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When I was a little girl I watched my mother die in my arms.
We were too poor to get a doctor to care for her, so Papa,Emmer,Kamut and I just sat and watched her suffer.
I stood by her bedside, crying bitterly.
One day, she pulled me up in a deep hug, weak as she was, and stroked my hair, wiped some tears off my cheek.
"Hush now, Delia." she said. "Smile through your tears, and you will find hope somewhere."
I hugged her back, deeply, and nestled my head on her neck.
I remember falling asleep in that position.
The next day Mama didn't breathe.
She was still, not moving a single muscle,then started jerking like crazy.
Papa was desperate, so he rode on the mule searching for a doctor.
He traded everything we had for a vial of medicine, however, it was too late.
For Mama had died in my arms after violently jerking and throwing up for an hour.
I was only seven.
I remember going with Emmer to put her name in the glass bowl they used for the reaping.
Emmer took extra tesserae, despite Papa warning her against it.
Papa was furious at Emmer for risking her life.
"We needed to get food." Emmer replied calmly. "Look at Delia. Another week without food and she'll die."
That year, Emmer was chosen.
I remember her surprised and scared expression, then a prouder face as she stood tall next to Laela Aurumara and her fellow tribute, Jasil Nox.
I remember watching with shocked faces as she won; it made her the youngest winner in Hunger Games.
Emmer was crying.
She was torn and bloody.
I remember touching the screen with two fingers, as if I could really touch her face, reach many miles just to see her.
When she returned, she wasn't the same.
We all moved to the victor's village, but Emmer wasn't normal.
She was withdrawn and aloof.
I grew up an outsider, so it affected me in many ways- I blended in.
I never did anything that was conspicuous; rather, I stuck to the shadows and labored in the fields even though I didn't have to.
I did it to fit in, but I never truly was accepted.
It drove me to the point of nearly killing myself, but then, I thought of Mother.
I just couldn't.
"Smile through the tears." Mother would say. "You will find hope somewhere."