Revealed Remarkability
Brooke, Age 13, Doylestown, PA

The car screeched to a stop, tires planted firmly on the ash-grey gravel below. With a quick whip, I yanked the car door open and let the hot glaze of sun welcome me to California. There I stood, gazing up at the apex of the mountain that would soon be mine to conquer. Sneakers tied, gear prepared, I was equipped to vanquish this beast.
Dozens of shuffling feet powered up the narrow pathway. Already I could feel blisters bubbling their way to the souls of my feet. After only an iota of walking, the heat of the day emerged—marinating our frail skin to a crisp sunburn. Moans and murmurs escaped the lips of my fellow family members, while beats of sweat cascaded down our weary limbs in the one-hundred degree weather. Each step instigated a new encounter for my parents, sister, grandparents, and even my own self, but we stomped on. Storming up the mountain, we panted for breath, ignoring the collapsing sensation our legs were dying for. Trudging, whining, and leaving the faint impressions of our tattered shoes in the dirt and dust piles beneath our feet, we pressed on. Every movement caused an incessant convulsion which darted into my muscles, shadowed by a muffled whimper. The fulgent sun beamed down on our exhausted bodies. With every blink we could perceive the sizzle of a heat wave in the distance. As the air thinned out, I glanced up and gasped a minute squawk from my dehydrated lips.

There it stood before me. Each fifty foot letter radiated against the sea-green underbrush. Hollywood. One word, so simple, could convey tears to your eyes. Suddenly, it was a small pivot that stole my heart. Over the horizon, the canvas-like sky dripped its watercolors- pink, yellow, purple, and orange. Each color was a new paintbrush stroke smeared over the tips of skyscrapers. The constantly stirring, never resting city busied on below the sunset. The flashing billboards and cacophonous taxis illuminated the indication that I was situated in Los Angeles. The sunset beyond was elusive every time I strained to recall the remarkable memory.

Hefty, rubber tires sifted over the asphalt of the winding trail back to our Palm Springs guest house. The pain of that day was brutal, but the exposed exceptionality of our world was unmistakably worth the pain. My vacation had just begun.

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