rtw 4.


this is about the first time that words profoundly affected me.

i was young. but, at least 11. i know this wasn't the beginning of my love of words, but it was the first time that i remember being moved to tears by a book.

i don't remember now where i even got the book. it was called 'alex: the life of a child'. it was about this little girl who had a terminal illness. what was it? not ms. i wish i could remember. it will come to me. her lungs filled with fluid and she died, very very young.

anyways, i still have this book. i toyed with the idea of re-reading it recently, since apparently that is the mood i've been in. but i wasn't in the mood to cry the day i was studying the bookshelf, so i skipped it.

all i remember is that the little girl died in the end of the book. of course the book was about her life, it was about everything she went through during her medical treatments.

i don't know if it was st jude's or march of dimes book or what, but it was a book that was meant to move you to tears with the story of this little girl. so much so, that you would donate to the people who helped kids like little alex.

i want to say that it was told from her father's perspective; that he wrote it. and i know that i have not read this again since, so it's fair to say that this book left a lasting impression. these are my memories from over 21 years ago. and my memory sucks to say the least, so the fact that i remember any of this at all is a feat.

i remember reading, and fully understanding from the very beginning that this tiny sick little girl was going to die by the end of the book. whether it was written or not. and i even want to say that it was written out, right there in the beginning. and that the story was written from her death, backwards.

in any case, there it is. the first book that i remember as one that made me cry.

at 11, i must've been in, what? fourth grade? most likely. and for whatever other reason that this thing keeps coming up, it was when we had just moved into our new house, in our new neighborhood. in an effort to start over as a family. as a family who needed to move past tragedy and start fresh. but certainly the sadness that i'd been surrounded by for the year or two before, it gave the book even more gravity.

and, while on this subject, i should also add that just before this time, i was encouraged to write a book about my brother by my elementary school guidance counselor, ms tharp. how i loved and adored that woman. she was older then, and it makes me so sad to know that i will never see her again, for i'm sure she has long since been dead. she will never know what she meant to me, and how much she helped me, and my family as a result. she was incredible. an amazing lady.

in any case, every week i would go to her office and we'd talk about what had happened. and at a point when i guess she felt that i was ready, she had me start this story. and for all i know, it might have been the first story i ever wrote. i was in the third grade.

these two memories are forever intertwined in my mind. maybe this is why i'm visiting it so much these past few days.

because maybe this is exactly when i fell in love with writing and reading and books. and maybe this is why i'm stuck on it now. because if there is to be a rebirth, there has to be a death. and maybe i have to bury all this death, so that i can live again.

and so that i can write again.

and maybe, it's for the first time ever. to truly write about things that are not going to be about my life. because it's new to me. and i'm excited for it.

i am so tired of being so sad all the time. maybe it's just a lifetime of sadness that i kept burying. and that has been forever resurfacing. only to be shoved under again. and maybe i can't ignore it anymore. and maybe that is the key to unlocking the writer buried inside of me. who, until now, has only kept journals of her life.

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