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I Don’t Think So/ Two Paths to Take
My family was never close. My mother was always away on trips; my father would come home drunk every night. Siblings? Well, I had a sister. She was five, but then she died in an “accident”. When they came for her, they looked at me a shook their heads in disappointment. I bet they thought I hadn’t protected her, but what do they know. I tried my best, but it was my fault. It was always my fault.
My mother was very beautiful, and she knew that a little too well. She took advantage of her looks everywhere she went. One night, she was out and never returned. That night, my father came home, empty beer bottle still in his hands, and started yelling.
“You!” he pointed as I was walking by, “You! This is your fault!”
He lunged at me, swinging the empty bottle like he was blindly hitting a baseball. I was backed up against the counter, holding up my arms as a shield for my face. Then a sudden Crack beside my awakened me from my shock. The sound echoed through the empty apartment. I quickly got away, stumbling over piles of garbage, to my room. I closed the door behind me and with a Click, locked it. As a routine, I took out my cell phone and punched in Cory’s number. From behind the door, she heard footsteps becoming louder. Then it suddenly stopped.
Bang! Bang! He was pounding on the door. I started to sob, unsure of what to do next. Click. The line went dead. I was sure Cory was on the way. I only had the repeated banging to comfort me now. I closed my eyes, picturing a lush green meadow and sunlight brighter than a diamond. Suddenly, my heart screamed with joy as I heard a series of new footsteps approaching. Next thing, I hit the ground.
I woke up in a bed. Yet another familiar scene was around me. Hovering over me were my friends, Chrissy and Maddie, and Cory. It didn’t take me long to realize I was at the Usual Spot again. I just closed my eyes again when I heard footsteps coming closer to this room. I shot up just as Cory’s mother entered. She looked at me and narrowed her eyes. She never did like me much. She said I only had two paths in the road. When she saw Cory and the rest of us looking at her, she turned around and walked out, slamming the door behind her.
With their attention back on me, Chrissy smiled and said, “I would love to have her as a mother.” He eyes stared right at Wat, her smile suddenly vanishing.
Cory stood up from his chair, put his hands up and said, “It’s not my choice who I get for a mother.”
He turned and held out a small box in front of me.
“Open it,” he said gently.
I took the box in my hands and gently tugged on the ribbon. It fell apart and gracefully landed onto the blanket. I slowly opened the box, expecting a small piece of gold or silver. Instead, it held a piece of glass. I recognized the shard from the beer bottle my father had used as a weapon.
“Thank you?” I gave him a puzzled look.
He laughed and said for me to put it away before his mother finds it.
The next day at school, I walked down the halls with pairs of eyes looking at me. Chrissy was waiting for me by my locker with a bag. I peeked inside. It was full of letters. I looked at her questioningly, but she wouldn’t even hint what was in there. So I went ahead and picked one out randomly. It said “I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sorry you suffered. Why didn’t you come to us for help???”
I looked up, confused by the words in front of me. She dropped the bag, and looked up. I could see tears streaming down her face.
“What happened? What’s wrong?”
“Last night. Cory was there. With his friends. They had to protect. You. The monster. He had… He was…He…”
She stopped. A familiar voice spoke up behind me.
“You can’t hide it from her forever, Chrissy.”
I turned and looked at Cory.
I stopped. I didn’t want to know anymore. I knew it would be my fault.
“Your father is dead. The hospital concluded that the cause was alcohol poisoning. They found multiple bottles in his car and throughout the house. Hey. Don’t cry. It’s no-”
My hand reached my pocket. I slipped my hand in and grabbed onto the glass shard that he had given me the day before. My mind crawled into a corner to find comfort, but doing so wasn’t as comforting as expected. My heart reached out for someone to hold me. Chrissy looked at me with her puffy red eyes and reached out to hug me.
“Everything’s gonna be okay,” she whispered with a shaky voice.
I pushed her away and yelled, “You don’t know that. You don’t know anything! How do you know that everything will be okay? How do you know it can go back to what it used to be?” I took a step forward and collapsed in her arms.
“Do you need to-”
“No. I don’t,” I replied.
“Here.” She offered me a tissue. I took it.
“Thanks, Chrissy,” I said, as I blew into it.
“Are you going to be okay?” asked Cory.
“Maybe, I just got to take it a little slow now.”
“What are you going to do now? I mean you’re all alone now.”
I turned to Chrissy.
“I don’t know.”
I held up the glass that Cory gave me and smiled.