Dear Nicole by Ashley Ward

This story is one of the April Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.


She appeared along with the other freshmen.
The first day of school.

She told us about sewing someone’s arm shut when she lived in Korea and insisted we always have a needle and thread on hand
She always wore blue converse and leggings in some shade of grey
It was a typical outfit but her standoffish and touchy character made it appear more extreme.Her hair was a typical mousy bob, the way I wanted mine
Her opinions were pronounced
Her name spread like wildfire after the dance battle
She jumped and squealed and gagged and laughed
Reacting to hallucinations in an empty room
People murmured around her
“so weird”
“how annoying“
But to her their whispers were somehow inaudible.
The words crumbled like sand escaping through the voids between her fingers.

She provided our unconscious minds with a mouth.
She is the real being living in all of us.
She doesn’t bother with the mask.

I saw her from my window everyday sitting by the same tree
The one I built fairy homes in when I was 5
she sits there peacefully as if melting in with the tree’s melody
I had never looked out that window much before

Dear Nicole,
I’m sorry
I should accept you the way I want others to accept me.
But instead I let the words fly through
And I tell them the stories
Feeding the leaches the one thing they thirst for —
I stolidly watch the gossip crawl past me
You brush its wings and thorny legs away, but I know where it stings.
Don’t let it erode your heart
Stay alive
Because even when it seems like no one understands, there’s always someone. My neglected emotions need a voice. Sometimes you find things in places where you least expect them.

I leave this letter on the oak tree where you sit. Many years ago I enjoyed the same spot.
Maybe I will join you someday.
Because watching from my window just isn’t enough.

Someone who cares


Most people are too concerned with their self-image
trapped in a glass prism where all see in
but one can’t see out
For them, the glass inches closer everyday

But in Nicole, not one atom turns to another for approval
She is vibrant and free in her soul
And in its pureness she finds herself



Ashley Ward
Germ Magazine guest author
… is a contributing guest author for Germ, which means the following criteria (and then some) have been met: possessor of a fresh, original voice; creator of fresh, original content; genius storyteller; superlative speller; fantastic dancer; expert joke teller; handy with a toolbox; brilliant at parties; loves us as much as we love them.



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