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Faker

I turn on the shower and stand in the warm rain, wishing I could stay here forever. I’m expected at camp–another one of my mother’s attempts to cheer me up–in an hour. With several of her ideas exhausted, I know this must be a last effort. Good. No longer will I have to act happy for those around me.

Day after day, I make myself get out of bed and force a smile onto my face. But why? Why should I try to make those around me happy when I am the one suffering? They care nothing for my feelings. And if they do, they don’t try to make it known. They don’t try to talk to me or ask me how I’m doing.

But today, my smile will not be for those who are heartless. No. Today, all my effort is intended for my pea-brained mother. I will convince her that I’m cured of this everlasting depression, no matter what it takes. Because a content mother will not sit around, thinking of ideas to make her daughter happy. A content mother will go back to work and leave her daughter alone, believing the child will be out with her friends instead of moping around. Of course, I have no intention of leaving the house once she’s gone. Ever. I will never have to fake my feelings for anyone again–other than my mother, that is. Each day, I will rise and act as if I’m going to the movies, or maybe the mall, just to put her idiot mind at ease. Then, she will leave and all will be well. I’ll have the privilege of crawling back into my soft, soft bed. I’ll pull the sheets up over my head and stay there forever, consumed in my own thoughts and memories. Memories of my father, my brother. Back when I was happy.

The water in the shower goes cold, but I don’t hasten to get out. Ever so slowly, I turn off the faucet and towel off my chilled body. Ever so slowly, I get dressed and brush my damaged hair. Today is the day. My only chance to save myself from becoming a mindless zombie, walking through life with no real emotions showing. I stare in the mirror for a long time, practicing my smile. Talking to myself every couple of minutes to test the tone of my voice.

After what must be an hour, I suck in a deep breath and put on the most dazzling smile I can muster. I take my first step towards the door. Then another. Then another. Three more steps and I’m there, whispering to myself quietly to calm my nerves. My last chance.

I slowly walk to the kitchen and try to look as cheery as possible when I see the burnt breakfast before me.

“Hi, Honey!” My mom turns to me, holding a plate of pancakes. “Ready for your big day?”

“I- I-” Oh no. Not now. I feel that oh-so-familiar lump rising in my throat, choking any words that try to escape. The warm, salty water reaches my lips just as I turn to run. But my legs, they have no will to move. Instead, I fall to the ground and lie crying, watching helplessly as my mother’s face exchanges an excited look for a worried one.

I’ve ruined it. My only chance and it is ruined.





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