Faded Star

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
What happens when the largest Child star in Hollywood is no longer cute or adorable. Her fans do not want her to grow up and yet she does. Hollywood no longer wants her. She retires before most people start working.
We follow the life of Lourdes Aires, who now has to lead a normal life but still is haunted by Hollywood.

Submitted: June 26, 2019

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Submitted: June 26, 2019

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1. The Largest Star

The director gave me a tablet while we were waiting for the next scene. I never questioned when directors gave me tablets anymore. This one was to give me energy and help me stay awake. It was just as part of being a child actress at Hollywood. The hours were long, and the tablets helped me concentrate and relax. To be honest, I never did think it was bad that they gave me tablets. I thought everyone got them. Sometimes I even asked for them and I have been known to go as far as to beg for a tablet.

I was a child star since I was 5. That is 8 years ago! Seems like a lifetime. I was a megastar in Hollywood and every girl in the country wished that they were me! They did not know what my life was like and I did not know what a normal childhood was. I thought every child worked in some way.

My life was controlled by my parents and agents and directors. They decided everything! When I worked and when I was home. They decided when I could take a break. I had to say the lines they wanted and smile and cry when they wanted. So being a good actress was just being able to take orders.

The film I was doing now was important. It was about a girl that became friends with a ghost. The ghost could not find the gates to heaven and she was very scared and lonely. So my character became her friend. The problem was that my character was teased and everyone thought she was crazy because she said she could see a ghost. So my character was put in a mental institution. However, she could still see the ghost. It was a sad film and we had to do scenes so many times, as the director was a perfectionist.

I was told that it was important that this film would be a success, as my last two films were a flop. I suppose that's the danger of being a child actress. Everyone thinks you are cute and does not want you to grow up. Some were beginning to say that "Lourdes Aires is soon a teenager, and she is no longer the cute girl we all loved.". This film was supposed to show the world that I can do a teen film and that I was just not cute, but I had talent. So I was told that the studio could not afford any more flops. This was a lot of pressure put on me.

As you can guess, my name is Lourdes Aires. I was 13 when all this happened. I spent all my life in Hollywood. My mom always wanted to be famous but never did get the chance to show her talent. I had an older brother that was 14 when I was born. That is right, Mom had me for one reason. She planned that I would be the next big thing in Hollywood. So from the day I was born, I was groomed to be an actress. Mom would brush my hair until it looked divine. I learned how to smile and dance. I learned how to look cuter than I was. Mom called this when I sparkled. She would tell me to "sparkle" when I needed to screw up the charm.

I did a few commercials when I was 5. This would have been enough for me, but it just made mom to more of a stage mom. This meant I was taken from one audition to the next audition. This was not my favorite thing to do. There were always 100 other girls that wanted the same role. Most of them had a mom that was just as ambitous as mine. So we went to a few auditions every week, and every week we got several negative answers. The more people that said no, the more mom wanted to try. I found auditions to be very boring, but I did not know anything else.

I remember when I tried talking to another girl at an audition, then mom would get mad and say I should not be friends with the girl, as she was competition. This meant that I never had friends my own age, as they were all considered some form of competition. This made me lonely in a way and more dependent on mom, that was really my only friend. I suppose that is why I never complained to when she took me to all these auditions or spent hours so my hair looked perfect.

Mom assured me that one day I would be famous and everyone would know who "Lourdes Aires" was. I did not understand this, as I did not understand the concept of fame.

I was lucky, as one director like me in an ad I did. So when I was 6, I was in my first movie. I was staring along with the most famous actor in Hollywood. The film was a huge success, and people boasted that I stole the limelight from him. People thought I was the cutest child they ever seen on film.

The next film was important, as I would be the star. A film was written especially for me. It was a space film, where my family was traveling through space and the space ship crashed on the planet of the apes. My family was killed in the film and I was a slave to the apes. It ended up where the apes loved me as a daughter and I was adopted. This meant that humans were no longer slaves. The film was one of the top 10 grossing films ever.

So I quickly became a Hollywood star, and the movie studio cashed in the success. Since I was 6, I have been doing one film after another. I never had holidays. It was like when I started a film, the next one was already being planned. Mom got what she wanted. All the films were huge successes and the contract renewals kept on earning me more and more money. I was being paid more than any other actress in Hollywood. This made many jealous, as they wanted to know how a child can earn more than the adults.

Everything was going fine until I became 12. This is when a film flopped. Hardly anyone wanted to see it. This was so hard for me to accept as I was now only used to being the most noticed child in the world. I kept on asking myself why people did not like my films anymore. Everyone told me not to worry, as the next film would be like the good days.

That film flopped as well.

Now it was important that the ghost film I was working on would be a success. This was also because it was the last film on my contract.

Halfways during doing the film, the director got mad at me when everyone was watching. Fans may have shown respect for me, but directors never did. I was just a small girl they could boss around, so they could add a hit film to their CV. They were always mad about something. Today he saw me drink some Pepsi during a break. He shouted that I should take care of my body and he did not want a plump child in the movie. He continued on how much I ate and how sodas destroyed the body. This was not the first time I heard this. I heard constantly the dangers of eating and becoming fat. This meant I was giving diet tablets and if I ate more than the movie studio liked, I would visit the toilet and tickle my throat until the food came out again. Mostly the movie studio gave me diet tablets and said if I was really thirsty, I could drink coffee.

The director told me that I was not to eat anything else that day!

Fans were not as harsh. This does not mean they left me alone. On the contrary, I could not go in public besides a group of fans standing around me. They would poke or try to touch me until I was black and blue. They would tell me how much they loved me and how great I was. This was all nice and it was nice that people thought I was talented. The problem is some were hard die fans. They knew everything about my movies and seen the movies countless times. They would camp outside where I lived or where I was, just for a glimpse of me. Some were scary, like sending fan letters that I was really their daughter or they wanted to marry me! Fans did not believe that I should have peace or a normal life.

One thing about fans is that they really did not know me. They knew the image that the movie studio wanted me to have. This meant that they thought I was an all American girl that was cute and innocent. I was a girl you would be proud of and love to cuddle or buy me dolls or teddy bears! They did not know who I really was.

The movie studio was no better. They did not care who I really was. They wanted me to have an image and did every trick they could think of to get the most money they could from my films. When I was 7, they changed the wardrobe that I had. Now I wore short dresses or skirts and the tops always came far down in the front. Dad did not like if there was a glimpse of my panties during a film. However, the studio got what they wanted. I had a lot of girls that were my fans. Because they dreamt on having the life that I had. I also had a lot of men that were fans, for the wrong reasons.

Another trick they did was to give me tablets for everything. I had tablets to keep me awake. I had tablets to get rid of anxiety. I had some to help me concentrate. Some were diet ones, to keep me skinny and some were to make sure I was in a good mood. You can say I was a drug addict, as I really did need them as the years passed on. I even begged for them!

When I was 9, they started giving me injections. These were puberty blockers. The studio wanted me to stay young for as long as possible and they did not want my body to develop to a teen or a young woman. None one ever questioned if these blocker injections were ethical or if it was some form of abuse. It was all about money and they did not want to take a chance on fans accepting me that I became older. They thought fans liked me as a little girl and the injections would keep the money rolling in.

So as a 13-year-old girl, I was the size and had the body of a 10-year-old.

The ghost movie was over and mom was excited. It was time to negotiate a new contract. For my mom, this meant that she could ask for more money. She said it was also time she was demanding. She wanted better roles for me and she wanted the studio to help me from a child star to an adult star. My mom was a tough negotiator and usually got what she wanted.

I was looking forward to a small break until the contract was finalized and the next film was planned.

This was not to be the case. I had to help promote the film. This meant that I had to go from one talk show to another talk show and talk about the movie. This was hard as it meant that I had to smile and say things like it was the best film I ever did. I would get the same questions every time, like did I miss having a normal childhood and what it was like being famous?

One of these night shows asked if I ever took drugs. I played all innocent and told him drugs were bad. He kept on asking and even implied that he thought I was a little high. I just laughed at this. The truth was that the movie studio gave me an injection a few hours before because I was so tired and they said I was not smiling enough. So in reality, i was a small bit high and the TV host was not stupid. I just hoped that the whole world did not think I was a drug addict.

The ghost film flopped, despite the studio used so much money in special effects and advertising and promotion. The critics slammed it, saying I tried too much and at my best, it looked like I was doped. They could not understand what the film was about. They all agreed that I lost the "sparkle" and was no longer cute. I became too old at the age of 13!

After the film flopped, Mom was told that they would not be renewing my contract. They explained that I was now costing too much money and the fans did not want me to be an adult star. The movie boss explained that cuteness fades. He suggested that I retire and lead a normal life. I have my place in history and people would always love the films that I have done.

All good things must come to an end.

Mom could not accept this, so over the next few weeks, she was ringing to everyone she knew in Hollywood. They all gave her the same answer. My time in the spotlight was over and it was too much of a risk.

For the first time in 8 years, I had nothing to do. Most retire when they are over 60. I retired when I was 13! I always wanted some rest and a chance to just play and things. The problem was that I did not know how to play. I only knew how to act. I missed the work and I missed the attention.

I asked mom one day how I would be as a normal girl? Would I now go to school? Could I meet girls my own age and be friends with them?

Mom told me not to give up. She was still ringing around in Hollywood.

I was so confused. I had a stack of tablets that I saved over the years. They were in a box hidden behind my desk. I took two tablets and sat in the corner of my room.

For the first time that I could remember, I was afraid. I was afraid of the future.

2. The path to take

I was afraid of the future, and I suppose this is what got me to take the secret tablets I hid. Of course, my parents noticed that I was high and got mad at me, calling me an irresponsible brat. This made me both confused and mad because they never mind when I got injections or tablets at the studio. They looked the other way. Now that I was no longer a star, they were being parents. This would take some time to get used to. They did not understand that the studio made these tablets a part of my life. I did not consider myself an addict, but I knew that I needed the tablets.

My Dad understood that I was used to them. However, he wanted me to learn how to live without them. He suggested that I go to a special rehabilitation center that could help me. Mom would not allow this, as she still thought there was hope for me getting a contract somewhere. She thought no one would hire a drug addict. This was despite I shouted that I was not an addict. They believed the movie studio made me one. They would not take responsibility for the fact that they turned a blind eye to it!

Dad did not argue with mom. It was a waste of time. She could not accept that Hollywood no longer wanted me. It's a good thing Dad is diplomatic, as he said I should go to school. He did not think that it was wise enough for me to stay at home as if I had no future.

I was excited about this. I would meet girls my own age and maybe get some good friends. This would be new and exciting as I was never allowed friends because they were competition.

In a way, I wanted a new contract as being an actress was the only thing I knew. Hollywood made me feel secure. I knew the game that was played there. Now that I had no contract, I had no one telling me what to do or where to be. When I was a child actress, it was like Hollywood owned me and I was their slave to do as they wished. Now that I had no contract, I had to think for myself. There were so many choices. Only mom and dad had a say in what I should do. This was exciting, but it also caused anxiety.

One day, Mom and Dad were busy doing things, and I was thinking about my future. It was quiet being at home and there was nothing to do. I was not used to it. This day I had some of anxiety because I was afraid of the future. So I took a few of Dads cigarettes and went outside and hid under a tree. Mom or dad could not see me from the house and we had a big wall around the house. I do not know why, but smoking was relaxing. I sat there for hours and chain smoked. It was one time where I did not worry about the future and feel that I was not wanted.

I had the feeling of not being wanted. All my life, I was wanted by the movie studio and fans. I know that they made millions from me, but I still felt wanted. When my films started flopping and the fact now that I had no contract, I felt like an antique. It's hard for a 13-year-old to feel unwanted. It was hard to think if my life was over.

The next morning I woke up and mom was shouting! She was pacing back and forth in the family room with a newspaper in her hand. I was groggy and still sleepy and ignored her anger. She has been screaming a lot the last few weeks because every time she rang to a studio or director and asked if they could use me. She was always given a negative answer and no one actually wanted to speak with her.

Mom slapped the newspaper down on the table. It was a picture of me smoking under the tree. The headline was "Lourdes Aires on the wrong path". The journalist wrote that it is hard to see child stars grow up and do adult things. He wrote that there were rumors that I was out of control and that is why my contract was not renewed. According to him, I was rebelling as a teenager and partying with drugs and alcohol all day.

One could nearly see the steam from moms ears. She asked me how I ever would get a contract when newspapers published stories like this? I shrugged my shoulders and said an actor gave me my first cigarette when I was 8, and mom was standing there and did not get mad. Mom had to think for a while and her only defense was that I had a contract at that time. Then she looked at me and asked why I had to grow up?

Dad tried to negotiate and reminded mom that I still had a body of a ten-year-old, as the injections made sure I did not start puberty yet. Then he told mom I had too much time. I could not wait for some movie studio to give me a chance. Dad made a decision that I would be starting at school.

Mom and Dad decided that I would be starting at a private school for girls run by some nuns. This would give me privacy and structure, something that I needed. I had to give mom and Dad a hug as this was the best news!

I would be starting at the school 10 days after I heard it. I was so excited and the days went by so slow! Going to private school would mean I would have privacy. The girls and teachers would know the real me, and not who the movie studio said I was. I would get friends my age and I would learn lots of things.

I would be a normal child!

Mom did not give up. She spent the 10 days by ringing every one again in Hollywood. This made her so frustrated as she said some secretaries told her that the movie studio or director did not have time to speak with her. It did not help when she read in the newspaper that the movie studio announced that my contract was not being renewed as I had some personal problems that needed to be worked out. The newspaper said that I needed help with my teenager problems, and I could not concentrate when I was filming. This hurt me. But it hurt mom more.

I started at a private school. It was a huge building that was old fashioned. When you came in the front door, it had wooden panel walls and shiny floors. A nun was there to welcome us. She did look like a penguin and its hard to believe that she was not an actress. She had to be a nun every day all her life!

I was shown to the room where I would sleep. I would be sharing a room with another girl my age. This was so exciting and to be honest, I could not wait until mom and dad left. I wanted to explore and meet my first friends, and have permission to have them as friends and not considered the competition.

So while Dad was silent, and mom was crying, I was smiling when they left.

I explored the school and found all the girls in the day room that had sofas and some games. The girls were all sitting there and talking or playing some game. Everyone went silent as I came in. I told them that my name was Lourdes. This older girl stood up and showed me a sofa where I could sit. Then she said that everyone knew who I was, and she hoped that I did not expect any special treatment. I tried explaining that I did not. This was hard to do, as she continued. She told me that she saw all my films and they were all crap. The other girls all agreed while warning me not to be some spoiled actress.

This was not the start that I expected. This meant that I just sat on the sofa and listened to the other girls. If I tried to speak, they would interrupt and I would just stop talking. The girls were talking about music and school and to be honest, I did not really know what to say. When they talked about boys, one of the older girls walked up and asked me why I was so small? Then she teased and said no boy would be interested in me, as I still had a little girls body. I got up and walked out while they continued teasing.

I sat on my bed thinking about how I would survive in this school.

This girl came in and told me she was my roommate. Her name was Emma. She wanted to be my friend. She smiled and said she saw some of my films many times. Emma was an interesting girl and I told her she would be my first friend. This made her say that any girl would need friends here as some of the girls were mean. She told me to be careful of the girls that teased me, as they had their own group called "The Wretches"- I was told that they are bad and do bad things.

The next few days, I tried hanging out with Emma. She never did anything wrong. She was much smarter than I was and the teachers liked her. The only problem was that she was also a huge fan, and thought I was the girl that the studio told people I was. She asked a lot of questions about my films. She was also nerdy, which made me feel stupid. I could see that she did not have any friends. I also felt bad, because this made me ask if my friendship with her making the other girls ignore me.

One day, I decided to find the wretches. It took me time to find them. They were behind a shed and smoking. One of the girls told me that if I told anyone that she would hurt me. Another girl joked and asked if I wanted to buy a pack of cigarettes. She did not expect me and take out some allowance money and give it to her.

For the next few hours, I sat there and smoke and drank some wine they had. They no longer thought that I was some snobby actress and started talking with me. I told them that the studio always gave me tablets, so I was used to things. This only made me cool in their eyes. I found out that they considered themselves rebels, as they did not like the way society was and did not think they fit in. In the end, they told me I could be a member of their club. This made me so happy!

It was time to go in. I was a bit tipsy from the wine and I knew I smelt like an ashtray. Despite the fact that I was told to go to my room and rest and get changed and do not let a teacher see me, I was not that lucky! The headmistress bumped into me and told me to meet her in her office.

I sat on the chair and she told me she knew that I was smoking and drinking. She wanted me to name who was there. This was nothing that I would do. I would never snitch on others.

"You are new here," she said, "So I can forgive you for this. However, you only get one chance. I know you come from Hollywood, where there is no such thing as sin. However, you are no longer there! You are with us! So you have two paths that you can take. You can be a member of the wretches, or you can choose to have values and be an asset to society. Only God knows your future, but I can see potential in you! You can act again, or get married and be a good housewife. The other road is to drink and smoke and who knows what else, like you chose today. You have a lot to think about!"

I went up to my room where Emma was waiting for me. She immediately asked me a lot of questions and wanted to know where I was. I gave her the short version and said that I did not want to talk about it. This made Emma give me a speech about being careful of the girls. Emma kept on going on about that it was bad for me and I would end up being expelled. She was beginning to sound more and more like mom, so in the end, I told her that I did not want to talk about it. I laid on the bed with a pillow over my head.

So the question is why I went back to be with "the wretches." I suppose it was because I could not think properly. I would not admit that I was an addict, but my body and mind needed something to survive. One of the girls would come and ask if I had money so they could buy drugs, drink, and cigarettes. Then when I was with them and consumed these things, my body was more at rest. If Emma or someone told me I need help because I was an addict, I would laugh. The only thing I needed was the tablets.

The other reason I met with these girls is that I was not used to making decisions. For all my life, I was told what I should do and how I should do it. Now for the first time, I had to make decisions myself. Looking back at it, I just made the wrong ones!

So I met with the girls and we joked around as we tried the drugs or drank alcohol. I was at peace with this and my body was not begging me to get something so it didn't feel in pain and agony. I was happy with the girls, and they were interesting when they complained about everything. I could not see why people told me they were a bad influence. To me, they were just having fun.

The headmistress called me in the office one day. Mom was there and she was not happy. She put a newspaper on the table,

" There is a picture of you smoking and drinking alcohol with other girls" Mom started, "This is not the way we raised you! You are too young to consume alcohol and smoke. Look at what the newspaper wrote. They wrote you are a washed up actress and like so many other child stars, you are an addict. No wonder why no one will answer my calls and no one in Hollywood wants you. You still have so much potential in Hollywood. I want you to get yourself together, and be the daughter that I can be proud of."

I tried telling her she is a hypocrite as she knew that Hollywood had no problems in giving me tablets. Mom would not listen. She just had a comeback plan in her head, and that did not include me having any bad press.

The headmistress concluded by saying this was my last warning. If I did this again, I would be expelled.

Mom left me and I wandered around the hallways. I knew I had to be like mom wanted as she knew how I would get a contract again. I did not want to think really what I wanted. I just knew that I had to do what mom said.

Emma was standing before a bulletin board. She looked very happy. She showed me a notice about a school play. It was "Annie". That was a play about an orphan girl. Emma the press would report that I could still act and I could be offered a new contract.

This seemed like the perfect plan!

3. The only way is down

So my plan was to get the lead part in in the school play and show everyone that I was not washed up. I wanted to show everyone that I was a good actress and could be a success. I wanted everyone to know that I was not a junkie or a has-been. This play was the perfect way to save my reputation.

I spoke with the nun that was the director of the play.

" I am willing to be the lead role in the school play" I announced.

" Young lady, while I do appreciate you are willing to offer us your services, I must inform you will have to audition for the role." the nun responded with a smile.

" You do know I was the top-grossing child star in history? I never auditioned since I was 6!"

" Well my little lady, Everyone gets the same chance here. If you want the part, you will audition! 

I suppose that I could understand that she wanted to give everyone the chance. It seemed like a waste of time. After all, they did not have the experience and talent that I had, The fact was that I starred in some of the top grossing films in history and this was just a school play.

So I was confident when I showed up at the audition. I was smiling with confidence. I didn't smoke or take drugs or even drink for days. My body didn't like that. I had aches and pains all over. Sometimes I would break out in a sweat and start shaking. This happened as I went on the audition stage. It was like going to a sauna. Despite that my body did not want to do it, I did a scene from Annie. My body was a wreck but I think it went very well. I had no doubt when I went off of the stage, that I had the part.

Over the next few days, I was in a great mood, despite my body that was in agony. I was proud of my audition and I knew this would make mom happy. Maybe some big shot in Hollywood would hear how good I was and maybe offer me a contract!

The wretch girls even asked if I would drink some wine and use some drugs. I politely said no. I remembered this was my last chance and the alternative was being expelled. I also did not want to lose my chances with the "Annie" play. I knew my body was begging for tablets and whatnot, but I also had to be strong if I wanted to achieve things.

After a week, the nun hung the cast list up. I rushed to see it and was so confused when my name was not on it. It was not even beside the smallest parts.

I rushed to the nun and asked her if she forgot my name. Her answer shocked me. She said she did not think I had enough talent for the show, and maybe I should try being in the background and help build the scenes or something like that.

I could not believe that she said I had no talent! Hollywood thought I did not have enough talent to get a contract and now some nun was saying I was not even good enough for a small school play. It did not help that the next day, it was in the newspaper that I did not even get a role in a school play. The headline was, "Former Child star has no talent!". This was so embarrassing and I cried over it, I was mad about it and once again I was afraid of what I was good at.

One of the Wretch girls told me they were escaping out of school grounds, and going downtown. I told them that I wanted to go.

So we went down to a small town and went into a local pub. The owner was a tired old man and did not even ask how old we were. We sat in the corner and drank one cocktail after another one. We smoked and smoked. I am pretty sure we also smoked weed. My bad mood became a giddy one. The other girls joked and said I may have no talent as an actress, but I sure did know how to drink and smoke and have fun. I didn't care. I offered my services and they were so dumb as to say that I could not act. I knew I was good at being the "Rebel Girl"

I do not remember how we got back to school. The only thing I knew was that I was in the nurse's office sleeping on a sick bed. I opened my eyes and had a huge headache. I felt so sick. The nurse came and wiped my forehead. When I asked what happened, she told me to rest. I fell asleep then.

When I woke up, Mom and Dad were there.

" You are coming home," Dad explained in a mad voice, " It seems like you and some other girls snuck out of school grounds and got drunk and high at a pub. When you came back, you were very drunk and high, and you went to the theater room, where you started destroying the scene on the stage as well as ripping the seats with a knife. A nun heard you cursing and tried to calm you down. She did not succeed and was about to call the police. You collapsed at the end."

" I can explain," I said.

" I do not want to hear explanations! You are sick and you are an addict. You need help! You are coming home with us because you have been expelled"

Mom started saying that she was disappointed, but she also understood that Hollywood stars could be destructive. This, of course, got Dad mad as he reminded mom that I was only 13 and I was destroying myself. Dad shouted that it did not make a difference if I had a career in Hollywood. It was important that I was a happy girl and had a good life.

Mom, on the other hand, told me to get myself together. She told me that I got a small role in a B-film. This would not be a blockbuster and not many people would see it, but it would be part of my comeback.

So I went home and it was not the same place as it usually was. Mom and Dad always were fighting. Dad thought that I needed to forget Hollywood and get some help, while mom said that the only thing that would help me is to work and do what I always have done. This fighting made me cry at times, as they were fighting about me. I did not like to be the center of a fight!

I felt bad enough that I was expelled from school. I would miss Emma and the wretch girls. If I was to write on what I achieved as a 13-year-old. There would be nothing to write. I lost my Hollywood contract... I got expelled from school... I did not even make on the school play and now my parents were fighting over me.

The wretch girls phoned me after I was expelled. They were worried I couldn't get any drugs or cigarettes or alcohol. I told them there was a huge wall around our house to keep weird fans out, but there was a hole in the corner where they would crawl through. If I paid for the drugs and bad things, they would visit me. A part of me thought this was wrong and I should get myself clean. Another part of me said that I could never be clean and the Wretch girls were the only ones that understood me.

They wanted to come a day before I started filming the new movie. I was nervous about it. It did not help that mom and Dad were in one of their fights. A wretch girl called me and asked if they could visit. This is the last thing that I should have done. I should have rested until the next day. The thing was that I did not want to listen to my parents. They were arguing about what was best for me. They never asked what I wanted!

So I snuck out and went to my hiding place under the tree. It was like the school days where we started injecting drugs, drinking, and smoking. I never understood why it was just me that was expelled, but at this time, I didn't care. We were soon giggling and having fun. One girl did not understand why I even wanted to try to have a comeback. She thought people could remember me and I already proved myself. Another girl agreed and could not see how it was a comeback. It was a budget discounted film that hardly anyone would see. It was a huge step-down, especially when I only got a small role. They all agreed that I achieved more than most 13-year-olds. I could just retire with grace and never work again, as I earned millions.

I was once again drunk and high and somehow managed to make my way in the house. Dad was standing there thinking of what he should say. He didn't get a chance as I vomited all over him.

The next day, nothing was said and I felt like death warmed up. Mom spent an hour by giving me tablets to liven me up and by pouring coffee in me. This was just like the old days!

When we got to the movie studio, we were told there was no trailer for me. I was an extra and only got paid minimum wage for the movie. This meant that I had to change with the others. This was sort of hard because as soon as the others saw me, they asked if I was really Lourdes Aires and why was I there. The director overheard this and told everyone that it was a long time since I was a star. Everyone there including the cameraman was just as much as a star as I was. I felt so humiliated and my body was starting to ask when it would get the next fix.

The movie was a Victorian one and I could see they saved money everywhere. The storyline was bad and the acting was worse. I had an easy role. I was to be a maid and empty the fireplaces. I had nothing to say. How hard could that be?

When I came on the set to empty the fireplace, the director shouted cut! He then asked me what I was up to. I was supposed to look like a young maid. He noticed that my hair was a mess, and said there were bags under my eyes. He even asked was I high. He demanded that I go to make up and get sorted out. I was given more tablets and coffee and they somehow did magic with my face.

When it was time, I came stumbling on the scene again. It must have been because of the tablets, but I felt giddy and could hardly walk straight. The disaster happened when I tripped and fell to the ground. A table and a vase broke, and my bucket went flying through the air. I tried to stand up, which for some reason was hard. As I stood up, I fell over again, and this time came crashing down on the fake fireplace. They shouldn't use cheap things. At any rate, the director kept on calling Cut.

He called me over to him and said that I was as high as a kite. He then shouted that I was fired!

Of course, the media, that loved me once now hated me wrote that I was fired. The whole world knew that I was fired because I was high. This did not help things at home. Dad thought that I needed help and mom was mad at me because I destroyed my career. She said there was no chance at all for a comeback. I did not say anything and if I did, no one would hear as they were both fighting.

While they were fighting about me, I walked out the door unnoticed. I met the "Wretch girls" downtown. We started drinking and smoking some weed. Slowly I forgot all about being fired. We were once again in a giddy mood and my head was blank.

We walked around town, looking in shop windows. At one shop window, we saw some cool sunglasses that one of the girls wanted. She asked me did I have any money. I explained that Dad would not give me an allowance until I got help. This made her sad as she explained that she was admiring those sunglasses for the last month.

I didn't think twice. I walked in the shop and when the shopkeeper was looking at other places, I took the sunglasses and put them in my pocket. Then I quietly went out of the shop. As soon as I walked out, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I was led back into the shop. I looked behind me to see if the girls would support me. They disappeared.

An hour later, the police were there and I was told that I was arrested for shoplifting. I was put in handcuffs and taken down to the police station. I could hear everyone whisper as they recognized who I was. I never felt so embarrassed. It was like my life could not get any worse.

After a few hours, Dad came and got me out. He did not say anything except that we should go for a walk. So when we came to the park, he told me to sit at a picnic table.

"Your mom did not want to come," he started, " It is like she lost all hope in you or any comeback. She will not be happy when this is the latest headline about you."

" I can explain" i muttered

" The only explanation is that you have the wrong friends and you are an addict that will be dead before you are 20. You are a former child star that now has destroyed her health and life, nevermind her good reputation. The Shop keeper will not be pressing charges. This was not cheap."

"I am sorry."

" It's not your fault. Hollywood has much to answer for. You are not the only child star this happened to. You won't be the last. I will say this, that I will not give up. Tomorrow you are going to a special place, where you will get clean and get rid of this addiction"

" I do not want to go."

" You have no choice. You do not understand. You may be done at Hollywood, but this does not mean that you do not have a future. I think you have a bright future. You can do anything you want. However, you cannot do this if you are an addict!"

I told my Dad that I had to use the toilet. So I walked towards the toilets. When I got there, I just ran and ran. I left the park and went to the inner city, a place that I never been at before.

I was not going to any special place

I was not going to listen to my parent's fight

I would hide from Hollywood, the media and my parents.

I decided that running away was the only answer.

4. Hope

I hit rock bottom and I did not know how bad it was. When I ran away, I ran to the inner city where I found a spot in an old abandoned warehouse. This old woman took care of me and protected me from everyone that wanted to do bad things to me. She gave me drugs constantly and I was constantly high or drunk.

In exchange for her protection and help, I went out begging for money. This was easy to do and the rich people that came by just threw what coins they had at me like I was an animal on display. The older people were nicest as they gave me money and felt sorry that I lived on the streets.

You would think I would be humiliated about begging on the streets or living in a warehouse. I was a mess. I was dirty and smelled. My clothes looked old and dirty. My hair was in a mess. It is hard to explain how I felt. But imagine that you didn't change your clothes in a month. Imagine you didn't take a bath. Imagine that you slept in the dirt and you can have an idea of what I looked like.

The thing was that I did not care. It was like I gave up and just wanted to forget everything by being high and drunk. When I had filled my body with drugs or whatnot, I was no longer Lourdes Aires. I did not have to worry about school or contracts. I knew I was an addict and this meant I could overdose myself at any time. I thought that this was what Hollywood has done to me. They slowly made me an addict. I did not see any future for me and lost all hope. When you lose hope, you know you are at a place that has no happy ending.

The old woman showed me an old newspaper one day. It was a picture of me begging on the street. The headline was “Lourdes Aires, from Child Star to homeless junkie”. The woman wanted to know if I was famous. I tried explaining that Lourdes Aires was dead. The woman could not accept that and told me she did not want the drama that she was taking care of a washed up celebrity. She told me to find a new place to sleep.

So I walked around and I became worse as I walked around. My body needed its dose of drugs. I felt like I was dying. I ended up at the graveyard for some reason that I did not know. Maybe I thought it was a good place to die. I collapsed to the ground and stayed there for a day. I was moaning and groaning as my body was shaking and felt like it was being twisted. I would be cold one minute and the next minute it would be like a heatwave. I was in so much pain. My mind was crying out to find some drugs, but I could not move. After what seemed like a lifetime of agony, I would just go unconscious. Then I would wake up and the whole cycle would start again.

I was sure I was dying. I even said a final prayer that God would forgive me and my parents would. I hoped my fans would not follow by my example.

When I woke up, a similar face was looking down at me. It was Emma (the girl from the private school) and her mom. Emma asked what happened to me? I moaned and asked why she was here?

Emma told me they were coming to a funeral. She helped me stand up and we walked to the other side of the graveyard, where we hid behind a tree. One of the wretch girls was being buried. She took an overdose of some drug at the school. I could hardly stand and then reality hit me. She was just a year older than me and is now dead because she took too many drugs. I looked at her parents crying and felt sorry for them. I imagined that it was me that was being lowered in the grave.

Emma's mom knelt down beside me and put her arm around me. She said, “If you can breathe, then you have hope,”

After the funeral, we kept sitting under the tree. I kept looking at the grave and could not believe that a girl I spoke with was under all that dirt. Emma told me that she left the school and was at a much better school. Everyone was shocked at the death of one of its pupils, and the staff was blamed at turning a blind eye to it. Emma was much happier now, as she could stay at home and she was not ignored at school.

Then she told me that she read I was homeless. Her mom spoke with my parents and they have been looking for me every day. I told her the whole story from being a child star to being homeless. By the time I finished, Emma was in tears.

Her mom told me it looked like my body was on withdrawal from the drugs and booze. She said I could not do it alone. She offered to take me home and help me through it, as she was a nurse. She was sure that my parents would agree.

For the next two weeks, I stayed at Emma's house. I went through hell. I had seizures. I had the flu. I was depressed and I was so restless. At the worse of times, I was begging or bribing for anything that would stop the symptoms. Emma and her mother were very patient, and with compassion and stubbornness, they helped me through the agony. I was encouraged to be strong and show myself that I could control the addiction.

Mom and Dad visited me every day. They promised that they no longer fought. In fact, Mom apologized for being such a stage mom and said she just wanted me to be happy and have a normal life. I, of course, said I was sorry for everything. I couldn't name everything that I did. It was a huge list.

At the end of a few weeks, I was up and felt great. Emma's mom told me that being a recovered addict was for life. I just had to remember that people loved me and that I am stronger than I thought.

Mom told me I will always be an icon in Hollywood, however now was my chance to be a teenager. I was not to worry about the future. Very few teenagers knew what they wanted to do with their life. Dad agreed, saying that I should use the time to learn, have fun and become the best person as I could.

One day. Emma took me to the hospital that she worked at. The children's ward surprised me as these children were so sick. Some were dying and yet they smiled and were so positive. The knew who I was and thought it was great a celebrity visited them. So I sat down and read them a story. Afterwards, I spoke with them and played with them. This experience was so humbling and it felt like it was the best time in my life. I got permission to come every day!

Of course, the media somehow found out that was helping at the Children's ward. I did not want this attention or plan it. It meant that the media loved me again. They called me a saint. It was big news, that a child star is now helping others in need. It was like the completely forgot when they called me a has-been and a homeless addict.

Then something strange happened. A studio wanted me to do a film. Mom was excited at first, but then told me it was up to me. I had to think about it a lot. I missed doing films, and I missed the fame. I was also afraid. Hollywood nearly killed me!

In the end, I agreed to do the film. It was under my conditions. Emma was to be there with me, so I did not feel alone. There would be no tablets or directors telling me how much to eat.

The film was about Queen Elizabeth I as a teen and the hard life she had. It was fun doing it. Emma was so much fun and we were like pranksters on the set. Emma even had a small role in the film. The film was a blockbuster, being the top grossing film of the year and nominated for most Oscars.

After the film was done, I started going to school with Emma. They didn't care who I was, and they were not jealous. It would be a lie if I said that I never craved for some drugs or abuse, but then I remembered how happy I was without them.

Mom came into my room and put a contract before me. It was a huge contract that would mean many films and a lot of money. Mom admitted it was the contract that she dreamt about. However, the choice was mine. I gave her a hug.

I thought a lot about the contract. It would be something that I was good at doing. However, I have also been finding out other talents I had. I based my decision on what made me most happy. I told mom and Dad what I decided and they told me they were so proud of me. Mom even said she would help with the press release we would send out.

Press Release

I would like to thank everyone on the support and the love they gave me during my career at Hollywood. I had success and I had failures. Hollywood bosses and directors have done things to me that should never be done to any child. After I could not get a contract, the morals and examples shown to me at Hollywood meant that I went downhill when I was suddenly a has-been. It is no secret that I ended up as a runaway and homeless addict that had no self-respect and no hope. I was close to death!

Thanks to family and friends, I have turned my life around and no longer take drugs or drink. I even did a movie, which meant that I now can say yes to a contract again.

We should protect child stars and make sure they are treated as Children, No Child deserves to lose their childhood.

I go to school now and love learning. I love being a normal teenager and love my best friend Emma. I also love my fans, so it has been a hard decision. I decided to do what makes me most happy. I am announcing now that I am officially retiring from Hollywood, as I want to continue being a teen and having fun and learning! My hope is that one day I will be a nurse. This is one of the important jobs that we need people to do.

Despite I am retiring, I may come out of it from time to time, If I am offered a film I really want to do. The important thing is I am in control of my life now, and I am full of hope!

The end


© Copyright 2019 Alexander Temple. All rights reserved.

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