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Right From Wrong This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     “This is wrong.” I thought I had purged my mind of my mother’s voice, yet her strident tones still echoed through my brain, muffled but not silenced. At 14 a fuse had been ignited, my mind tented like the Petersons’ house last spring, but the chemical I used was 14 years of commands coupled with scattered Christian infomercial perspective.

Brush your teeth, clean your room, go to bed, and other orders ingrained in my head during my childhood had ceased to resound through my skull, yet one phrase remained, preserved.

“This is wrong.”

Wrong means bad. Wrong means red X’s scattered across your test like caustic confetti. Wrong means the hellfires of damnation, which I stopped believing in (along with God and heaven), but which still have the power to frighten me, like the chainsaw-wielding villain I saw on TV when I was six, who I knew wasn’t real, but was really cackling manically before me every time I shut my eyes.

“This is wrong.”

SHUT UP!

Wrong is the look of pain and confusion in the eyes of the boy who slipped a note through my window at five in the morning because he wanted me to know he was thinking about me, who sat through 10 showings of Harry Potter the day after my grandmother died because even though neither of us liked the movie, for one moment Maggie Smith’s mouth tips up to one side just like Gram’s did and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop grieving until I could watch that with a smile instead of a sob.

Pain and confusion cover his face. Pain facing rejection, confusion as he feels my body tense, my hands shift restlessly, everything moving with want, yet held back by something he cannot hear. How can a mere whisper contain me? Reins to yank back my body, a bit to prevent explanation to the troubled eyes before me, yet no blinders to spare me the sight of the darkness clouding his face.

“This is wrong.”

A gradual change, imperceptible to the unperceptive, a change in lilt, in tone, in meaning.

A silenced tongue is wrong, not the feelings it might expound if freed.

A bound body is wrong, not the movements it may make unshackled.

Cloaking an atheist in the robes of a sister is wrong.

Hurting someone who loves you is wrong.

The words have not changed; my conscience is preserved, the influence destroyed.

This is right.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 5 comments. Post your own!

Molly,Jane said...
today at 10:04 am:
This peice is very thoughtful and i like all the conections you made. It makes everything more interesting. I also like how you kept it simple and you didn't go into too much detail that was occurring.it takes a great writer to hold back like that, or even make the reader think and wonder. 
 
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In_Love_with_Writing said...
Jan. 7, 2013 at 11:56 am:
Really nice job! You did well. Hey can you check out some of my stories and leave a comment or rating? It would mean soo much to me if you did both.
 
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Ecrivain This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 16, 2012 at 1:06 am:
Very vivid story! I like how poetic you make it seem, with the comparisons, the fragmented sentences, and one sentence paragraphs. Very effective in conveying your theme. Also, adore the last couple of lines; favorite: "A bound body is wrong, not the movements it may make unshackled." Keep writing, friend! 
 
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Rebecca P. said...
Jul. 22, 2009 at 7:57 pm:
Interesting, she finds a way to explain to herself why not doing it is wrong so that she can do it. Christianity pounded into her head without love turned her completely away. Yet her mother did love her, just maybe didn't show it in a way the character could recognize.
 
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dljd said...
Oct. 10, 2008 at 1:07 am:
that was great
 
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