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The power and comfort of words

I never understood how words can make a meaningful difference until the day she asked me for a story.

She had always been a friend, but it was the middle of summer and we had not talked for awhile. Yet, she sent me a text saying she needed a story, so I sat down with my grandma’s old laptop, and I typed and edited until my fingers felt numb. I didn’t understand why she needed this story, but I knew that sometimes people just need to be comforted by words.

That was two years ago. Since then, this girl has become my best friend, and I still write stories for her every week. She still asks for them all the time. “Can I have a story?” texts are no longer uncommon or surprising — but occasionally I just surprise her so she can wake up and read something that will make her smile. I knew she loved these little collections of words, but I don’t think I understood their full impact until this summer, when she showed me her phone had every story I’ve written saved onto it.

They are real stories, filled with heartfelt emotion and real situations, and they have helped her to feel emotion during times when she couldn’t feel anything at all. Stories are a way to get yourself out of the real world for a little while and picture the things that we wish would happen, things that didn’t happen, things that can’t happen. Sometimes they are happy and light, other times despondent and heavy. Either way, stories make people feel something, sentiments that often need to be felt.

When I need to express my emotions, I write. When I have free time, I write. When I’m supposed to be doing my math homework, I write. For me, writing is as necessary as oxygen, because I believe so greatly in the power of stories.

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