One Year Later…

By: Kristen O.

Dear diary,

Today is my 13th birthday!! I’m so excited that I’m finally a teenager. I woke up this morning with my parents holding a cake serenading me with the classic birthday anthem: Happy Birthday. It was the great start to a great day, I swear… everything that happened today was amazing. After I got out of bed, I walked down to the living room and dining room to see it decorated with balloons and confetti and my best friend standing by the door! She walked me to school and gave me a big hug and the most beautiful necklace.

School was great too because everyone hugged me and said happy birthday; the school seemed somewhat more vibrant now that it’s my birthday. Maybe it’s just me. But enough about school… once I got out of school, my best friend took me to the embassy to buy imported food, since her dad is an ambassador and has access to the embassy. But that’s not even the best part… the really great part was once I got home. My parents threw me a party, with a cake and everything, all my friends came and we danced, sang, ate and had the time of our lives. I went to bed feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

– Jackie

But a year later, on the exact same day… everything was completely different.

Dear diary,

I’m 14 now. My birthday didn’t go so well. Everything has changed since last year. I woke up to the loud sound of a bomb being dropped down the street. My parents didn’t even come to my room because they thought they’d get shot. Once I got out of bed, I had to go to school. I don’t even know why I would even want to go to school without my best friend walking me. She was shot yesterday. We were in her house doing algebra homework, I had just gone to the bathroom. I was supposed to go back and study with her but I heard people breaking into her house, I heard yells, shrieks and gunshots. I couldn’t get out. I was physically paralyzed in that very moment. As soon as the noise died down, I ran outside to see my best friend shot dead on the coach, my best friend’s father (the ambassador), shot dead by the stairs. It only got worse the next day. I was walking to school when I saw men in militarily uniforms randomly firing at random people. I had to run back home to safety. I don’t even know how I can call this living, but this is my life now. So yeah, now you know why this was the worst birthday ever. I guess you can’t be happy when your country is in war.

– Jackie

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