Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Elsie Mae's Dream

Photo Courtesy DMedina at Morguefile

I first wrote Elsie Mae's Dream in January of 2011 (which seems more like 50 years ago now) as part of a Black History Month flash fiction competition for a now defunct website. It was one of my first attempts at flash fiction – the second to be exact. With a few (very) minor revisions, here is Elsie Mae's story.

Elsie Mae's Dream

by M.J. Sydney 

Martin Luther King had a dream that one day we would all be equal. That one day we would all be free. He dreamed of a world where everyone is treated fairly and with respect. His dream was for the nation. For all people. For me.

My name is Elsie Mae. I am eight years old and I too have a dream. I have a dream that one day my parents will stop getting hurt, that my brother will stop killing and that I can go to bed at night without feeling hungry and cold. I dream of the day I can walk to school without being shot at and walk home without fear of being kidnapped.

In my dream, the sirens next door are silenced and the meth house on the corner is vacant. The streets are safe, the water is clean and the roof doesn't leak. I dream of a life with a real family, with parents that have enough money to stop selling on the streets.

I have a dream that one day I can go to a nice school with teachers who want to teach and kids that want to learn. I dream of becoming a nurse, a lawyer, a teacher, a dentist, an accountant, a ballerina. I dream of opportunities – the same opportunities as the rich kids in the next town over.

I have a dream that one day I can read the wonderful stories of Mark Twain without being censored. That I can be free to choose what I read. I dream that one day I will be treated with respect and understanding. That I will be given the opportunity to prove myself and show the world what I am capable of.

I have a dream that my children will grow up to love everyone as I do, that they will be given the opportunities I do not have and that they will never witness the evils of the world as I have. I dream of a future for my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren – a happy life, full of love and compassion. A life without fear.

I have a dream that one day all of my pain and suffering will not be a waste, that my life will have meaning. I have a dream that one day all children can just be children. That the people in my neighborhood will once again find love and compassion for others.

That was my dream. My dream ended that night – the night those men came into my home. They took everything. They took my parents, they took my brother, they took my life. My name was Elsie Mae, I was eight years old and I had a dream.

Original ©2011 and revised 2016.


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