Chapter 14

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Sara

In two months, Sara would be sixteen. Almost a woman. Almost able to leave home. If only she was a woman now. She could change my life. She could.... Sara had no idea what she could do, but at least there would be hope for change, hope for peace and security.

The skating rink was busy. It is the only one for about fifty miles or at least until the next good size town, so most of the youth show up here to have fun and interact. There was no drinking so kids of any age could come. Her friend, Tabitha, went with Sara and sat next to her as they watched the other skaters. They had been skating for over an hour and were taking a break. A Coca-Cola was in their hand as they looked around the active center.

All ages were there. Small children of just barely six were there, following their big siblings around. The older kids were learning how to interact with the opposite gender. Then there were a few adults there just to monitor their children or were barely out of childhood themselves. Even a few older people sat against the wall, surveying the demise of the younger generations. With war behind everyone, they turned back to criticizing what they were going to do to their future.

Sara took a swallow of her drink and looked down at herself on the bench with her legs crossed out in front of her to support the bulky skates. Her dress looked real nice. It was her first new dress in nearly two years. She had grown so much that few of her clothes fit at all. They were too short and too tight in areas that were embarrassing, especially to her. Sara had tried to tell her mother that she needed some bigger clothes, but Cynthia was too busy to listen. It was up to her to resolve it. How? She wouldn't give Sara money for material, and Sara had not worked in several weeks due to her employer getting sick and moving to her son's house. It all came down to a comment from a neighbor to Cynthia to reveal that at Sara's age it was a shame to be wearing such small and childish clothes. It actually reflected bad on the family. Plus, Cynthia had the money to get Sara one dress. Grandfather had passed and left Cynthia a little money. With that admonishment ringing in her ears, Cynthia decided she needed to improve the family's image. Taking some of Grandfather's money, she had used it to buy her daughters a few things and make Lily and Sara a little more suitable. The girls had two new pair of shoes, the most they had ever had at one time. There were two new dresses each and even some new unmentionables. Sara had never felt so rich just having new clothing against her skin.

As Sara moved her head to view the now more modest hem of her dress, she felt her hair caress her back. Her hair was long, nearly to her waist. Sara had it pulled back with barrettes on the side and left it down. The rich color and thickness always drew a compliment from someone wherever she went. It was her one vain thing she pampered. So many of the girls in school were jealous of it, the only time anyone had been jealous of her. Maybe that was why Sara took such good care of it. Her hair was the only advantage she had in a world with no advantage at all for her.

She had managed to ditch Lily that day to go to the roller rink because her sister had a birthday party to go to. Sara was glad to enjoy herself without Lily following her around. It seemed that she got more annoying each year, and Cynthia encouraged it. "Take her to the store with you, Sara." "Take her to the library with you, Sara." Take her wherever Sara went. At times, Sara wished her sister away just for an hour or so. She wanted to feel...to feel more than a babysitter.

Tabitha nudged Sara in the ribs. Her short red hair bobbed the curls it took her hours to look just right. "Look at Ralph Smith. He keeps looking at you." Her eyes twinkled as she held the drink over her mouth so Ralph couldn't see her say his name.

Sarashrugged. "He can keep looking."

Tabitha looked at her in shock, green eyes wide. "Why don't you like him?"

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