400 Words


rainbow 11!
400 words is a site where people submit a memoir that is no more than 400 words in length. Some of the writing is published in a zine, but most ends up on the site.

I was thinking it would be cool if everyone wrote one and submitted it to the site, then we could see if anyone had their work featured on the site, or even in the zine!
I felt my father take my hand as we crossed the busy street together. Six-year-old me scampered alongside my giant hero, struggling to keep up as we walked to the hospital. Busy streets of Jacksonville caused me to cling to his side as we walked. After what felt like an hour, but could only have been minutes, we were at the hospital. The white washed walls and sterile smell lingered in my memory from previous visits. I felt a familiar feeling of calm understanding and peace with the unknown wash over me. It wasn’t long before I was standing in front of my mother’s room. As was the normal routine, I stood outside, waiting to see if my dad would let me see her or not. He came out and scooped me into a huge hug whispering, “It’s a bad day.”

Years later, I could fully understand how sick my mother was. I can’t remember what she looked like; I had never seen her in 'full illness' - my father had sheltered me from that. I only remember the recovery, which somehow grew to be worse than the surgery in my young mind. I remember her sleeping for days on end, medication after medication as she slowly regained her stamina; as I grew older, memories slowly ebbed away from my mind until completely forgotten. It wasn’t until unfamiliar pains would arrive once a month that I grew concerned. The blinding pain of not knowing slowly killed me every minute of every day for a year, until I finally said something.

My mother then told me of her hysterectomy that she had while I was young. She told me of the tumors, the cysts, and the pain. A sense of familiarity coursed through me, I thought of my own pain; the hereditary disease started to plague my thoughts until one day the pain stopped. I felt the fear recede as I went on with my daily duties of being a junior in high school. A feeling of serenity took over as I was no longer plagued by the disease. Even now I feel as though I will get it, if I don’t already have it. I feel the endometriosis like a constant shadow blocking the sun, but I am able to live in the shadow of its threat, because now I have the knowledge to face it head on.

I wrote that for AP Lit.