She looked around the area known as “freshman lawn” and knew she had to do something different or she wouldn’t make it through her sophomore year of high school. For the previous year she’d endured the lawn, continuing to attend class when friends began to ditch, never joining to get high in the parking lot, always doing her homework.

She stood quietly and walked down the stairs towards the drama room. Alone, she sat on a low wall opposite the group of students who’d caught her eye the year before and took out her sandwich. Within a week she’d met the entire group, begun to call them friends, auditioned for and won the lead in the fall play, and she knew she would survive her sophomore year.

Years later, a woman thinks about the girl who took it upon herself to change the direction her young life was taking. A quiet voice nudged her the morning she left freshman lawn and, without a plan, she decided simply to ask for more.

Now, as her adult brain does its best to tell her that change is scary, reminding her of all the work she’s done to get where she is, she thinks of the girl who was brave enough to be vulnerable and uncomfortable for a few minutes.

Twenty years later, when she decides to take a few months away from the security of her film career and to sign up for creative writing classes instead, she thinks of this girl. After she drives to an open mic night for flash fiction and stands in front of a group of strangers reading her story, she thinks of this girl. As she extends her hand to meet a new person, instead of avoiding eye contact and blaming it on shyness, she thinks of this girl. Though very faint, the same voice that nudged her away from freshman lawn, whispers that she can have more. And she decides to listen.