“I came across a writing prompt that said, “Write about leaving”, and as a senior my mind is usually on college, so the words just flowed out of me. I have many days like the day I wrote this where I can’t help but daydream about the future, and about freedom.” -Olivia Pastore


"View from the Clouds" by Laura Chamblee, 11th grade

“As I look down on the majestic ruins of Machu Picchu, I am filled with emotion I can only imagine is similar to what it feels like to conquer the world. Nothing could have prepared me for this moment; no pictures that I had seen of the ruins could compare to beauty that was before me. I am at a loss for words because this is the most incredible thing I have ever seen. Misty clouds cling to the Andean Peaks and green mountains are below me, making me feel like I am in a mystical jungle.” -Laura Chamblee

Are you excited for college?”
They all seem to ask me
tirelessly, and sometimes
I’m afraid to tell them,
to let my truth bleed
from my mouth:

I imagine leaving home
almost every day.
I imagine a car or a plane
taking me to places
uncharted to find
a life anew.
I imagine my family’s dewy eyes,
my flushed cheeks,
and my heart trying to burst from its cage.
I imagine me trying (yet failing)
to contain euphoria
of freedom.

A term I wrack about in my brain,
longing for its full understanding.
Every time I’ve left somewhere
it never felt like my choice alone.
As if leaving was forced,
and I would always be leaving
something better behind.

I imagine at that moment
I will look out the window,
And for the first time look ahead
to where I am going to.
I play the scene out in my head
like a movie (or a low-budget indie film).
The feeling of freedom
will be new;
It will be light.
I’ll probably scare some passerby
with crying or laughter—
but I won’t care.
Because I will be free.
I will no longer be acting
based on fear.
No one will know my name,
who I am.
I will be taking my first steps
onto a pristine clean slate.

Freedom is what I make of it.
I am getting the chance
to start over,
to make the new life
I would sit around being afraid of.
Life so far was the lead up
to the main event.
Now there is only the present.
No do-overs,
no looking back,
only forward.
The opening credits are over –
Let the plot begin.