This piece is part of our “Tails + Tales” teen summer writing initiative inspired by the 2021 national summer reading theme chosen annually by the Collaborative Summer Library Program.
One thing I’ve found is people often write tales about heroes and brave, brave adventurers off in faraway castles saving princesses and the like. Poets speak of war-soaked glory and the sickening scent of blood and metal, and it often seems that the only stories worth being told are ones of immense courage and the crimson victory of causing the death of another.
I will never fight dragons. I will never win wars.
I planted some strawberries last weekend. Four little sprouts, lined up neatly in the warm earth like soldiers on a battlefield. My hands were covered in dirt, not blood, calloused from wielding a shovel instead of a sword. Creating life instead of taking it.
I taught my sister to play volleyball yesterday. Half an hour in the front yard, sweat dripping not from hand-to-hand combat, but from the toil of sisterhood and the strengthening of a bond.
I sat under the stars last night. They glittered above me, and I began coming to terms with the knowledge that although nobody writes tales about girls who plant strawberries and teach sisters and watch stars, the universe smiles down on those girls all the same.
Olivia Cai is an aspiring writer from sunny Southern California. She grew up at her local public library, borrowing tens of books at a time. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball and going to the beach. This is her debut vignette publication.