into her life and they found peace in each others arms. One day she opened the box; hidden for so long in her mind. He never walked away. She was loved for exactly who she was, nothing hidden. This was true. This was love. The wall crumbled.
She was twenty nine years old and she held his hand as they retreated down the aisle. She saw her mother take a breath full of her own joy and hope. She smiled and saw her own mother’s heart reflected in her eyes.
She was thirty two years old and she got out of bed today. The box was open and the thoughts had leaked out and she had to face them but wasn’t alone. He held her hand and listened. He loved her and she began to love herself.
She was thirty three years old and she looked at him with tears welling in her eyes. He smiled at her and took her hands in his and took a deep breath full of anxious happiness. They had made life.
She was thirty four years old and she held his hand and with more than she ever knew she had they welcomed their first and only child. She let out a breath of exhausted relief and held her small daughters hand. Her heart couldn’t be contained she was overwhelmed and knew love had more power than any force imaginable.
She was thirty six years old and she held her mothers frail hand. She inhaled a sharp pain filled breath and looked down into the eyes of the women who loved her first and who she first loved. She watched her mother exhale her last breath. She was numb. She was empty.
She was thirty nine years old. She walked through hallways full of tiny lockers holding her daughters hand. Her heart was full and tight as she let go. She sent her child out into the world alone and the ache it caused was deep.
She was forty four years old and she was exhausted and loved and unafraid. She walked down the street one hand holding his and one hand holding her daughters. The air was crisp and full of promise. Her child remained a child.
She was forty seven years old and watched her daughter grow. She listened and knew there were no boxes hidden in her young adult mind.
She was fifty years old and she waved goodbye to the women before her; not a child. Her daughter, her heart personified, her baby was an adult. She had done her best.
She was fifty seven years old and she held her one and only granddaughter's tiny hand and took a breath full of love and hope. She looked into her little eyes and saw her daughter, saw herself, saw her own mother. Her love was unreal.
She was sixty five years old and she held his hand for the last time. The man who took her for all she was and all she wasn’t. The man who never asked for anything but whom she’d given all she had. He had shown her love unconditionally and she had him and he was hers. She wrapped her heart in a box and hid it deep inside her chest. She was...
She was seventy years old and she was...
She was seventy two years old and her daughter came and took her home. She lived with her and saw her granddaughter grow. She was... The box slowly opened.
She was seventy seven years old and she watched her daughter wave goodbye to a women that was her granddaughter. She was happy and could think of him now and smile at the memories of their years together. The love of her family had worked it’s magic on her heart and she remained happy. The box remained open.
She was eighty two years old. She looked down into her great-granddaughters eyes and saw her life reflected back at her. She let tiny new fingers clasp her own aged fingers. She took a shuddering breath filled with all the love she had and hoped this tiny new addition would experience a life of love.
She was eighty six years old and her daughter held her frail hand. She was looking up into her daughters eyes wishing she could stay; she was not afraid to go she just didn’t want to leave her. She felt the power of her daughters love in those eyes looking down at her. She closed her eyes. She took in a breath that was full of life and she let out a breath that was her last. She lived.