The Antidote

December 1, 2009
Every limb in my body turns rock hard, rigid, unable to move. My body is crumbling, falling to pieces, while I stand back and watch. Sick loneliness washes over me, darkening my once happy façade. Feeling weak and vulnerable, tears escape like prisoners from the corners of my eyes. I want to climb back into the womb and take comfort in the safety I once felt there. Masking my emotions, repeating to myself, lying to myself, I repeat silently:

“I don’t care, I don’t care anymore.”

I hate myself; I don’t understand myself. She’s my little sister and she’s broken yet I want to strangle her, and yell at her? Am I giving up on my best friend? It feels as if my hands and feet are bound together and my mouth glued shut but my eyes remain wide-open – watching her life crumble before me. I stand, observing, full of rage, confused at what has developed within her. I am trapped in my sister’s world, not able to do one damn thing.

I blame myself – I am older and should be the person full of wisdom, capable of helping. But at the same time, deep down inside, I know the fault isn’t mine but in a weird way, I wish that it was. I wish I could be blamed for her crisis so that I would be capable of producing an antidote.

Dropping her off at school, I ask the same questions:

“Are you sad?”

“Did you take anything?”

“Do you have anything with you?”

Sun streaming down as her eyes swallow the light, she glances down quickly before looking me in the face, eyes squinting:


Slowly turning towards the school, she looks back:

“I hate school.”

Around 2 PM that day, I receive a phone call. She’s done it again. She’s in the hospital and they might take her away again. She looked me straight in the face, and I was stupid enough to believe her. Emotions bubble to the surface. On the verge of tears, I answer:

“Ok, I’ll be there.”

I used to care. I used to care about everything. Ten months ago, my life, my world was happy, blissfully happy. I was involved in clubs, I did all of my homework – I loved school. How can I devote my energy to school when my personal life is shattering to pieces? Calculus, essays – how can I think about finding the area under a curve or criticizing a critical essay when she’s not the same? Pulling aside the thin paper curtains, I peek in and see her, black covering her lips – it’s the charcoal.

Only ten months ago, my sister, my partner-in-crime, was a bouncy bubbly teen. I want to pretend that I can go on living life as if nothing has happened that she’ll make the right choices but I’m afraid of leaving her. My biggest challenge lives within me and I still haven’t found the antidote.

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