The early August sun glared down at me as I soaked in the fresh breeze flying past me. Relishing the feeling of fresh air after days of being locked indoors was like quenching a severe thirst on a scorching hot summer day. Padding against the cement pavement, I reached the rusting mail box that was accessorized by numerous scratches and dents. Pulling the latch down, I peered into the box that had a stack of white envelopes. I reached in and pulled the pile out and gripped it in my hand as I slowly made my way back towards the house. As I walked, I looked up at the crystal blue sky which was enriched with numerous puffs of white clouds. I was drawn to the beauty of earth and couldn’t resist taking my time gazing at the beauty of nature surrounding me.
Although the captivating beauty of the outside world was like a gust of fresh air, my time outdoors was limited. I dragged my feet back up the steps I emerged down from earlier and padded through the slightly open door. Pushing my way in, I shuffled through the numerous envelopes. My eyes slightly widened at the fancy envelope with my name in dark ink on the front. University of Maryland College Park was engraved on the envelope that laid in my open palm. My heart began to race as I heard heavy footsteps approaching me. I rushed to hide the envelope in the first spot I saw, yet my efforts had gone to waste as the envelope was snatched out of my hand. My lip quivered as I lifted my eyes to see Rick angrily glaring at me. His expression was of pure fury as he ripped open the envelope and began reading the letter. I watched as his eyes glanced over the writing before he threw the letter onto the floor.
He took slow steps toward me as my breathing deepened. I clenched my fists at my side as he roughly gripped my shoulder with his calloused hands. I yelped in fear as he squeezed my shoulder, surely leaving a bruise.
“What the hell was that?” He bellowed as he gripped my jaw with his fingers and pushed my face towards his. I could smell the bitter stench of alcohol from him as he heavily breathed above me.
“A letter from the college.” I meekly replied in a small voice as I kept my gaze trained on the floor. Fear had engraved itself within me as I awaited his wrath.
“Who gave you permission to even apply?” He roared as his hand moved from my chin to my hair. He gripped the hair from the back of my head roughly and tugged causing me to let out a hiss of pain.
“I applied when I had completed the online course a few months ago. I didn’t think anything of it.” I answered as fresh tears burned my eyes. I felt a severe headache approaching due to how hard my hair was being pulled, but I tried my best to ignore the pain.
I flinched as he quickly pulled me towards him as he yanked on my hair harder than before. He tugged my head so that my gaze was directly in line with his and pointed his finger towards me threateningly.
“If you ever try doing something behind my back again, I won’t hesitate to injure you to the point where you won’t be able walk again. You’re lucky that acceptance letter benefits me more than it will you, or else you’d be knocked out on the floor by now.” He muttered before releasing my hair and grabbing his keys from the table beside the door. He glanced down at me and sneered before walking out the door and slamming it shut as a loud bang echoed through the house.
I pinched my eyes shut as I quickly placed my hand against my burning scalp in hopes of easing the tenderness. Although the pain felt insufferable, I shuffled towards the letter that laid on the floor upside down and quickly grabbed it. Holding the letter in my hand, I smiled as I read the first few sentences typed neatly on the paper.
Dear Isabella Wright,
Congratulations! On behalf of the University of Maryland, College Park, We are delighted to announce your admission for the fall semester of 2017!
I only got so far before I let out a squeal of excitement. Regardless of the fact that acceptance letters were sent around March, I had deliberately left the letter in the mailbox since it had arrived. Rick rarely checked the mail, and despite the many urges I had to open the letter as soon as it had arrived, I kept it away knowing that he would not have been pleased. However, now that I had overheard his plan, I saw no reason to hide the letter.
I felt pride knowing that I had worked long nights to earn this acceptance, and although I had nobody to celebrate with, I kept a bright smile on my face. Although negative thoughts began flooding my mind about the reasoning behind Rick allowing me in public schooling after years, I tried my best to ignore the nagging thoughts and focus on the positive.
Folding the letter back up, I placed it back into its envelope and began making my way upstairs toward my room. Shutting the door behind me lightly, I shuffled towards my mattress and laid down. I rested my still throbbing head against the flimsy mattress and shut my eyes. I laid there lost in my thoughts before I found my hands moving underneath my mattress. As soon as my fingers reached the small photograph, I pulled the paper out and glanced at it. Two smiling faces stared at me as decorations littered the room around them. The girl stood in front of a large cake, smiling infectiously as she flashed her bright smile at the camera. Beside her stood a boy, only two years elder, with his arm draped around the girl. He too smiled brightly at the camera as his raven hair fell over his bright eyes. Their resemblance was strongly evident as the two children shared an identical smile.
I sniffed quietly as I felt tears prickle my eyes. The look of pure innocence and obliviousness marring the children faces was captivating. This world was no place for those who only did good. This world far too dangerous for those pure souls.
If only the world worked in favor of those who’ve never done any harm to others.
What a beautiful place the world would be.
However, the real world didn’t work that way and darkness lurked in every corner.
I rubbed my temples as I shook off the depressing thoughts I constantly found myself thinking about. Glancing back down at the photo, I let out a deep sigh as I ran my finger across the length of the picture.
“I miss you big brother. I really wish things didn’t have to be this way.” I murmured as I flipped the photo around to glance at the date on the bottom corner of the photograph as well as a caption.
August 4th, 2003
Isabella’s 6th Birthday
Glancing over at the small calendar hung up on the wall, my eyes focused on todays date as I gripped the photo in my hand. Fighting the tears that threatened to fall, I shakily smiled to myself and stared out the window next to me at the now gray sky.
“Happy 20th birthday, Bella.” I whispered to myself as the first tear rolled down my cheek.