Earrings

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Flawless. The faceted blue-green gems glinted under the harsh department store light. They were magnificent, twinkling tauntingly against the black velour that lined their case. Beanie. I thought. They were perfect for Beanie. I stared hard at the little gems and the background of their case was replaced by her shiny, jet black hair. I looked closer and could see them, dangling gracefully from her earlobes as she sauntered down the stone steps, leaving high school forever. I saw how the blue-green color brought attention to her eyes, eyes I had coveted since I first saw my big sister as something separate from myself. She needed these earrings; I needed Beanie to have them.

My hand clumsily reached for the price tag, knocking over a necklace stand and earning me spiteful glares from the clerk. I ignored her as she clicked her tongue and walked away, but I heard it. Click-you are worthless Click Click-you will never amount to anything Click Click Click- go back to your trailer park idiot. The clicks resonated with the voice of the adults of my past, all of the “well meaning” teachers in 1st-8th grade, all of the passing soccer moms, and endless faceless department store snobs. She walked away. I snatched the price tag. $19.95. My shoulders fell, my face fell, I fell down into that part of my heart where the tongue clickers are true. I couldn’t even buy my own sister earrings.

I looked at the clerk, she was helping another teenager, one worth her time, find a prom dress. My sister could wear the earrings to prom. Silently I scooped them up, ending the mocking twinkles as I removed the gems from the harsh light, and returning them to the safety of my pocket. I passed the clerk as I headed for the front door, and I clicked my tongue in quiet defiance. Click-I win Click Click-I can be whoever I want to be Click Click Click-you made me your self fulfilling prophecy.

I walked confidently to the edge of the parking lot. To the bus stop. My confidence failed when I showed the driver my crumpled orange bus card. LOW INCOME. It said, in gaudy peacock blue letters. The bus driver scowled and pointed to the seat behind him. He pointed to the mirror, and the door slammed shut. Click-You’re not going anywhere. I walked the last two blocks in silence, watching as the buildings faded. At the end of the street was a faded sign. DEAD END. It reminded me of my imminent failure. Three police cars sat outside my house.

I fingered the earrings. They burned in my pocket. I told them I’d stopped. That I wouldn’t do it anymore. But I had no choice, Beanie needed them. I’ll say they were a gift, from some stranger running out of the store. I walk up the stairs, my heart falling under the pulsating red and blue lights. The living room is wrong. The police are sitting down. My mother is crying. My sister isn’t home. A policeman with a mustache tells me to sit down. I stand. I listen. I shake my head and smile. “Beanie can’t be dead.” I tell the officer, pulling the sparkly jewels out of my pocket “I brought her earrings”

He gently helped me into a chair, and led the other men out of my house. Rocks crunched under their feet as they walked to their cars. Click-She’s gone Click Click-You’re world has fallen apart Click Click Click-She never had a chance.





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star2brite This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 28, 2012 at 6:28 am
I love how descriptive this piece is, even though it's short. You really captured a feeling of hopelessnes in few words. Great writing.
 
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