by Carla R., 16

I take a train that tracks over roofs of cities that it passes over on its many trips everyday. It was different this time because I watched the outside this time, not just watched, truly looked into, and I saw–I saw backyards with above-ground pools, grass pressed flat from this summer’s use, I saw a basketball court with boys playing ball and it was refreshing to see a tranquil spot in the middle of chaos around them. I want to speak about the abuse inside each house, but the houses were too close together and I don’t allow myself to speak too loudly because I’m afraid everyone around me can hear, and sometimes when I try speaking I can’t get words to form and only tears fall. I stopped crying for myself and that sounds conceited. I passed a community college with barbed wire entangled with the education they try to preach–sorry, teach–and I wondered if they’re keeping people out or trapping people in. It’s scary. It’s scary because you could be going to a hotel with your family and the next day wake up in a different country. And it’s scary that I know about this and worry about people halfway across the country and I worry about people halfway across the world as if I know them, and in a way I do, because I was going through some records today and I saw many Rioses and Ramerizes and Rosas, but I did not see that many Adams or Smiths, and that worries me. And I’m rambling at this point but I can’t figure out how to single-handedly fix it all. Maybe to fix it I need two hands, because I could count your hand as one of mine, because on this train, I also saw two young people holding hands completely oblivious to whatever else, if anything else, was going on, completely consumed with the company of one another, and that’s all they cared about. And maybe I can’t fix it all. And maybe my words are misplaced and I’m wrong about everything. And maybe I should stop thinking about it, but who would I be if I let that girl sitting across from me think about it on her own?