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Honestly

A short story

Credit: Ximena Reyna

What is something you’re good at?

My hand stops abruptly. I hesitate. What are you good at? Simple enough, but I can’t think of an answer. I blow stray hairs away from my eyes and pretend to write something when I see my potential employer looking at me. Two minutes later I hand her the paper. She’s not even looking. I walk to my car.

What are you good at?

I check my phone and see a text from a girl who used to be my best friend. Hey, are you busy? it said. The weight in my chest gets heavier. I’d promised I wouldn’t answer anymore. So what if she only called when she needed something? So what if you went from best friends to strangers when she finally got herself a boyfriend? So what if every time you hang out with her you feel worse off? She’s your childhood best friend. The person who was there when you got your first bra, your first kiss, who slept over on school nights and laughed about stupid stuff with you hiding under a blanket while you were supposed to be sleeping. People change and grow apart. It happens, get over it. Good advice, but I never follow it.

What are you good at?

I turn on my music, and a song comes on. That one, that always reminds me of him. How he was sweet, how he smiled, how he made me smile. How his hands moved when he played guitar, how his eyes looked when he sang, how I’d turned him away. It was almost perfect, what neither of us knew was that I’d built a wall with spikes and locks and excuses. “Even given the chance, I wouldn’t change anything about myself or my life,” I’d told the interviewer. A lie, needless to say, change seemed necessary, inevitable even.

What are you good at?

There’s a gnawing feeling in my stomach, and a warm dread in my chest. Sometimes I feel like I was born with this weight — at times heavy and other times light. I need to tell someone, that always makes it better. But how do you explain what you don’t even understand? There’s good days and bad days. When it gets too dark, remember to turn on the light. My fingers fumble on a wall’s surface. Sometimes finding the switch takes time or someone else’s hand.

When I was younger I had this dream to graduate top of the class, to go to college and move somewhere new and exciting. To live an adventure of my own. Average grades that keep me on the honor roll, average test scores that keep me from sinking. Average ability, average mind. A four-digit number as an outline of what you are, how far you’ll go. That house by the ocean at times feels like a distant memory of someone’s wish, someone I used to be.

What are you good at? I’m such a mess. I hurt, I bleed, I bruise. I mess up. What am I good at? Honestly? I don’t have a clue. But I refuse to accept that that’s all there is. That I was given opportunities only to sabotage myself. Everybody feels a little crazy and God knows, we’re trying, I’m trying.

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Written by Ximena Reyna

A book, movie, music and coffee enthusiast, I am an argumentative 17-year old girl in her senior year of high school trying to figure out the rest of her life.

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