I’m from a broken, wooden, bookshelf in the hallway of our yellow house. Hardly touched, but always looked at, curiously.

I am from crackers, cheese, and grape juice. In our preschool classroom. Sitting on my favorite animal. Listening intensely as a story is told.

I am from hours sitting. At a small Step2 table. Aside Mrs. as she teaches me how to sound out, pronounce, and enunciate. Short, sharp words.

I am from hours of laughing along with my dear friend Junie B. Jones. At the soccer field. “Watching” my brothers play.

I am from large, old, dusty, and stained encyclopedias. In our private schools library of donated, outdated books.

I am from the inside of my desk. Where my Chicken Noodle Soup for a Teenage Soul would hide, and appear upon my lap as Mrs. lectured.

I am from the Scholastic Book Fair. Rooms filled floor to ceiling with an array of words. I didn’t tell anyone, but nothing excited me more. I’d wait restlessly all year, peruse it for days, and read every summary before picking the one. I’d beg my mom that night.

I am from book reports plastered on folding poster boards. Spoken nervously behind the podium.

I am from a mindset of rising. Esperanza Rising the first book I ever loved. I was taught then, that there are worst things than not having the perfect clique in school.

I am from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Long nights committing lines to memory. Sweaty palms underneath fluorescent lights. Newfangled.

I am from an AP English class of strident atmosphere. Days of tearing apart works into our own essays of argument, analysis, and synthesis.

I am from Starbucks. Where I sit in the corner. Blocking out the world. Infatuated with literature. Who could possibly hold a more exquisite conversation?

I am from pages, long ago. Pages of lessons. Pages of tears. Pages of laughs. Pages of triumph.

Pages as precious as gold.