Every morning thereafter, as I dressed for school, I would always see the journal resting untouched on my bedside table.
by Jose Pina
A Friday in third grade.
Back then I didn’t like school. Hated reading and writing. I went to school to hang out with friends.
On this one Friday, my teacher, Mrs. Gutierrez, told me to stay in at lunch.
I figured I was in trouble. That happened now and then. But now I felt confused.
She dismissed everyone else in class to lunch.
When everyone else was gone, she shut the door. Told me to sit.
She handed me a journal and this is exactly what she said, “Jose, whenever you are mad or happy write in this journal. It’ll help.”
I knew I would not write one word in it, but I grabbed the book anyway.
Every morning thereafter as I dressed for school I would always see the journal resting untouched on my bedside table.
Weeks passed and I hadn’t cracked its cover.
One day I received some horrible news.
My grandpa passed away.
I didn’t know what to do; what to say; how to act.
My thoughts flew everywhere.
I felt lost, negative, angry.
I missed school the net four days.
On the fifth morning after my grandpa passed, I woke staring straight at the journal.
I debated whether or not to record my thoughts as Mrs. Gutierrez had told me.
At first it felt weird, writing. Because I always hated writing.
But for the next 90 minutes, no-stop, I wrote.
And for the first time since my loss I felt a sense of peace within me.
The following day I returned to school filled with hope and courage.
The moment I stepped into Mrs. Gutierrez’s classroom I thanked her. I told her that she changed the way I looked at things, felt about the world.
Since that morning of endless writing I’ve written every day, regardless of whether I was up or down. Didn’t matter. I wrote.
Writing gave me structure and made me realize that wasting my time in school was a losing proposition.
To this day I cherish Mrs. Gutierrez. I don’t know how I would have made it through that difficult time had it not been for her gift of all those blank pages.
Now I love writing and I see myself writing and writing for decades to come.
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