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Trapped Without Control

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“Hey, kid,” James said into the phone before I could say anything.
“Hey,” I answered.
“You alright?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t know. You sound beleaguered.”
I didn’t say anything. I ran my hand through my hair, closing my eyes as I waited.
“Krystin?” He paused. “You there?”
“Yeah,” I said as I picked up my notebook and threw it onto the desk by the door.
“Were you planning on answering me?” He laughed.
“Mhm. I was trying to figure out why you insist on using words no normal college
student knows.”

He laughed again. “Sorry. You sound annoyed.” He rephrased.

“Yeah. Kinda.”

“What do you mean ‘kind of’? What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. These phone calls are getting friggen annoying, though.”

James stopped talking.

“Sorry. There’s nothing I can do about that one.”

“Yes there is. You can stop calling.”

“Kris. No.”

“Why the hell not?”

“Because you might hurt yourself again,” He yelled into the phone.

I didn’t say anything, sitting on the edge of my bed as I waited for him to talk.

He took a deep breath and calmed himself down before talking again. “Kris. You’re at school alone. You know what Mom and Dad said. If they let you go, you had to promise to talk to someone every day.”

“You’re at school alone, too.”

“There’s a difference between you going to Duke after trying to kill yourself and me going back to Harvard after watching you try to kill yourself. I don’t know if you can tell the difference between those two statements, but there’s a better chance you could relapse than me.” He wasn’t yelling but was still mad.

“And there comes Harvard again. Why the f*** do you always have to bring up Harvard? Just because you could get in and I couldn’t, doesn’t mean you always have to rub it in.” I dropped a piece of paper into the trash by the desk.

“Hey. Watch the language. First off, I wasn’t rubbing it in to anyone. I was simply stating the fact that we both went to college. And secondly, you didn’t even apply. You wanted to go to Duke. Or do you not remember that?”


I hung up the phone.

He knows I love him, doesn’t he? Knows I can’t stand him half the time. He knows that those phone calls have always pissed me off.

“He’s just being a good older brother,” Our parents say. “If he hadn’t come home for Christmas last year…”

What if.

What if he hadn’t come home last year? If he’d stayed at Harvard because of all the snow. What if he’d stayed with his roommate instead of both of them coming home?

He knows I hate the fact that he’s the one who found me. That I hate feeling vulnerable. That I hated missing all the fun stuff senior year.

He’s always been over protective. I should have made the connection that he would try to protect me from myself. I should’ve known.

Why didn’t I think of that?

It would have saved me a ton of trouble. I could’ve done it in the school bathroom or at the bookstore down the street. I could have gone to the woods behind the park or something like that. Or if I really had any common sense, I would’ve thought about the fact that James was going to the gym about an hour later. I would’ve been alone in the house for hours. And by the time they’d all come back, I would’ve done it all ready and I still wouldn’t be living this nightmare everyone feels the right to call life.

They all think I’m fine, think I’m healed. But they’re only looking on the outside, watching for more scars to form on the insides of my arms. The thing is…that’s not all there is to it. There’s the stuff I haven’t told anyone but that psychiatrist last year. And James knows some of it, but he thinks he knows more than he really does.

They all think I’m fine. That because I look better, I really am. I guess nobody’s ever heard of acting. It’s easy once you get into it.

My phone rang and I threw it against the wall. My roommate walked in as it fell to the blanket. I moved towards my bed and straightened out my lime green and purple blanket, pushing all my books to the foot of the bed.

“He called?” She asked, brushing her hair out of he eyes, scratching the side of her face as she walked over to her bed.

I took a deep breath, and threw all my laundry into the fabric hamper under the bed.

“Okay then. I’m grabbing my iPod and I’ll be down at the library if you need anything. Hello?” She waved her hand in front of my face. “Are you alright?”

“Yeah. James screamed at me and I hung up the phone. That’s all that happened.”

“Well call him back. What if he gets the wrong idea?”

“So what if he does?”

She rolled her eyes. “Whatever. If you need me I have my phone,” She said. “I’m so friggen happy I don’t have an older brother,” She mumbled as she shut the door.

My phone rang and I ignored it again. I lay down on my bed and rested my head on my purple pillow case, legs stretched out, my chocolate brown hair framing my face, hands rested against my eyes.

I must’ve fallen asleep because next thing I knew, it was dark outside. I sat up and swung my legs over the side of the bed as I heard a knock on the door. Before I could walk over, I heard the Faculty Universal key slide into the key slot and the door swung open.

Three University Police Officers walked through the doorway.

“Ms. Krystin Logan? We have been asked by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Logan to remain with you until a member of your immediate family is present.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“We have our orders. Your family has contacted us stating there is reason to believe that you are a danger to yourself at this time.”

“You cannot be serious.”

“I’m sorry, Miss.”

“Yeah. Whatever.”

I stopped talking and paced the room as the three officers settled themselves around the dorm, two by the door, the other by the window.

I was gonna kill James.

Maddi walked in after a while and dropped her iPod onto her desk, picking up her sweatshirt before turning to face me. “Look what the hell you did by not answering him. Even I know your brother enough to know he’d flip out,” She yelled. “I told you you should have just friggen called him back.” She stormed out of the room.

I kept walking around for what felt like hours until Mom and Dad turned around the corner.

“Oh, Honey, you’re alright.” Mom said as she kissed me on the forehead, her dyed red hair scratching against my skin.

The officers walked outside.

“I wasn’t gonna do anything.”

“That’s not what James said over the phone.” Dad said. He closed his eyes and rubbed his hands together.

“James over exaggerated.”

“Sweetheart. You didn’t answer the phone both times he called. He panicked. What would you have done?”

“I wouldn’t have wasted your time.”

“It was only a few hours.”

“A few hours wasted,” I said.

“Sweetheart, He was scared. He wants to make sure you’re okay.”

“What do you mean ‘wants to’? He doesn’t already know?”

“He wants to see for himself.”

“He’s on his way here.” I stated. There was no need to ask it as a question. I knew my brother well enough not to have to ask.

“He was at the airport before he called your mother,” Dad added.

Just as we finished talking, James came around the corner, dropped his bag, and walked over to me, running his hand through his hair. He gave me the tightest hug he’d given me since last Christmas and cried into my shoulder as I hugged him back.

I let him cry for a minute before pushing him away. “What the hell is wrong with you?” I asked, looking straight up at him. He looked down, towering over me by at least a half a foot.

“Me? What the hell’s wrong with you? You’re the one that didn’t answer your phone.”

“So you got on a plane and traveled from Massachusetts to North Carolina?”

“I panicked, alright?”

“And you called Mom and Dad?”

“What was I supposed to do? It’s not like I could just ask you.”

“I sat in my room for three hours with University cops because you ‘panicked’. How the hell is that fair to me?”

“If you’d just answered your damn phone, then-”

“Enough,” Dad got in between us and pushed us an arm’s length away from each other.

“Krystin, your mother and I are siding with James on this one. You should’ve answered your phone.”

“Of course you’re siding with him. He’s the perfect friggen child.”

“Krystin Marie Logan, do not speak to your father that way,” Mom said.

“Sorry, Dad,” I mumbled.

“Now. Let’s talk about this rationally. Krystin, why did you feel the need to not answer your brother?” Mom asked.

I felt my lip begin to quiver and I fell back a step. I looked from my parents to my brother and then back again before answering.

“Why does he get everything?” I started counting things off on my fingers. “He goes to the best school in the country, he goes there 100%, completely alone, and he doesn’t have his big brother check up on him at least once a day, now does he? Why the hell do I have to?”

“You don’t get it, do you?” James asked.

I turned my head towards him. “No, I guess I don’t. Enlighten me Mr. Harvard Student,” I said, bitterly.

“We’ll let you two talk,” Dad said, shifting backwards as the tension increased.

I heard them walk away and shut the door but I never looked away from my brother.

“I don’t give a s*** about going to Harvard. I don’t care whether you wanted to go there or not. What bothers me is the fact that you think it’s the only place to go. Duke’s amazing. You’ve always wanted to go here. You tell me all the time how much you love it. Why the hell do you keep using it against me that I wanted to go to Harvard when you’re at a college you love? It makes no sense to me.”

“Because you’re always better. At everything. You always get things faster than I do. You know everything. Use words like ‘beleaguered’ because you know the definition right off the top of your head. Why the hell can’t I do that? Why the hell did I work my a** off in high school and you just did everything? You made it look easy.”

“I was two years ahead of you. It just felt like I was getting things faster because I’d already learned everything you were asking me for help with. It was never easy, Kris. I worked my a** off, too. You just never saw it.”

“Yeah. Well at least you could handle it,” I mumbled as I turned away from him.

“What?” He paused. “Kris, I’m confused.”

“Never been confused before?” I asked, sarcastically.

“Kris, don’t be like that. Tell me.”

I turned my face back to his and looked right into his eyes. His face dropped.

“That’s why I found you in the bathroom last year, wasn’t it?”

I didn’t say anything, letting him connect the dots as he went along.

“You didn’t want to have to deal with me anymore.”

“No James, that’s not it,” I said quickly before he started blaming himself too much.


“I made my baby sister suicidal,” He whispered to himself, looking off past me. “My little sister tried to kill herself because of me.” He took a deep breath.

“James that’s not it,” I shook his shoulder to make him look at me.

“Then why?”

I hesitated. “Everything else.”

He stared at me blankly.

“School, college, Mom and Dad. Trust me; you’re the last thing on my list. You were the one reason I didn’t.”

“Why me?”

“Why not you? You’re always the one I set my bar to. The one I competed with. You’re the one who pushed me. Mom and Dad never cared about school. You did. All they cared about was the house and going to the ‘country club’ on the weekends.

“They weren’t the ones that beat the s*** out of Zach when he cheated on me last summer. You were.”

“I didn’t actually beat him up, you know.”

“You were close enough that you made him cry.”

James smiled.

“Trust me. You are not the reason I was in the bathroom last winter. If you were, why would I have stopped myself when I saw you in the doorway?”

He smiled and grabbed me around the waist as her pulled me closer to him. “Thank god,” He said as he kissed the top of my head.



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