As a 16-year-old journalist living in suburban Chicago, I’ve always sought to reach a wide...
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“OK so our stories are set, remember deadline is in two weeks,” said my Kardashian-esque journalism teacher.
I’m a student journalist and writer. Actually, to say that “I am” a journalist/writer would not be completely accurate. I am not a journalist, journalism is me. It is everything I live for. Journalism, as well as writing, is what keeps me sane.
It’s September; the leaves have just begun to change. Only now do I realize what the brown, red, and yellow transition foreshadowed. I haven’t talked to my father for a couple months now, but I do not care. There isn’t enough time in the day to worry about interviews, page layouts, and fathers.
“I need your movie review by 2:15,” I yelled. “I have to get it on the page!”
Even though I knew he had about a month left he was still the last thing on my mind. I sat in class laughing with my fellow editors, while yelling at the slackers.
“@Danealle13 and I are Twitter whores,” read the Twitter post between the sports editor and me.
“We are the best and cleanest type of whore,” I laughed innocently.
My friends and I giggle, make inappropriate jokes, and gossip like, for lack of a better term, normal teenagers. I do all of this without a twinge of guilt or melancholy about my relationship with my father. Why should I feel guilty? As far as I know, he gave up on trying a long time ago.
“Have a wonderful weekend guys, this issue is turning out great,” bellowed my journalism teacher.
It’s finally the weekend; a time for relaxation, or in my case time to slave away at work. Anyone who needs a job I do not recommend working for a fast food chain. Luckily, my mother and grandmother are always there to make a joke.
My mother’s cousin is staying with us. She is a short, stout, enigmatic woman. Unlike the rest of my family members, she had the audacity to break the constraining social norms of our family. She married someone outside of the Jewish faith and Russian background. Tattoos and tramp stamps litter various parts of her body, which is actually why I respect her. She did not care if people judged her—she has her own family that would love her whether the stereotypical mold was being filled or not.
“Good morning Danealle,” she said. “It’s already eight o’clock, weren’t you supposed to be at work by 7:30?”
“Yes, but I just don’t feel right. Plus I have to help decorate the halls for homecoming week so I don’t want to get sicker.”
Even though I didn’t feel right, I didn’t pay it much attention nor did I make the connection until the phone rang.
“He did … but the doctor said … I see … yes she’ll be there,” my mother told my uncle.
The funny thing is, I know what’s coming.
“I know you didn’t love him but does it still hurt to know he’s gone,” my mother’s cousin asked before we knew for sure.
“No,” I lied.
My mother walked into the room with a somber look on her face. She gave me a hug and said everything is going to be okay. At that moment I did what was expected of me, I conformed to the rules and cried softly.
“We have to get ready,” I said. “I need to be at school around 11.”
I went to the bathroom to wipe off the tears and paint on a happy face. To be honest, it did not take much mascara to make my eyes sparkle. I wasn’t sad yet, I was just … numb …