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Four Years at the Mount

Junior year

The power of a pen

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

(8/2014) "Thatís not even what I was saying!" Jillian shouted as she grabbed the paper from her motherís hands and stormed up the wooden stairs. "You just donít understand!" She marched into her bedroom and closed the door behind her before opening it again and slamming it much harder to get her point across. Jillian crumbled up that dumb sheet of paper that was supposed to mean so much and threw it across the room. She flopped onto her bed, and put her face in her pillow. "Ugh!" she cried. She had so many emotions and thoughts running through her mind and had no idea how to sort them all. Why did high school have to be so stressful?

While Jillian was lying there, she began to hear scratching at her door. She ignored it at first but then realized that it wasnít going to be stopping anytime soon. Reluctantly, Jillian got up and opened her bedroom door just enough for her cat Addie to push her way into the room.

Jillian sat back down on her bed and Addie jumped up beside her. Jillian tried to formulate her thoughts and think through the situation but couldnít figure out where to begin. "What do you think, Addie?" Jillian asked. Addie just looked at her and begged for her ears to be rubbed. "Youíre no help either," Jillian said.

Thinking it was the only activity that could help, Jillian decided to grab her journal from the bedside drawer and pick up a pen. She flipped it open to an empty page and stared at it, wondering where to begin and if writing anything down would even help. Addie, who had started to doze off at the foot of the bed, got up and walked over towards Jillian. She started to nudge Jillianís hand as if encouraging her to just write already. Jillian rolled her eyes but took the hint and let her hand flow freely across the page.

The pen glided effortlessly along the lines of the notebook as they carried Jillianís thoughts. Her emotions poured out through each word she wrote. Her left hand slid quickly from one side of the page to the other, smearing the ink along the curve of her hand. Once she began to write there was no stopping her, and soon Jillian had filled multiple pages with everything from journaling, to poems, to short stories. Taking a deep breath, she looked down at what sheíd written. In a way she felt as if the things sheíd made were not her own. It was almost as if when she wrote she transcended herself, or maybe it was when she was most completely connected with her inner self. She wasnít quite sure, but she didnít want to question it too much.

Jillian looked across the room at the red numbers on the clock and realized that she had been writing for over an hour. It was so easy for her to get swept away in words that she could easily forget everything else. Maybe that is why it was such a good stress reliever for her.

Feeling much better, Jillian got out of bed and went to pick up the piece of paper she had crumbled. She found it and flattened it out to reread its contents. In big bold letters across the top it stated, "SAT Test Results," three words that were more than enough to give anyone a heart attack. Jillian looked back down at her scores. Yes, her parents were right that she didnít do that well in math and that colleges might predict her to be unfit for their university because of it, but she did decent in critical reading and her writing score was outstanding. Jillian was honestly proud of herself for achieving such a high score and wished that her parents would be proud of her as well. She sighed once again with disappointment.

Just then there was a knock at her door. "Finally", Jillian thought, "It took them long enough." She let her parents into her room and they all sat down on her bed. "Jillian, we are sorry for what we said. We realized that it came off with a lot more anger than we felt or even intended," her mother said, trying to comfort her. "We really are proud of you and we understand that you donít want to have to take the test again. We are fine with that now if that is still your decision," Jillianís father said reassuringly. Jillian accepted their apology but also thought that retaking the test might not be such a horrible idea after all.

She sat and talked with her parents for a few moments, relieved that they were on good terms once again and that her emotions were no longer controlling the situation. Previously her parents had been upset when Jillian mentioned her dream of becoming a writer, but now they spoke with concern out of love. "Jillian, are you sure thatís what you want? You might not be able to find a job or make any money," her mother said. "Mom, I love it. When I write, everything just seems okay. Itís like my therapy and I am good at it. Itís truly what I am passionate about. The world makes more sense when I have a pen in my hand and a piece of paper in front of me," Jillian continued to explain. Luckily Jillianís parents responded with support for her and whatever her dreams may be. As Jillianís parents got up to leave the room, her father turned around and smiled at Jillian, "I think youíre an excellent writer and I always want you to follow your dreams no matter what they may be."

Jillianís eyes widened and a smile broke out across her face. She had finally gotten her parents to see how important writing was to her and how much she loved it. Filled with joy, Jillian slammed her journal shut that had been lying open on her bed. "Until next time," Jillian mumbled as she closed her problems, passions, and dreams away between the pages. She giggled with excitement, thinking of the possibility that one day some of her writings from that journal could be published. "One day," she said as she held tightly onto her dreams. With a smile still on her face, Jillian scooped Addie up from the end of her bed. She hugged her cat closely and Addie began to purr quietly as if to say, "I told you it would all work out in the end."

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen