Under The Same Stars

by Lelia Washburn, age 10
Under The Same Stars Lelia is a 10-year-old swimmer, writer, and musician. She likes chinchillas and her younger sister Simone.

“Why are things stressful? I don’t know! Then why did I ask myself? That I don’t know either! My thoughts are so weird. I thought.”

Why are things stressful? I don’t know! Then why did I ask myself? That I don’t know either! My thoughts are so weird. I thought.

Why do people have to write book reports? I DON’T KNOW? I have to stop asking myself these questions!

Face in my hands, out of my mind, trying to write a book report that is due tomorrow, this is torture. I wish James was here to help me… NO, don’t think different thoughts. James will be back soon enough! Think Moby Dick thoughts!

After what seemed like HOURS (it was more like 30 minutes) I got my book report done. James would be SO proud… I miss him. Maybe when I go to Hollywood to visit him I can show him this, it being my one of my better book reports.

***

“Time for dinner!” my mom shouts from the kitchen, her voice echoing through the silent hallway where James used to rant the poems that had wrote moments before. All of them hitting you with the feeling and passion they were written with. But now it is just echo.

This feels so unnatural… Why would she shout??? She KNOWS it is going to echo! Okay, NO, it is not her fault, Sam! How dare you think that!

I run down stairs with my eyes shut and sniff the air.

I know exactly what this is!!!

“It is soup dumplings!” I shout, excited about my guess.

“Correct!” my mom exclaims with a smile. “Now as your prize for guessing correctly, you don’t have to do the dishes after dinner!”

Does she sense my loneliness? She would NEVER do this if she didn’t. I hate that she can read my mind! If James hadn’t left then I wouldn’t feel so lonely! SAM! How dare you put your own good in front of your brother’s dreams! James deserves to take this chance!

“Yes!!!” I exclaim, hoping that my mom doesn’t notice the awkward tone I say it in.

“Let’s go sit down,” she says in a more melancholy tone.

Holy crap! She figured it out. Shoot shoot shoot shoot No….

We go and sit down at the table, and by then I have a plan for not talking.

I am going to ALWAYS keep my mouth full to the brim with soup dumplings. That way I can’t talk and if I wolf it down like that, then I can be excused then BOOM! No sharing feelings!!! Why do i not want to keep my feelings to myself? Again, Sam, STOP IT WITH THE QUESTIONS!

I sit down to a full plate of 10 dumplings. The aroma is irresistibly incredible.

This is going to be a piece of cake…

I gather my composure with a smile and pile three dumplings into my mouth at once.

And then it hits me…

These are soup dumplings… They have hot broth in the center… I just bit into THREE OF THEM without poking the dumpling and letting the broth cool down…

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” I holler, mouth sizzling and burning like an egg in a frying pan.

Ice, ice, I need ICE!!!

I jump from the table and sprint to the freezer.

***

That was embarrassing… Why didn’t I think that through!? Maybe because I was so focused on getting things in my my mouth swallowing and running back up the stairs that I didn’t consider the ABSURDLY HOT BROTH! Why am I so stupid!? Again. Sam… STOP IT WITH THE QUESTIONS!!

My mom looks at me with that pity look she uses only when someone has truly embarrassed themselves.

Great.

“Honey… ” she begins awkwardly. “You need to start to talk about your feelings! You’ve always been a quiet introverted person, but lately it has been abnormal and depressing.”

Hey, Mom, ever heard the phrase TOO MUCH INFORMATION??

“Meh,” I respond, quieter than I have ever been attempting to make a joke. “Not a big feelings person. More into baggy sweats and graphic novels.”

OH GOD I literally NEVER make jokes OUT LOUD. Was that funny? SAM, YOU WILL FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF IN JUST A MOMENT!! NO. QUESTIONS!!!

“I never hear you make jokes. You are incredibly funny! You should really use those skills more!” my mom suggested after a fit of laughter.

And right after I feel like I have actually socialized. (I know, shocker.) The doorbell rings.

***

There is a letter. From James. For me. MY BROTHER HAD FINALLY WRITTEN!!!

My mom grins at me, her pearly whites flashing with intensity, and if I am right, a little bit of hope.

“Go up to your room and read it, since it is for you specifically then come back down and I can reheat your dinner,” she says with a wink, and then swiftly glides back into the kitchen.

I am so excited!!! But also nervous… What if Hollywood changed him? He is my brother. I want the best for him, and when he wrote a play for his high school, never in a million years would I think that a famous producer and director would want to turn his play into a Hollywood production. To be honest, I would be TERRIFIED. But nevertheless, I must read this. To tell the truth, I would still read this if he had shoes growing out of his forehead.

Okay… moment of truth…. Let’s read this letter.


Sam,

You are probably wondering if Hollywood has changed me, and in fact it has for the better. I have learned life skills and improved my abilities in the driving. Now let me ask YOU a question. Have you done the same?

Oof. Way to give me a punch in the gut. He knows I have always compared myself to him. Anywho, I have to continue.

Look, I know you have been a reserved, introverted person, but you have ruined your social life! And to fix this, I have a challenge for you.

Man… the dude may be a soon to be superstar, but he sure remembers how to catch my attention. He knows I love challenges. And before I read the rest, challenge accepted.

I challenge you that in ten MONTHS you will have a big group of friends, soaring grades, an appearance that pleases you, and what you feel is a healthy, fit body. But I know you can’t accomplish this without having a little comforting poetry before it.

Think about this:

When you’re in bed

And looking up through your skylight

Watching the bright, gleaming stars

Think about this:

We all sleep under the same stars

We all have a connection

Through thick and thin

Through light and dark

Through the stars above your head

So tonight in bed remember that

And hopefully

It’s comforting

I hope that you know I love you with all my heart,

James


Wow, what an inspiring letter. I wish I could be that inspiring.


Epilogue

Hi… Remember me? The trainwreck of a girl where the person inside her head was bubbly and funny and outgoing but the girl on the outside couldn’t manage to bring her to life. But you would never imagine how now the sixth grade me is a whole new girl. And now walking down the brightly colored hallways with the neon yellow lockers and the locks that make the soft clicking noise when you spin them, I don’t feel like I am in a death trap at the bottom of the world and praying it didn’t come crashing down on my shoulders. Instead I feel like I am on top of the world and pulling my friends and family up with me. And now you’re thinking, friends?! Since when did Sam have friends? And my answer to that is: since ten months ago. I have built up my self esteem, built up my social life, improved my grades, and the amount of things I am actually sharing and explaining to my (rather large) group of friends. And even now I am entertaining many of my friends with a rather entertaining and enlightening story.

Also my appearance changed quite a bit too! I used to wear baggy sweats and loose T-shirts that usually hung to my knees and my hair in a big frizzy ponytail. But now? I wear a number of jeans and leggings (especially high waisted ones with belts. black preferably) I wear neat, flowy T-shirts in soft creamy colors. And wear my hair in neat double buns. It’s funny, I never ever thought a letter could change my life. I thought I would always be the annoying introverted girl with no friends yet, here we are. And remember, you can always make a change in your life, all you have to do is let someone motivate you and put your mind to it and you can always get it done.


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