cautionary tales of a girl next door.

Veeane Ayala

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Once upon a time, there was a young soldier who deeply believed she would live to be thousands of years old, and wore iron-on patches like badges of decorative honor across the sleeves of her denim jacket. Worn out sneakers, ones that used to be white, were covered in little forget-me-nots of better days. Cuffs rolled up on her faded jeans, color drained from the fabric, stained in her open palms. Hair in messy braids, falling to her face in strands, dirty from three days of heat and sweat.

Sometimes all you need to do is walk.

So she did.

Her eager legs carried her across mountain tops and skyscrapers as far as the heart could dream, no intention of stopping, no need for rest. It was her, her wandering pouch, and her memories, painting her slum town bright colors with nothing but the brush of the mind.

It smelled like smoky midnight, fast food grease and drunk saviors. It smelled like freedom. It smelled like home.

She was on her way.