The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

Grammar Ghoul Press Challenge #4: It's Easier to Fill an Empty Heart


People think it's tough to be a kid. It's not.It's tough being a kid without a mom. Mine died when I was five, but I didn't miss her until I was older. I didn't miss her until Papa broke the spell. I still hate him for that.Momma was buried in the family plot just outside the village. I went to visit her every day after school and for a while Papa would let me spend Finados out there (as long as I spent the other days celebrating Dia de Muertos with him. Hey, I'm half-Brazilian and half-Mexican so it's fair, right?) and would even let me build my ofrenda there with her.He did it because the Senoras at the church said I was vacío. A void, and empty shell. They said I should be permitted to go out to the cemetery and talk with her, that I would be comforted by her spirit. He disagreed but relented, not wanting to offend the Senoras and lose customers, especially those old women who paid him more for his handyman work than he got from his capataz at the factory.And they were right. I spent time talking to Momma Catrina and even though Papa didn't believe me, I went to the underworld with her. It was during the last Finados. We played and danced, and she made me such wonderful cookies and treats. It was the most fun I ever had. I tried to show him the Death Flower she gave me but he wouldn't listen. He tried to throw it away and said it was just some old weed I'd found out in the cemetery. But he was wrong.Even the Senoras knew it. When they saw me at Mass, they pointed and whispered. Su corazón está lleno, they said. They talked about my full heart. I was so happy and told everyone who would listen about my trip to see Momma. But it made Papa angry and he forbid me from going back to the cemetery. I tried sneaking out but then he started locking the doors and windows at night. He even started bringing the burro cart to the school to pick me up every day.That's what made me miss her. A full heart. A broken heart. When I was so sad about her not being with me all the time, my heart was empty and it was easy to fill it with the joy of our time together at Finados. I was so full of love that I knew I'd never be without her again. But when Papa stopped me from going to the cemetery, my heart grew full of hate.It's not hard being a kid. It's hard being a kid who's heart has no room to forgive. 

I offer 462 words for this week's Grammar Ghoul Challenge. The video above and the word "void" (specifically the second definition: completely empty) were the prompts. Pop on in by clicking the badge at the top of the post and link up. 

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