A Drop Too Late
by Shayla Kwiatkowski
I know we live in Africa, but I don't know where it is on a map. I know my name is Anna, but I can't spell it. I know where the school is, but I am not a student. I pass by it on the way to fill our pails with water. Mama is sick, so I go the extra mile to the clinic to get better water that has been blessed by the magic of medicine. The small amount of water in our village is dirty. Mama says the water is sick, and she should know.
The pails are so heavy, I feel like my skinny arms are going to fall off. My face still burns in shame from my visit to the clinic. They are all so clean, and there I was, a dirty little shoeless girl from the village with a herd of flies around her. I've never even had any shoes.
I pass my time wondering how my life will end. Future is a bright and shiny word for bright and shiny people. I could die of AIDS, like my father did 6 months ago. Or I could fall ill from sick water like my Mama.
If I could be anything, what would I be? A teacher? No, I want to be a hero. I'd want to be a doctor, who can use her magic to make everyone better. Mama would be so proud of me then.
The water splashes out of the pails as I hurry home. I've been gone too long, and I have a bad feeling inside me. Wearily, I drag myself into the small hut we call home, but it is too late. All my fancy dreams vanish as quickly as the precious water sinking into the ground from the spilt buckets. I am too tired to cry. In the end, I become just another orphan.
A drop too late.
---Well I wrote this for a "Cause", but didn't read the fine print that they want NON-fiction. So I get to keep it, and here it is.