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Water Bugs Don't Get Angry At The Rain This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My amplified senses twist and churn in a crowded head. Breathing quickens and grows raspy in my throat, as it constricts. My numb brain works harder and harder, and it seems as though "overkill" is a word of foreign tongue. Every motion I make feels ten times its normal proportion. It is as if the necessity to squeeze a grape should arise then I would use a vice to do the menial work.

As I run I realize that I am almost at the lake. Suddenly I feel the urge to run toward the beach and jump, headlong, into the chilled water. I can almost taste its coolness running down my parched throat. I can remember Aunt Joanne and Mommy telling me that I was going to get worms if I swallowed anymore of that "god-awful, dirty water!" Then I would eat the sandy picnic lunch, which they always packed, and enjoy it in complete childish bliss. Mommy would always splurge and get an ice cream on the way home. It's been so long since I've had ice cream.

I wonder if Mom heard me leave. Maybe she did. Maybe she's already read the note, and she's regretting the way that she treated me. She's probably wishing that she'd just given me my space. She might realize I deserve freedom and respect like everyone else. I wonder if she knows I love her. Does she think I'll forget about her? All of my thoughts are melting, meshing, and molding into one huge, confused mass. What if she knows I'm gone, but she doesn't care?

Suddenly I feel the high from running pulsating up my legs, past my tight heaving lungs, and through my throbbing head. I can't stop, not now. Past the lake and park, past the ice cream stand, I run. Only by instinct am I aware of my destination. In my conscious mind I am a mere passenger. My feet are taking me where they see fit.

As I run, the road gets more packed down. The hard dirt has collected a few puddles of dew, and small portions of the road contain muddy ditches. Now I am running on the stone that was placed for the road that is paved ahead.

Just now I am coming to the pavement, and the stress on the balls of my toes and my heels is excruciatingly painful. I am sure that my feet are blistered and full of open cuts. I have to remember that this stretch of road doesn't last long. It will soon come to an end.

As I run past Mark's house I think about that summer. He promised to be there for me during the divorce. I guess that just meant he would leave after he felt I was strong enough to deal with it on my own. He knows I'm still in pain. He knows that I didn't want to live with Mom. He always understood. He'd gone through it with his parents too. Why did everything change? Why hasn't he called me in eight months? My mind is going in circles, and I feel dizziness wracking my brain.

As I come to the packed dirt my legs begin to scream. They feel a strain forgotten on the paved portion of roadway, but I can't stop. There are a few rocks torturing my worn feet, but something (maybe anger, despair, or even confusion), carries me along.

As I run over the old bridge and look into the murky water I see my brother's face. I stop. As my heavy chest twitches and begins to convulse, I stare into the stream. I think about my older brother. Alex was always Mom's favorite. He joined the Army last year, and I rarely see him. Maybe I'll drop him a line when I get to the city.

I sit on the dirt covering the old bridge and begin to regain my breath. My mind begins to slow, and I have time to reminisce. Memories of Alex flow into my mind like incredibly thick liquid. They settle around my brain. I can think about nothing but him. My head suddenly feels heavy and full.

This is the same spot Alex and I would sit when we were kids. We would look at the water striders, skim rocks, and watch the leaves we threw in the water come out the opposite side of the bridge. Sometimes we would fish for the small sunfish that ate the water striders. He was the only one who caught anything. When we would get home, Mommy would always say "So what'd ya' catch, Alex?" or "How many this time Alex?" as if I wasn't even there. Well maybe I had finally caught something! Why didn't she ever think of that?

My tears fall into the stream, creating little ripples. The water striders become disoriented as the water passes beneath them in the uncommon waves. For a moment I feel a connection with the struggling insects. Then they turn their tiny frail bodies in the direction the waves push. Their problem had become an advantage.

I stand up slowly, and dust off my pants. The darkness is beginning to lift, and soon dawn will be breaking. Comforting breaths of morning breezes are whipping against my tired body. The birds are beginning their loud melodic songs. Everything seems at peace. Everyone is where they belong, except me. I stretch my weary frame and head for home. I wouldn't want Mommy to worry too much. 1


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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