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Her spirit awoke when she sat, laptop out, fingers playing on the keyboard. When her imagination made reality on the page. Words took form: people, places, events, lives—all strung together in her mind. All balancing precariously in her fingertips. All finding a new home on the page.

She used to dream for hours, her head in the words. Sometimes—more often than not—she would lie in bed at night, mind alive and heart racing as the skyscrapers in her city rose brick by brick, as the colors in the faces of her characters blushed into life.

This was not her escape from reality, this was her gift to the world. This pure imagination, the beauty of her mind, and the worlds, and the people, and the music of the words: clean and clipped up on the clothesline to blow in the soft air for the simple enjoyment. 

She was the kind of girl who was a little wild on the inside. Alone, the brave and adventurous one who tiptoed along the sunflower-yellow line in the middle of the weather-parched road: her nose in the air and arms outstretched.

But she was not always fearless. When others were around, she showed a quiet, reserved self. A little shy, somewhat conscientious. Respectful, responsible, serious. Following the shadow of her older brother. Holding her mother’s hand until she was too big.

There were two sides. Like the keys on a piano, black and white. Cut crisp, kept separate. She believed in the sweet, major notes. She wanted to always be loud and careless and free. But every time she played her major scale, she couldn’t help but play the dark-toned keys.

As the girl grew up, the distinction blurred. There was no longer strict measurements for the choices she made, the behavior she claimed. No two categories of black and white. Interesting flavors of gray were blended. Sweet and spicy. Mild vanilla with a spark of citrus.

She spent her days no longer in the realms of light-hearted imaginations. Walking into adulthood, she carried responsibility. Words came on papers with hours of research, with tedious learning, rigid structures, strict grammar, professional style.

Gone were the days of whimsy and play in her mind, through her fingers. Those days met the wind, like dandelion seeds. Here she met adulthood.

And I carried myself in the gray.

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