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Chocolate Milk

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The tendons between each carpal pulsated, knuckles turning white as the skin tightly spread across the bones. Lungs inflating to a lesser extent with each inhalation. My thoughts raced as I tried to maintain control of my actions, I can’t take the easy way out, resounded in my skull, not again, I’m better than that. Still the notion of a quick release was tempting as my right hand traced the scars on my bicep and forearm, each one with their own story of sorrow and pathetic escape to tell. She’s just busy, those were just rumors…. Right?

The sudden vibration of my Palm Treo on the stained mahogany nightstand, built by my own hands with the help of my father those many years ago, startled me despite my anticipatory fervor. Without wasting time for even a breath I snatched it. ‘1 Unread Text Message: Trish’

My fingers unsteadily engaged the upper left key, viewing the text, but my eyes looked anywhere but the screen. My breathing became less and less shallow as I closed my sapphire eyes, focusing on the inward air through my nose, and the waste expelled through my mouth.

In.

Out.

In.

And out again.

In.

Then out slowly, a dull hiss, as of a tire losing it’s precious air pressure while pulling over onto the breakdown lane of the interstate, when your only thought seems to be I hope I have a spare, otherwise I’ll be late.

I lifted my eyelids and finally looked at my hands, trembling so badly I had to place the phone on my lap just to be able to read it.

“I’m so sry Tristan, it just sort of hpnd. He was so sweet 2 me and u’ve been so distant lately. I still care abt u so much, but…. I luv him, I rly hope that we can be friends, plz just promise me that u’ll b ok?”

The sudden rush of air and a sharp thud as my phone cracked the plaster on the wall opposite of me. Stupid f***ing b****, I gave up everything for her and she f***ing falls in love with my f***ing best friend……… DAMMIT!!!!! I opened the drawer beside my bed overzealously, the fire already razing any sense of happiness within me, incinerating my inner peace, leaving only ashes. Not of her, I still loved her, I’d lie and say I wished she were dead, but I would know the truth that it was only myself whom I loathed. There it was, the cold steel slid between my fingertips.

I turned it over in my hands, staring at the gleam of the incandescent light bulbs in the engraved STANLEY on each side of the utility blade. It had been 4 months, 122 days until the last time I had gone down this path. The vibrant sapphire dulled as my eyes glazed over in emotional obscurity. The index finger of my right hand, nails chewed down to the bare minimum, traced along the old scars once again. The pain from each one coming to the forefront, all distant memories but still fresh in my mind. All 15 years of my life, filled with pain and suffering. A broken home, a father who just disappeared, faking who I was, being the popular guy set under a microscope. All of it, I was sick of every last bit of it.

The corner of the blade found a fresh patch of skin. In Out In Out, my heart pounded, his mind raced. I tensed the muscles in my right arm, squeezing the blade tightly as I prepared to release the pressure within. I closed my eyes once more, clenching my jaw in anticipation, then…

“Twistan, you make me chocolate milk?”

I tore my head around, a pair of Little Einstein pajamas stood in the doorway. My 3 and a half-year-old brother, the most important person in my whole world, stared at me with the most beautifully innocent blue eyes. His blonde hair pressed to the side of his head from having been in bed, his mouth mercilessly devouring his index finger. His bare feet offset the dark brown of the carpet as his tiny left hand wrapped around the corner of the oak doorframe.

“Scooby, what are you doing up?” Michael giggled at the term of affection I, his Superman, used for him. His face lost the laughter though when he remembered why he had awoken.

“I dweamt about daddy, when he comin back?” My fist balled around the blade, hiding it from Michael’s view. I gritted my teeth at the mention of my father as my heart wrenched for my younger brother’s misconception.

“I don’t know Scoob, but soon. Let’s go get you some milk and watch Aladdin until you fall asleep.”

Michael lay on my chest on the small, beige sofa. His miniscule fingers tracing designs only he saw on me while Aladdin and Jasmine soared to A Whole New World on a magic carpet on the television.

“Pwease don’t weave wike daddy Twistan, I dunwant you to go bye-bye.”

A knot formed in my throat, what the f*** had he been thinking? How could I have been so selfish before? It doesn’t matter now, in the morning I’d get rid of the blade. I deserve better than that.

Scooby deserves better than that.

“Don’t worry little man, you’re stuck with me. I love you buddy.”

“I wuv you too Twistan.” Michael’s voice fading as he softly slipped into a silent slumber.





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