5,000 Miles 10,000 Words

by Julia Fox, age 13
5,000 Miles 10,000 Words Julia Fox is 13 years old and lives in NYC. She loves to read and write. Julia enjoys writing creative pieces including fiction, realistic fiction and poetry. In addition to writing, Julia enjoys playing tennis and hanging out with her dog, friends, and family. Julia loves to read nonfiction and fiction books and magazine articles.

“It seemed as if everyone in her class at college knew what they wanted to do in the future, and she just felt stuck. Stuck in a routine, stuck in her tiny house, stuck in every aspect of her life. She felt as though she worked hard for everything, and somehow it still was never enough.”

Two writers, two sides of the same story. 

Dakota Jones and Eloise Monet were alike in more ways than they would ever know. Despite living across the world from each other, they both had very similar goals and personality traits which prevented them from giving up on what they truly wanted in life

Dakota’s side-

Houston, Texas is where Dakota lived. She was balancing helping her mom pay the lease for their apartment, taking care of her younger siblings, and working as an underpaid diner waitress, all while attending her last year at a university. It seemed as if everyone in her class at college knew what they wanted to do in the future, and she just felt stuck. Stuck in a routine, stuck in her tiny house, stuck in every aspect of her life. She felt as though she worked hard for everything, and somehow it still was never enough. And there was Sal. Her best friend in the entire world, the only person she knew who was there for her in her worst moments. But she knew he would never come close to understanding how exhausting her life was. Late one Tuesday night, Dakota checked her email as she always did. But there she found a lengthy, condescending email from her professor listing some writing programs and job opportunities he strongly encouraged her to try. Most of them looked boring, and like a similar variation of the same, dull class she was taking. But there was one job opportunity for young students like her to become published authors, right in her hometown. But it required a written submission.

Eloise’s side-

Prim, proper, and perfect were how Eloise Monet’s mother wanted her to behave. Straight A’s, the head of every club, and captain of the polo team were what her life mainly consisted of. Since primary school in her native London, her life had been planned for her by her overbearing and over achieving mother. But by now she was used to it, the fits her mom had over a B she once received and the feeling of never really amounting to what her mother wanted her to be. But she kept those feelings hidden. Tomorrow, she started her first day at her mother’s prestigious publishing company in London.

Dakota’s side- 

Dakota wanted the writing position in her hometown. She could pay rent for her own place with that salary, and finally she had something she was motivated to do. Day by day, week by week, she worked on her submission for the job—a story she could showcase at her job interview. Sal read it and said it was her best work of all. Even her mom read it the night before the interview. She felt proud of what she wrote. The next morning, she walked into that glass skyscraper and imagined herself working there: dressing every day like the other people in the office—in fancy clothes, blown out hair, and expensive jewelry. She imagined clicking high-priced heels on the white tiled floors. She was ready. So when she went into the office and presented her story, she didn’t give them a fake smile. She told them exactly why she would be more perfect than anyone for this job. And two weeks later, when she got the letter offering her the job and complimenting her short story, she was practically shaking. 

Eloise’s side- 

Eloise had a deadline. Her first one this month. She had only been writing a few poems and short stories at her mom’s publishing company and her mother was not impressed to say the least. Her mom compared her work to other girls who wrote for her company, and was the opposite of supportive. Eloise needed a killer story to impress her mom, and keep her job since, like her parents, she loved writing. Day by day, week by week, she worked on her story until she had finally crafted one hopefully living up to her mother’s expectations. 

Dakota’s side-

The feeling of doing something right for once, was the best thing for Dakota Jones. It was extremely rare that she felt proud of herself. And about one week later, she found herself walking straight into that skyscraper once again. She arrived on time, attempting to make a good impression. She sat down with one of the CEOs of the company and they discussed her piece. Her inspiration for the story, how she thought of the characters, and if she wrote often. They said that they were looking for a few stories to be in their monthly issue of work by young authors. She felt on top of the world. And the best part is if she kept up the good work of writing stories, she would get the high-paying salary she always dreamed of. Weeks went by and her story was edited, ready for the issue. But she knew the dedication that went into that story, and she knew people would like it . 

Eloise’s side- 

Cheryl Monet liked the story. Her own mom liked the story. This was a first for Eloise. Her whole life she would try to satisfy and prove herself to her mother, but finally after hard work and about three weeks of editing, she did it. Her mom was even proud, she showed it off to colleagues, and Eloise just felt content at last. And at family dinner one night, her mom said she wanted to publish it. The next weeks were hard. From picking cover art to sitting down with editors, and showing people her story. Exposure of her writing was the best thing for a young author, like herself. 

One month later.

After one month of living their greatest lives, something was quickly discovered. 

Dakota’s side- 

When you apply for a job, they didn’t tell Dakota that she was going to be slammed in the news, when you apply for a job, they didn’t tell Dakota that she would be questioned for something illegal done. Waking up on the first day of her story being published, she hoped, she dreamed, she wanted for it to be a perfect day, a day where she finally fit in somewhere. But what occurred was quite the opposite. She received many, many urgent emails to come down to work as soon as possible, so she did just that. She didn’t even have time to change, arriving in gray sweatpants and a stained shirt. She got some stares once in the building, but she did not even know what reason they were for. She opened the door to her boss’s generously sized office. 

“Did you do it?” her boss frustratedly asked. “Did you plagiarize your story, copy it from someone else?”

“No I swear, I would never, I-” Dakota tried to respond reassuringly.

“A similar piece, with your same idea was published just a few days ago, giving it a month to be edited, Dakota it is very, very possible for you to have copied this story. You threatened the reputation of this company greatly, and for that we have to let you go,” her boss said firmly. 

Dakota was not prepared for this. It was not fair. It was not fair at all. She worked all day and night to create that story, how was she losing her job for this. She wanted this position so bad, and now she was fired, on her record too. No. This of all things in her life she was going to fight for. It was her piece. 

“No, you cannot do that. Please I promise you I did not do this. Please reconsider,” Dakota begged.

“You are making this harder on yourself right now, please gather your things,” her boss said for the final time. 

This is the point where this got “bad.” Due to Dakota’s strong belief, knowing it was not her who did this, she was going to fight for what she wanted, literally. Kicking and screaming, Dakota was escorted out by security. Not only would she never EVER get another job in the writing field again for this. She could definitely expect to land another position in that building. She had made a very, very large scene. 

When she got home, she was mad. She yelled at her younger siblings for being a pain to take care of, she screamed at her mom for never doing anything, and she called up Sal, to tell him that he lied, that she had what it took to work at this job. She wanted to cry out of confusion. She wanted to beg, and beg for her job back, But she just couldn’t. And that was the worst part. 

 Eloise side-

Grounded. Punished. Fired. Yelled at. This was only an understatement of what went on in her household that very night. You could just see in her mother’s eyes how disappointed she was. And knowing how proud she was just a few days ago had made it worse.

“You will start a boarding school. And a writing intensive camp, academic program, and a-”

“No, I will be absolutely nothing of the sort. I don’t want this life. I don’t want this life controlled by you where you don’t even listen to me right now. I wanted that job, and you fired me. You saw how happy I was there, and you just, you wouldn’t even hear me out.”

And even at their worst point, where they felt the most defeated, the people who really cared stuck by their side. The people who supported and cared, the mothers, the siblings, the friends, everyone one took a minute to hear the full sides of the story. And although it may seem like it couldn’t, everyone helped to make everything work out just fine. 

The end.

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