She Turns the Page

a short story by Lanaya

She sits down at her desk and her mind begins
to wander. When did she begin to rely on the

magic of stories to help her deal with real-
ity? I guess it doesn’t matter. What does,

though, is she figured out that words are ex-
traordinary.

Every day is similar for her. She gets lost
in her students and the joy they radiate. She
is enveloped by her son. His laughter inspires
her. One flash of his slate eyes and the answer
is yes. Her worries consumer her. They are
the underlying pulse of her life, annoyingly
subtle, but ever-present. Her thoughts plague
her, adjacent to the urge to write. She is
compelled to sever each thought from the trap
of her mind–make sense of it all. She longs
to separate her stories from her. Figure out
what’s true. Decide what she imagined.
She has so much to say.
About the same time she recognized the magic
of stories, she unfolded another secret. Words
are powerful. They are a portal to any place or
time one can dream. A story can heal a broken
heart. Words can provoke change. A poem can
revive the dead. This was the biggest moment
of clarity in her life. She often jokes it is
her Matrix moment. The code deciphered. Limbs
flying faster than there are agents to combat.


But what good are her words if they never leave
the comfort of her journal? She drowns in this
question daily. She is trapped in the darkest
corner of a library, hidden in a sentence on
a page of a book that no one’s checked out in
decades, pleading to be brushed off. Exposed.
Read aloud.
She has been writing for herself all her life.
She is never more awake than when she glimpses
a page that was blank just minutes before, now
filled with the curves and slashes that only
her hand can produce.
“I wrote that? I’m the creator?” Sometimes she
is so shocked at herself that she is giddy over
her left-handedness. The pens smudges, proof,
that she wrote those words, crafted that poem,
the ink reminding her that it is all worth it.
But it is no longer enough.
She wants to write for others. All her life

she has read words, swallowed poems, digest-
ed stories. They saved her many times. They

shouted secrets, offered embraces, rescued her
from herself. She read in search, in hope, to
know she was not the only one. She wants to do
that for someone. Be that connection. Be that
comfort.
She sips her coffee.
She clicks her pen.
She turns the page.

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