The Secret house, Lost Treasure, Greetings, and Growing Up A completion of vignettes By Melissa Duggan

My place makes me feel very calm, cozy, and relaxes me when I feel like I need to take a break from the world. I wrote this vignette about my grandma's house. This is a picture of my grandma sister, her friend, and my mum.

Grandma's House

There are two secluded houses at the end of a long winding road.

One is a family home made of dark wood,

the other small gray imobile double wide house

The houses are surrounded by a forest of green pine trees. They are separated by a small man made pond and a wooden shed with concrete flooring to store tools and a cars.

The gray double wide house has two doors, a main door and one that leads to the mud room, and two small porches with stairs to walk up on. The main door is on the front of the house while the other is on the left side of the house right next to the driveway

Entering the main door, just beyond the living room directly beside the main door to the right, there is a single dark blue couch

The living room has a rocking chair, a velvet couch, and a single reclining chair in the corner. The large windows lets in light that hits the couch, making the couch a perfect spot for a nap.

and there is an open kitchen with a small island perfect for two. There are two small wooden stools tucked discreetly underneath the island,

and a tiny wooden table across from it.

On one end of the house, there is a master bedroom painted light blue with big open windows that allows the sunlight to fill up the room. From that room, there is a connected bathroom that leads to a mud room where the laundromat is located in.

On the opposite side of the house are two small guest bedrooms, with a window in each, directly across from each other. The guest bathroom is next to one of the bedrooms, small with brown cupboards and champagne paint.

There is always a faint sound of country singers, talking about sunshine and love, on a portable radio in my grandma's bedroom. that has a top to insert CD's into. The atmosphere of the house and peacefulness of the quiet secluded road make it a perfect getaway. My place makes me feel very calm, cozy, and relaxes me when I feel like I need to take a break from the world.

Treasure

Treasure is what they decided to name me. My full Chinese name is Yuyun Lou, pronounced You-Yin Loo. In Chinese culture, they name children based off of the meaning of names while in America many people name babies because it is a family name, or simply because it sounds nice. I was left on the steps of what we would call in America a state or capitol building. In a way, I kinda feel lucky to have been placed there, I mean, at least it wasn't near a dumpster or where people never walked by. I like to think that someone wanted me to be found and cared for, even if they couldn't. Eventually someone came along, called a number, and I was placed into the care of the orphanage. I don't know exactly why they chose that name for me, but maybe it was because of the way they found me, as if like finding a long lost treasure. My last name, my now American middle name, has a bond to the country I was born in. I was born in Loudi China, so they took part of the country’s name and put it in mine. I feel very proud of it, it's as if I always have a part of where I came from with me. For some reason, when I was little, I didn’t really tell anyone my Chinese name. I felt as if it was a secret I couldn’t tell anyone but my closest friends. I like it more now, being adopted will always be an important part in my life. When I tell people, some think it’s ‘“cool”, to me I lack the knowledge of how I came to be, where my birth parents came from and how they met, and my exact time and place of where I was born. To me those questions will always be in my mind,

but being a treasure makes me feel just a little bit better.

Hey!

This is a picture of Sammie and my friend Cam. She took the picture when I wasn't looking.

During my high school experience, I have learned many lessons and values. One of those values I’ve learned is to try and say hi or give a smile or wave to anyone I see. Last year, when going to and from classes, I felt like it was a routine, wake up, go to school, focus in classes, go home, sleep. However, at some point during my freshman year I met Sammie. I knew her from my world history class but I had never really talked to her that much. When semester two came around, we happened to have the same ceramics class. We would sit together and talk about history class and make jokes. Now during sophomore year, we don't really get the opportunity to talk and hang out as much. When I see her in the hallways, she still smiles and waves and says hey. One day I thought to myself about how nice it is when someone says a hello or hey to me. It’s like I was being woken up out of my daze to someone who wanted to say hi and acknowledge me. With that in mind, I try and say hi to people when I pass my friends or acquaintances in the hallway. I think, maybe I can help and make someone's day just a little bit better.

Growing Up

When you're a kid, you think that the friends you grow up with will always be your friends. I learned that in high school, life doesn't always work out that way. High school taught me that if there are people in your life making you feel miserable and stressed, that friendship isn't worth it. I had a friend who would constantly intimidate and make me feel bad about myself. One day it turned out that we had the same lunch, and I by accidentally took her seat not knowing it was her’s. Prior to the event, I had asked the people around me if anyone was sitting in an empty chair that was on the end of the lunch table. The peers around me told me that they didn't think so. With that information I thought it would be fine to switch my chair and the other chair’s spot. That's when my friend came to the table and said “REALLY MELISSA?! YOU TOOK MY SPOT?!”. To my surprise, I look up and see the anger and intolerance towards me in her eyes. “I'm sorry! I didn't know anyone was sitting here!” I choke out and say. “WELL GET OUT!” she says impatiently. I sheepishly move my seat aside for her and I feel tears welling up in my eyes and feel my face go red. Everyone at the lunch table sees my face and I am pulled aside by one of my friends and she helps me settle myself down.

The next day is my current best friend’s birthday. She has graciously set aside the lunch for only us to settle down and chat. I talk to her about my sadness and feelings of annoyance of things going on in my life. I hear the same friend’s voice who told me to get out of “her” seat call my best friend’s name over and over again. I see her behind my friends head with her phone held up high, trying to get a picture of my best friends face to post on her social media that it is her birthday. I ask her to stop because I was in a conversation with my friend. The other friend shouts to me “Fine! Why are you in such a bad mood!”. Okay, that hurt. Who knew that wanting to have someone's undivided attention while in a conversation with hem equated to being in a bad mood. Later I ask to talk to her in private and she complies.

“I feel like whenever we talk now it always ends up with you yelling at me.” I say

“Well you've been really rude to me recently.” I'm shocked to hear this from her, I hadn't thought I had been.

“Really? When?”

“When you told me to go away because you were in a conversation with your friend.*” (*girls name inserted)

“Well I was kind of in an important conversation, I've been going through some hard times right now.”

“You don't need to take it out on me.” Not even a question if I was okay or assuring smile did she give me. I hadn't thought I had been taking it out on anyone, I hadn't even said anything to her about what had happened to me. I had thought I had been pretty emotionless about the topic with her around.

“Well I'm sorry you feel that way.” I say in a genuine voice. She looks up and links her hands together like she's thinking really hard whether or not to accept my apology. I don't know if she ever did. From that conversation I felt as if I had given so much to her, apologizing, opening up to my very exclusive personal life, and empathizing with her. In return, she had stood there not saying anything apologetic to me for making me feel bad or asking if I was okay. I felt numb and a concoction of anger, sadness, and exhaustion. In a matter of seconds she had been able to turn the conversation around, and act as if I had been the only wrongdoer.

I have learned that people who don't reflect on themselves and give 25% while another person gives 75% into the relationship isn't worth you time. It's hard and tiresome when you can't resolve conflict with another. That's exactly what happened to me. I hope that she'll learn one day that self-reflection and empathy are needed more in life than she thinks now. I hope that she'll learn to be a little more empathetic, if not towards me then at least others. I hope that she'll learn to be more mature, to not turn a problem relating to her on someone else than reflect on herself. I hope she'll come around... one day.

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