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When You're Older

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“Where are you going, Lizzy?”
I looked up, saw my little sister’s silhouette in the doorway. Her curly blonde hair, pulled into two ponytails, gleamed in the light from the hallway. She was wearing her pajamas, which were decorated with all the Disney princesses. How many times had I seen her like that, frightened by the noise and the crashes in the middle of the night, trying to find safety in my arms. I folded the purpletank top I was holding and put it away in my blue hiking backpack. “Away from here,” I whispered.
“Why?”
“When you’re older, Susan, you will understand.”
She climbed onto the bed and sat across from me. She folded her arms, pushing out her lower lip. I smiled wearily, heart aching, taking a break from my packing. I stroked her soft curls, knowing that I was making all the wrong choices, but knowing that I could not stay here.
“I want to understand now,” she whined, swatting my hand away. I turned away to grab another pair of jeans from my painted white dresser, feeling the tears beginning to prick and sting. “Mommy and Daddy are fighting and now you’re leaving.” I bit my lip. She sniffled. “It’s not fair!” she wailed.
“I know, sweetie.” I turned back, folding the jeans and putting it in the backpack. I looked up at her. Our eyes were identical – round, blue, and slowly filling with glistening tears. “You can’t have everything you want.”
“Yes I can!” she argued, the color rising in her round baby cheeks. “The TV says so!” She jabbed a finger back into the hallway, where the flickering light of the TV screen could be seen, accompanied by the muffled noise of Channel 8 news. I sighed, and shook my head, getting the wad of twenties from my jewelry box. Suzie wasn’t finished. “They say that you can get what you want if you try,” she said firmly.
I zipped up my backpack and swung it onto my shoulder. In one last, desperate attempt, Suzie grabbed my hand and held it tight. “Please stay!” she wailed, the tears streaking down her cheeks. I felt my own tears tumble out and begin their silent descent. “Lizzy! Don’t leave!”
“I’m so sorry, Suzie.” I pried her fingers away and gave her one last kiss on the top of her head. “I’m so sorry,” I whispered against her golden curls.
I pulled away and walked out, down the hall towards the back door. I made the mistake of one last look, and saw her standing there, tear-streaked and disillusioned, watching her sanctuary walk away.
“Goodbye, Suzie baby.”



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KiraKira said...
Apr. 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm:
sorry about there being no paragraph indents - for some reason that always happens with the copy paste.
 
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