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Emma Emerging
by Shirley Holder Platt

Saddled with an old fashioned name, Myrna gets bullied at school. As a runaway, she learns early on that life can be harsh. When a burned out sign challenges her to emerge from her fears, she starts a journey of self-discovery and reinvention.

Chapter 1

Have you ever experienced that slurping, sucking sound as air filled the void left by your boot when trying to extract yourself from wet, boggy mud you’d stepped in? It’s like you know that if you pull your foot too hard and fast, your boot will stay, an...





Chapter 2

After the first new school, when everyone had a field day with my name, I made a point of arriving early to any new school or class. I would tell the teacher that I only used my initial and not my full, first name. Roll call would find me biting my nails, hoping s/h...





Chapter 3

Don’t get me wrong, it hadn’t all been horrible. Not long after the refrigerator box incident, we moved to Tucson. Mom was convinced that the weather would be cooler in the mountains. And believe me, the difference between 105 and 100 can actually be fel...





Chapter 4

Michael and I danced together for over an hour, stopping only occasionally to grab a soda and cool off. We stopped and sat on the couch for a few minutes, he had his arm around me and we almost kissed. At the last minute, he hesitated and instead, grabbed my ha...





Chapter 5
Two years later

I wanted to be an adult so much! I felt my time was near. This year, this month, in fact, I would make my big break. Wherever she took us, I’d be eighteen on the twenty-second. I would find a place to call my own. I wouldn’t tell her where I’d gone...





Chapter 6

Mom had a little money from the job she left so easily, so we were able to rent a studio apartment that was furnished with a couch that made into a bed.

“You get the couch. I’ll take the bed upstairs,” Mom said as she drug her suitcase up a n...





Chapter 7

I would like to tell you that I got my mom to a nearby hospital, that she was taken care of expeditiously and with loving care. I would like to say that I sat by her side and nursed her back to health, holding her hand and patting her while whispering encouraging wo...





Chapter 8

Consuelo invited me to a cookout at the local park one Saturday when we both had the day off. I had nothing else to do, so said yes. I showed up with a bowl of potato salad I’d made the night before. Consuelo’s family was huge. She met me as I walked tow...





Chapter 9

The next day at work to my utter surprise, Consuelo told me that Javier couldn’t stop talking about me after I left the party.

She said, “He lights up and his smile is muy grande.”

“Really?” I asked.

“Si!” ...





Chapter 10

I have been told to “Never say never.” Maybe there’s a reason for that saying, because just when I thought life would never be good again, it took an unexpected jog. It was almost love at first sight. There I was, hair on end as usual, baggy shorts...





Chapter 11

To say the guy made an impression on me would be seriously playing down the truth. Thoughts of our conversation would flit through my mind all day at work. I even stopped at the same grocery store on my way home the next evening on the off chance he might be there. ...





Chapter 12

By the time I moved in with Randy, I had accumulated more “stuff” than I’d ever had before. He came to load up the truck and was surprised to find only five boxes and a couple of tote bags. The rental I left had been furnished, so no furniture to m...





Chapter 13

That’s the last memory I have of Randy. I can remember missing the bus, kissing, riding the bike, feeling so free and happy, and then it’s all just a blank until I woke up in the hospital. They tell me the helmet saved me. I just don’t know why Ran...





Chapter 14

One week after the “second dull knife incident” I awoke to find flowers in my room. Very strange. I was curious enough about them to get myself out of bed and limp over to the window sill. I wanted to know if there was a card. I didn’t know anyone ...





Chapter 15

The room seemed emptier after she left. I pulled back the curtain to let a little of the light into the room. I lay on my bed, and watched the birds dive bombing each other and circling the feeder. What could they teach me? They were ferocious with their appetites. ...





Chapter 16

I guess I just wasn’t ready to be happy, because I dreamed of my mother on the stretcher again that night. Only this time, she was much older and shriveled up. Her voice was trembling, and she had tears running down her face. I woke up in a cold sweat. I must ...





Chapter 17

I didn’t have any more nightmares that night. In fact, I slept soundly and awoke feeling refreshed. Thoughts of suicide were lingering in the back of my mind, but I knew I wouldn’t do anything that drastic as long as I lived with Margaret. She didn&rsquo...





Chapter 18
Margaret's Story

Margaret drank some coffee and took a deep breath. I could tell it wasn't easy for her, but she needed to tell me what was on her mind. Here's her story:

I was young. Young and in love. I met Jason at a park. We were walking our dogs, and the leashes got tangl...





Chapter 19

So much honesty in such a short time drastically changed our relationship. I trusted Margaret with the secret of my most horrible feat. She trusted me enough to tell me about losing Jason and how she let her fear hold her back from Randy and his beloved music. It wa...





Chapter 20

One chilly morning, when the garden was weeded and Margaret had added mulch and other preparations for the coming colder weather, she said in an offhand way, “Can we talk about your mom this morning?”

“I guess, but I pretty much told you all ...





Chapter 21

That Christmas was like no other I’d lived through. Margaret brought a pre-lit, eight-foot tall tree down from the attic. She had decorations in theme colors. We decided on green, red and gold, traditional colors of the season. We hung bells and bows, angels w...





Chapter 22

 Classes would start the second week in January, and I was enrolled for twelve hours. School would take up all my weekdays except Friday. I knew I would need Friday to catch up on assignments and to rest. I wanted to earn my own way, and my wounds were healed, so I applied for a night job at...





Chapter 23

Five months passed and my body was healing. My grief had become bearable, and the nightmares about Mom had subsided. I slept through most nights. I had some money coming in, and not having paid rent or tuition for so long allowed me to put a little into my pillowcas...





Chapter 24

When summer comes to Texas, it comes in with no mercy. The heat and humidity came early and kept me indoors, sometimes in direct line with the air conditioner vents.

“The only thing to do is to float down the river like you used to do,” Miko said o...





Chapter 25

I haven’t told you much about Margaret’s life outside of taking care of me. She was a busy woman. She sat on several boards, a couple for which she traveled quarterly to New York. She was always chairing some committee or other for the Garden Club, and s...





Chapter 26

  I expected Margaret to react with her normal aplomb, but what happened next was amazing.

She stepped over the broken glass and got into my mom’s face.

“Get your skinny, tinkling ass and ugly mouth out of my home,” she said through gritted teeth.

&ldquo...





Chapter 27

One day, when we were enjoying lattes on the roof, Miko asked me about my past. My first inclination was to clam up, but she had been open with me. She told me about the cultural differences she had to overcome with her parent’s believing that she should be th...










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