With nothing to guide her, without a purpose nor destination, she ran. She wanted to escape from it all. The pressure, the fear of disappointment, and the hate seemed to pull her down like an anchor. When finally her tired legs gave out on her, she stopped and sat down on the gray sidewalk. Her face flushed, her breathing became heavy, and her legs ached. A few people stopped and stared at her, but she didn’t care. She didn’t want to go home today, didn’t want to face her parents. The reason for it all sat crumpled at the bottom of her backpack. A paper with a blood red “F” smacked right on the top of the page.
“F stands for failure.” She kept saying to herself. She burrowed her head between her knees and didn’t know what to do. She felt like a weed in a garden of roses. She didn’t belong.
“Hey kid, are you ok?” A man with a bottle of Coca-Cola had asked her curiously. She simply answered him with an “oh no, I’m fine” and walked sluggishly away. She wandered places to places and thought about what she should do next. All the money she had was a couple of dollar bills and some quarter so she doubted they’ll get her very far. Soon she’d have to go home. Soon she’ll get yelled at. Maybe they’ll even kick her out too, who knows? As she watch the sun set, splattering the bright orange-red light everywhere, she sighed. The day is ending, soon it’ll be dark. Time to go back to the dreaded home.
Then, inside her, something changed. Even if the day is ending, there’ll be a new day. Maybe, just maybe on the off chance of her not being kicked out of the house, she can improve. No, it’s not a maybe anymore, she will improve. Who cares if she’ll be kicked out of the house in about an hour or so, she can live on strawberries for the rest of her life. With those thought, she laughed at the strawberry stand across the street.
Ready. Get set. Go.
She was running now, passing the stop signs of her life with a blur. Never before she was this desperate to get home as soon as possible. She ran and ran until she saw that house with the red tulips in its front yard. She stopped to catch her breath and then she ran the doorbell. When her dad opened the door, she stumbled in and words flew from her mouth.
“Well um today I got an F because I did my multiplication wrong and you can kick me out of the house but wait a minute so I can get a change of clothes or something and don’t worry about me I can live on strawberries and apples and-”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa kid. Slow down.” He dad cut of her sentence and chuckled.
She stopped and take a gulp of air before she ran out of breath again.
“Oh, an F?” He mom came from the living room. Obviously she heard the whole thing.
“Umm, are you mad?” She lowered her head, afraid to see their disappointed faces.
“Haha, no sweetie. Everyone slip up sometimes. I’m more interested on your idea of living on strawberries. Jam or freshly picked?” He dad was laughing now, amused. Her mom laughed with him. She was shocked. She stared wide eyed at her parents, who is currently cracking up at the idea of surviving on strawberries.
“C’mon, there’s no chance that I’ll get out of this scott free.” She was sort of disappointed after bracing herself for a mountain of troubles.
“Well, no, not really. There’s something. Promise us that you try hard and get a better grade next time.” Her dad’s tone was gravely serious. “Oh and please, please, PLEASE don’t threat us with a strawberry diet ok? You almoost give me a heart attack!” His voice broke into a laughter at the last word. She joined him too and admitted it was all she could come up with in short notice. Her dad patted her back and went back to his newspaper. After he mom asked if she’d like something to eat, Emily realized that she was starving from all that running and worrying. She laughed and walked straight to the dining room.
That night she thought about the F and decided that F doesn’t stand for Failure, it stands for Free From a Life of Living on Only Strawberries. She mused at the thought and decided to move on with her life.