Excerpt 1: Caged

I want to get out of this house. My teeth ache, my skin burns and my bones rattle in restlessness under it. I feel my soul clawing its way out my body, yet I sit here and accept the next slice of cake. I paste a smile on my face pretending everything is okay, but nothing is. I long for the cold air that will punch my face when I open the front door and the wind in my hair as I run away from this place.

I want to escape the bright eyes of the people looking at me, watching my every action and waiting for the moment I open my mouth and say something funny. That is one of my roles here. The one who makes everyone laugh with my jokes. They don’t hear the sarcasm. They are too blind they see genius instead of irony. Sometimes, my role is that of a successful scholar. They engage me in intelligent conversations, testing the extent of my knowledge as if we were in a lecture hall. As if they are the professors I need to impress. As if an honor-hungry student is all I am, not a daughter, a sister or a friend or simply someone lucky who got a perfect score.

They talk about their expectations, unaware of the pressure it builds inside me. My mind races and my heart pounds, already scared of the failure I am going to be. I can picture the disappointment painted on their faces when that day comes. And all I can say is that I’m sorry. I wouldn’t be the girl who makes people laugh anymore. I wouldn’t be the girl who amazes them with my wit. I will just be the girl who made wrong choices and bad decisions. The girl who couldn’t do better. The girl who crushed the dream.

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