Excerpt from Breathe

Breathe. That’s what I tell myself when life proves too much for me to handle, and the anxiety consumes every part of my mind and body, devouring me, leaving me broken and damaged, once again. My Name is Becca and I’m thirteen years old. I haven’t had to tell myself to breathe for over six months, until now.

I sat on the front porch swing of my new home, a huge farmhouse built of stone. I call it our castle. To me, it looks like something out of a fairy tale, three stories of pure magnificence; every stone carefully put into place, filled with colors of gray and white. My two favorite spots are the front porch and the balcony. The porch wraps around the entire front of our castle, but it’s made of wood, not stone. My new mom, Bernie, says it’s because she added it to the house long after it was built by her great granddaddy, back in the 1800’s. Bernie said it was hard for her to find anyone around these parts to build a stone porch the way she wanted.

The balcony rests on the second floor and the curved stones are wonderful. You can only get to it from Bernie’s room, but she let me sit out there with her when the weather was nice. One time, shortly after I moved in with Bernie, I slipped into her room; curiosity got the better of me. After looking at all of her gorgeous dresses, I took the white one, covered in what looked like diamonds and put it on before walking out onto the balcony, pretending to be a princess. I know I’m too old to play princess, but I never had a chance to do it when I was younger. Bernie caught me in her dress as I twirled around on the balcony. I almost had to tell myself to breathe then. I lowered my head letting my long, stringy red hair cover the tears swallowing up my green eyes, preparing myself for a whippin’. Bernie came towards me, as I held my breath, tightening every muscle. Then the most unexpected thing happened. She gently raised my head, brushing my hair back with gentle hands, and she smiled. She gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me to stay right there while she fetched her camera. She wanted to capture this moment for an eternity, because I looked so beautiful. I call her mom now.


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