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You pull your knees close, wrap your arms around them. Your bones peak through the dark denim of your jeans and your stomach growls, hungry, waiting.

You’ve been sitting here for seventeen hours. Your imprint is probably on the hard green bench for life and your sleeves are nearly in tatters from all the strings you pulled. The nurse who comes by every hour frowns but doesn’t say a word; you suspect she’ll pick up her phone once in her office, dialing a number that will go straight to voice mail.

He doesn’t care, your brother; not enough to leave whatever audition he’s in. He’s finally made it big, you see, and Hollywood is fickle and it doesn’t matter if your parents are on an operating table. It doesn’t matter, because their futures are nonexistent and his is suddenly bright.

To be honest, you don’t care much either. You love your parents—so does your brother, so does everyone—but they were never around. It’s cliché and you know it, but it’s the truth and you’d rather your life was a cliché because those at least have happy endings. Unless your life turns out to be a tragedy, in which case you think the tragic hero must be your brother because your flaws are too many to be limited to just one.

You like that about yourself. You have flaws that go on for pages and pages (your best friend Lucy made a list, once) and you can forget about things easily. You can forget how cold a hospital waiting room is, how the buzz of machinery is the only thing you can hear at four in the morning, besides the nurses whispering around the corner. They tried to kick you out a while ago to shift but one dead-eyed look led them away. They’re more worried than you are, you think, but that’s only because you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t care.

So two hours later, when the doctor strides towards you with his coat swishing behind him in a mockery of a knight, you don’t cry. You pull at your sleeve strings more and pretend that they aren’t your heartstrings.





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