New York City Children’s Theater reached out to some of the best writers we know to create stories for our website based on the prompt:

The Greatest Adventure I Have Ever Gone On

Read our next guest post of the season, courtesy of Harper, age 13!

The greatest adventure I have ever gone on began when he ended. When I let myself, my life, go. When I let myself breathe for just one moment. My greatest adventure begins now.

I open the door to Mel’s diner, shaking the snow off of my Hunter snow boots on the mat. I breathe into my cold, numb hands. The diner is almost empty, but I still have trouble finding a seat. The waiter at the counter waves me down to a section of open seats.

“We are having a very busy night, but I think I can offer you one of these seats,” he said smiling. I laughed, I already liked this guy.

“Thanks-” I began.

“Wilbur. Wilbur Radley. Owner of the family run diner, and if you are looking for Mel you better talk to my Great-great-aunt.” Wilbur cut in.

“It’s alright Wilbur, you seem to have this under control,” I said smiling. Old guys were always my favorite. “I’m Renatta,”  I said stretching my hand out for a handshake.

“No shake necessary Renatta. Settle in, take your coat off. ”

I hesitated. Some people judge me and my bruises and scars, but I’m not sure Wilbur will care enough to comment about it. I take my Michael Kors coat off and place it gently on the seat next to me, keeping a close eye on the pocket with the cash. I conceal the eight hundred dollars in my coat pocket, hoping no one notices the wad of cash. I look down to the cut on my wrist and feel a pang of guilt.

“It wasn’t me,” I say pointing to my wrist.

Wilbur nods, “I know.”

“Can I have a cup of hot chocolate and grilled cheese?” I asked.

“Of course, hon.”

I look down at my arm and see all of the cuts and scrapes. The purple and green bruises. But the thing that hurts most are the memories.

            The purple and pink sunset outside reminded me of the sites me and Hudson saw on our honeymoon in Australia. I held my phone close to my ear, listening closely to the other end.

            “Yes that is correct, two thousand dollars being donated to Planned Parenthood. Thank you so much for your time, have a great evening.” I said into the phone. I ended the call and put my phone on our glass table. I looked up at Hudson on the couch and smiled, he didn’t return the favor. “You okay H?”

            “Pretty free and easy spending my money like that, huh? A conversation first would be nice. Two-thousand dollars to Planned Parenthood? I’m not sure we even agree with them.” Hudson said.

            “Your money?” I ask. I decide not to get into it, it’s just not worth it tonight.

I grab my phone and head for the kitchen, I’m halfway there when I fly across the room. Hudson’s arms and nails digging into me. My heart is racing, no one has ever hit me. I’m trying to think, to just breathe, I don’t even understand what’s going on. And in the next moment I’m lying on the ground taking big gulps of air.

“You cold, Renatta?” Wilbur asks, sliding the mug of hot chocolate in my direction.

“Nope,” I say with a smile. It feels fake, and I know it is.

“Alright good, your grilled cheese should be coming out soon.”

“Wilbur,” I call out to the kitchen. “Can you make the sandwich for to go?”

“No worries,” Wilbur says, poking his head out of the kitchen.

I tap my fingers on the counter and look around the diner. There are only a few people here at this time of day. My hands start to shake, I hold my hands together, hoping nobody notices. I look down at my shirt and see blood.

            “I thought I got it all off,” I think to myself. I try to cover it up with my arms, but there’s just too much of it. “How many people have seen it? What do people think I did? Do they know?” Suddenly, my mind is racing with uncontrollable thoughts. Just for a moment, it feels like everybody is staring at me. I grab my jacket and zip it up tight so no one can see my shirt. I pray that no one will comment, cause now all I want is to get out of here.

A few minutes later he brings me a white paper bag with my sandwich in it. He looks at me with sad, knowing eyes. “Be careful out there. The world is an unforgiving place, and trying to outrun time won’t give you what you want. Somebody will always catch up to you.”

“It’s not the who Wilbur, it’s the what.” I said, getting up from my seat and heading to the door, to the rest of my adventure.

The Little Red Fish

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