The beginning of it all: the first chapter


Hello there; I see you’ve stumbled upon my short story. This is a story about seeing the world inside and outside of home. I’ll be posting a new chapter every other Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Chapter 1

This life is a photograph
Saturation fading, time passing
One moment captured forever unchanging
Trapped behind the frame
Of ornate borders

Ugh, still too cheesy. Everything here feels cheesy, ooey-gooey American cheese–and only stretching when pulled. Nothing breaks; nobody stops to question the monotony and superficiality of this town.
Maybe once I get out of here, I’ll start to see and do things that actually matter.


Wren Earhart sighed, closing her moleskin journal and setting it aside. The notebook stood out against the preppy theme of her bookshelf, rustic journal cover resting atop neatly stacked cookbooks and pastel pink pencils.

Insight traveled down from the night sky, through Wren’s open window, and into her mind. Aha! All the frustration of the last few years–that had culminated in her brain and brewed quite the storm–would finally be relieved. Wren hated her town as far back as she could remember; none of the sheltered bubble fit with her spunky, adventurous soul.

She saw it as a photograph, forever preserved within soapy walls. Every time she tried to get out, she slipped and fell back. While Wren longed to see the world beyond the city limits and leave her footprint out there, her peers did not care for global matters or the international community.

Wren could imagine it now: she would graduate high school, finish college at a local institute, and get a nine-to-five cubicle job as a secretary for prep school. She might have kids–if she did, they would most definitely go to the same private school she went to, and they would have no chance of seeing the world either. The words vibrated in her head. Monotonous. Superficial.

So when this Eureka! moment hit her with a solution, she thanked her lucky stars. This is my way out, Wren thought.

Wren had set her mind on studying abroad.

The way Wren figured, if she kept working her waitressing job all of junior year, she would have enough money to fund her endeavors for senior year. Of course, she could easily ask her parents for the money: everyone in this town was much more well-off than they would ever need.

But Wren feared that her parents would never agree. It would take lengthy arguments to convince them that she was ready to take on the world; her parents, like most in these suburbs, sheltered their children like pearls in an oyster. If she possessed the money, though, Wren could add significant backing to her pleas–and even if her parents still disagreed with her at the end of junior year, she would have the means to support herself.

Wren was a dreamer. She recognized the distance she would go to achieve this goal, but she also saw how unrealistic it was. Nevertheless, she had hope.

For now, though, she was just Wren Earhart–the girl named after two goddesses of aviation–unable to lift herself out of this shell. Someday, she would spread her wings and follow her own migration.

Wren heaved her backpack onto the chair in her room, unzipping it to make sure all of her books were in there. Sure enough: biology notebook, literature textbook, math foldera�� The list goes on, as monotonous as the ticking of a clock.

Something about this thought suddenly made Wren tear up.

Though she knew she was so much more than the barriers confining her, Wren sometimes felt that she wasn’t taking full advantage of the opportunities that were presented to her. Would someone so ungrateful of their privileged upbringing ever be able to appreciate anything else? Are levels of thankfulness just relative to what one has and what one doesn’t have?

The air became redolent with doubt. Frustrated, Wren pulled out her moleskin notebook again. She ripped it open, tore out the poem she had been drafting, and crumpled it up. Who describes a town as “ooey-gooey American cheese?!” Wren thought to herself. I just sound dumb and ungrateful for what I do have. Maybe I should give up trying to get out of here.

For a moment, it seemed possible–live a quiet, simple life in the gated suburbs.

And then that vision burst out of Wren’s mind as quickly as it had intruded. She had put way too much of her heart into her desire to travel; there was no way she could turn back now.

She opened her notebook once again and started writing.

Let’s try this again.

The suburbs I live in raise kids in a sheltered way. No one sees beyond their comfortable life; no one even bothers to look.

I’m strange for reading the newspaper. I’m strange for keeping up-to-date with things going on in the world. Many–most–people here are quite ignorant. And I want to change my surroundings so that I’m with people who care about the world like I do.

I want to go out and travel. Study abroad somewherea��. Or even, study abroad everywhere. I could just throw on a backpack and keep walking away into the night. Wait, who said it had to be walking into darkness? I’m walking into the light, into the bright day ahead of me. The world out there is radiant, and each glowing ray beckons me, teases me until I can return home to the land away from home.

I’m like an insect caught in amber, but I still have a chance to escape. The mold around me hasn’t quite hardened yet; if I pump my legs enough, I can squirm my way to freedom.

She couldn’t sense the buzzing of energy in the air, but a storm was brewing outside Wren’s window.