Under 18 Non-Native Speaker WINNER — 2019







Violet stuffs her Modern Art textbook into her backpack before zipping it closed. She’s not late, for once, and she’s even got time to pass by the convenience store and buy apple juice for the way. Uni’s not far, but going there sometimes requires an extra amount of mental strength, and Violet finds that in her sweet drink.

She makes her way out of her room and down the stairs, reaching the hallway and crouching down to put on her shoes.

“Are you going to see Lou again tonight?” her mother’s voice slices the silence. Little particles of bitterness get caught in the air.
Violet flinches, but goes on tying her shoelaces. Her mother must be leaning against the wall a few feet behind her, with the same cold and sharp stare. It’s so intense Violet can feel it carve little crescents into her back. She tries to ignore the strength with which she ties the last knot, and the whiteness spreading in her knuckles from it.

“Don’t expect me back for dinner.” is all she says as she stands up to leave. What else can she add in this situation? Answering her mother’s question would feel too strange, too forced. It wouldn’t be that hard if both of them were closer, like a real mother and daughter, but a wall of unkept promises and angry silences has risen between them that nothing goes through anymore. It’s too thick.

“It’s time to forget, Violet. It’s been too long.”

It’s been too long and Violet still hates the way her mother’s voice sounds when she says it.

Her knuckles remain white when she walks out of the house without saying goodbye….