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September 22, 2016

in·no·cence /ˈinəsəns/ noun; lack of guile or corruption; purity.
fernanda’s chocolate orbs gazed in wonderment at her mother through the frosted glass. the
snowflakes were memorizing, seeing how delicately they settled onto her mother’s dark brown
roots while her hands moved rapidly with the constant rain of snowflakes. her mother was
beautiful and always seemed to look like she was living in her prime. her face was lined with
laugh lines, her eyes sparkling to match. her cheeks would match the cherries she received on
her milkshakes. oh how the world knew what it meant. fernanda had seen it several times. her
smile would always appear whenever they joked around or even played outside in the snow.
fernanda could only remember the happy moments. she couldn’t remember the hard times.
she was innocent, and she couldn’t tell apart the differences. she didn’t know her mother
worked a nine-to-five as a price to pay for her failed hollywood dream. she didn’t know her
father was part of the reason her mother was running. she didn’t know her mother had lied to
her every single time she uttered the word “adventure.”
pre·tend /prəˈtend/ verb; speak and act so as to make it appear that something is the case
when, in fact, it is not.
“remember: stand up straight, give them your best smile, and for the love of god, fernanda, try
to act nice.”
if only her mother knew just how nice fernanda was. fernanda was on her best behavior and
it didn’t take much, just like her mother. it was one more audition and one more plead ( and
one more “favor” ) before her mother landed the part. everyone would be able to see the
beauty fernanda noticed daily. however, that meant privacy becoming extinct and a mother
disappearing along with it. the trips started off small, and fernanda would go along with
her. however, the more recognized her mother’s movie got, the less she saw her ( unless it
was on a screen. ) a part of her selfishly wanted her mother to be like her friend’s mom, but
she knew she would be dreaming. around the same time, her mom’s manager came around
and assigned her the part: perfect daughter to the perfect actress. her mother didn’t need to
worry about pretending. fernanda knew exactly how to play her part.
with a small smile and a shift in her dress, her mother opened the door and placed a small
hand on her back. fernanda knew it was time to play her part in the show. the cameras were



“places everyone.”
con·form·i·ty /kənˈfôrmədē/ noun; compliance with standards, rules or laws.
“one more time, repeat after me: my mother is happily in love with her husband, and i’m
more than happy to support her.”
fernanda didn’t blink. her heart wasn’t racing. she could hear the fly buzzing around the
room. she was use to this. she shouldn’t be use to this.
“my mom is happily in love with her husband, and i’m more than happy to support her.”
was she happy? was she really happy? fernanda couldn’t remember the last time she had seen
her smile. something wasn’t right. something wasn’t right at all.
“fernanda, i need you to give me some emotion. it’s your mom’s wedding day!”
was it around the winter time when they went on their first adventure? or was it when she
had finally got a part in the movie? was it really when she met her stepdad? why couldn’t she
“i know.”
she remembered now. it was a blizzard outside. she was wrapped up in her bright yellow coat.
her mother had her favorite red scarf. it was one of the best nights of fernanda’s life.
“aren’t you excited?”
no. no she wasn’t excited. excited is when she sees her mother coming back from a long
vacation and having her to herself. excited is when her mother has to time to go to her school
instead of sending an assistant. excited was when she saw her mother in the crowd for her
middle school graduation.
but just as quickly as she showed up, she was gone.
“yes. i’m just tired.”
fam·i·ly /ˈfam(ə)lē/ noun; a group consisting of parents and children living together in a



his name was lee daniel and he wished he could become a father to fernanda, or that’s
what he said in front of her mother. without her mother’s presence, daniel chooses not to
acknowledge fernanda’s existence but chooses to acknowledge the television and the latest
pictures of her mother and daniel’s photos together. daniel had no other income other than
her mother’s stardom ( she met him at a club ). fernanda shouldn’t be the one trying to give
her mother the speech of having a boyfriend that’s not good enough. she shouldn’t be the
mother to her mother, but she has no choice.
daniel is a nuisance.
daniel is scum.
daniel doesn’t care about her.
daniel loves her mother.
and the whole world knows they’re family.
they’re stuck together.
re·bel·lion /rəˈbelyən/ noun; the action or process of resisting authority, control, or
“come on, nan. don’t you want to do something crazy for once?” crazy? what could be defined
at crazy? crazy was something unreachable. crazy was something forbidden, and it wasn’t the
part created for her to play. her life had been staged for her to simply slip into her costume
and play the part. she was surrounded by managers and public representatives that she had
no time for crazy. it wasn’t written in the script.
but she wasn’t a saint either. of course fernanda was a teenager. of course fernanda was
curious. of course fernanda had rebelled before ( she kissed a girl and she definitely liked it),
but those small moments of rebellion were nothing compared to the one being offered to her.
it was a change of scenery, it was a different part, and it was a chance for fernanda to break
out of the perfectly scripted lines. it was exciting, but she was scared. this would be the chance
for something transcending, but she didn’t want to deal with the aftermath.



as if she could sense the fear in fernanda, the girl placed her hands on either side of
fernanda’s face and gave her a gentle nod.
“you won’t be alone in this. you’ll like it. trust me.”
later that day, fernanda could still remember the look on her mother’s manager’s face when
fernanda descended the staircase.
“your hair is pink!”
“that’’s the intension.”
e·nough /iˈnəf/ exclamation; used to express an impatient desire for the cessation of
undesirable behavior or speech.
it hadn’t taken long for her mother to try to regain control of fernanda yet again. it started
with her hair; her mother constantly mentioned it over the telephone and questioned its
purpose. this time around, fernanda didn’t give her an explanation. she simply listened and
cut the conversation short, similar to the many times her mother did the same. her mother
was stunned in fernanda’s sudden change in behavior that she kept calling back.
fernanda didn’t pick up the phone.
the next form of control was setting rules, but it was already too late for fernanda to care. she
had been absent of a mother figure almost the entire time she needed one. where was she
when she fell down? where was she for her art gallery? where was she when she got awarded
a medal in public speech? where was she? fernanda even found it a little insulting that her
mother tried to set some rules when she was anything but a mother.
the next time her mother warned her, fernanda didn’t listen.
the final straw for fernanda was the moment her mother demanded her to go to a red carpet
event. fernanda loathed the red carpet and it’s constant thirst for gossip. she was tired of
being her mother’s lap dog whenever things didn’t go her way or to try to obtain her image.
when her mother walked in and set the dress in front of her, she simply pushed the dress off
her bed and watched her mother’s smile turn into a frown. she started shouting, asking what
was the matter, but she was confused. fernanda was always docile, ready for any event and
ready for her part. she didn’t know that fernanda checked out a long time ago.
fernanda had enough.



free·dom /ˈfrēdəm/ noun; the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without
hindrance or restraint.
“Welcome to the Heesan Handbook. This serves as your guide and will give you a sense for
what to expect as a Heesan University student and alumnus. Please take time to read through
the handbook carefully to help make your experience as smooth as possible. If anything
hasn’t been addressed in the handbook that you think would be beneficial to add, please let us
know by sending us a message.”
fernanda’s hands shook as she gripped the package from Heesan University. it seemed like so
long ago that she decided to apply to a university so far away. hessan was the perfect distance
away from her mother. she didn’t have to be known as Quo Ly’s daughter. she didn’t have to
wake up every morning and memorize her lines. she was free to be whoever she wanted to
be, and she was free to find herself without anyone stopping her. when she broke the news to
her mother, her mother tried to revoke her acceptance and the letters she sent out. fernanda
had prepared for the worst and made sure to accept the offer before the deadline. her mother
cried, but that didn’t surprise fernanda. she was use to seeing tears and damp faces because
she had cried and seen the same tears on her own face long ago. since then, it had been weeks
since they last spoke, but that didn’t surprise fernanda either.

her mother didn’t accompany her at the airport, but by now fernanda knew better than to
wish for her mother to show up. as usual fernanda was dealing with the departure alone, but
this time, she was okay with it. upon boarding her flight, fernanda’s stomach fluttered with
butterflies as she shut off her phone and prepared for the start of her own adventure.

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