- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
I woke with a dry throat and a sticky mouth to the silvery winter sunlight that streamed through the cracks of the blinds and fell into warm, glowing shards on the floor.
A small smile pushed up the corners of my lips and I was fully prepared to enjoy my morning.
It was so rare that I felt happiness during my hours of consciousness anymore.
The only audible sounds in the house as I shifted were the rustling of the blankets, warmed with my body heat, and the whirring of the heater that periodically filled my bedroom with gusts of hot, dry air.
I had a sense that no one was home that morning which left me free to traipse downstairs in my underwear and cool off after being overexposed to the heat and make a cup of coffee.
When I pushed open the door, I was greeted by two overexcited, panting beasts all shaggy with their full winter coats.
At that point, I knew no one was home. The dogs were entirely dependent on people and if my mom and her boyfriend weren’t home, they’d wait outside my bedroom door until I was ready to greet the day.
They followed me, literally, at my heels as I cautiously navigated my way down the stairs that were so short my clumsy feet almost always slipped off the edges, occasionally resulting in a fall.
I let them outside, leaving the door open so I could enjoy the icy air on my bare legs and arms while I made my coffee.
As the sleep cleared from my eyes and head, my morning bliss started to fade along with the warmth under my skin.
I’d had a feeling it wouldn’t last.
I whistled for the dogs so I could close out the cold and they obediently came running inside.
The constant trickling of the brew drizzling into the pot diminished into single drops, the silence between each splash increasing as time passed.
An unavoidable gloom settled over me as I stirred Splenda into the steaming, bitter liquid in my cup. Rattling louder than the spoon against the porcelain was the realization in my head that, once again, I had only dogs for company and that my only comfort was artificially sweetened.