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Five White Pills

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Nobody noticed when she had left. No, nobody really cared, she added. She had left a note saying she was going to get the stupid 39¢ bananas from Meijer, and that was partially true. She was going to stop by Meijer.
It was as cold and tight as a Popsicle out there, somewhere between fall and winter, that slushy in-between that nobody liked. There were those gross-looking brown residues of leaf sticking to her converse, and she tried shaking them off. They stayed.
The trees above her formed a net. They looked like thorns, skeletal thorns, frozen in its valiant struggle with the seasons. Not like she cared.
She flipped on her hood. She hated the cold.
Houses blurred together, and she passed onto Washington. It was a muggy day in the middle of a muggy month, where a few weird convertibles were cruising by and the occasional biker huffing and sweating. The sky had given up and gone back to scratch, the blankest and boring-est white canvas that blanketed the sky. And they weren’t even clouds.
She was cutting school, and she knew it. She was pretending to be her 21-year-old sister Gracie buying stupid 39¢ bananas and she was walking across a slippery street like it was nothing. Her phone was on the drawer of her bedroom, and there was her diary laid out in the open on her pillow. Oh, everything was perfectly set up, a trap deliciously spread out for her brothers and sisters. And she had the pieces in her pocket.
Brian had just broken up with her, and she was going to make him regret everything he had texted her. She was going to make everyone’s eyes swivel round to everyone’s golden b-ball boy, and dump him into the dangerous ditch of accusations and inspections. And he would deserve every last prod and poke he got from her last, splendidly played out act.
Kylie and Minnie were going to cry their hearts out when they saw the whole thing on the news, and they would drool their eyes on her, finally, for once and for all. Their pink candy-cane hearts would snap into little pieces, and they would regret and feel and remember their best friend who had never done anything but stick up for them. Oh, they would read her diary and sniffle and wail when they realized just what they had done, and how she had heard, and all those years gone to broken-up waste crying in the bathroom.
Mom would stop yelling. In fact, that lipstick-rimmed mouth would be shut forever. She was going to wipe out that desperate look out of those small brown eyes, and slap her with the knowing that it’s over, you failed, now you’re daughter’s never coming back, and you’re going to live with it. Oh, her mom had failed.
Gracie, and Bertie, and Caleb and Nancy were going to be shell-shocked, numb. And she loved it, imagining the looks on their faces, reading about all those years of neglect stained into that old notebook. How she knew about what Caleb’s gang had done when he wasn’t looking, Bertie and Nancy always winning everything and smiling for everything until there was nothing left but dust, Gracie’s boyfriend swearing at her music. All those words, all that hate, scribbled during 11 o’clock school nights when there was no shoulder to cry on and no one to say sorry. They were going to listen. They were going to hear.
It was going to be her beloved D-Day, where everything blew up in their faces.
She was getting very close to Meijer. Carts rumbled by as people wheezed at carts, cursing as the wheels slipped into potholes and their boxed 36” HD TV came tumbling out. Workers in orange yelled to workers in green. Fat kids with fat dads. Signs with cheesy slogans and picturesque produce stained with mud and rust, everything so right and grocery-like she wanted to hug everything.
The doors whooshed past her as she walked in, proudly. Potatoes on sale, those stupid 39¢ bananas in the left aisle, and turkeys for before the Thanksgiving rush hit. Oh, nothing new at all. She kept on walking.
Yes, here was the bench in front of the cashiers, where sleep-deprived moms waited for their kids to stop riding those plastic horses. There was no one there but an old geezer with an extraordinarily hooked nose.
She emptied out her pockets. There was the note, which said “Please call… (and then it listed her mom’s phone number).” An old Twix wrapper, and then the pills.
Her lovely, lovely pills. Small, white pieces with indentations set in the middle.
Oh, her lifesavers.
She popped them out of their capsule, and shook them into her hand. Five of them, fresh from the drugstore. She was ready.
Ready to let go, shake her hands from the messy web called her life, kick away her useless family and go for the freefall. She was going to make a mark, make people look at her without turning up their nose, going to stomp on their toes and slide the rug from under their feet. All eyes on her.
“What are you doing?” the old man asked.
She was so startled she almost dropped the pills. She whipped around to gawk at the old lump of meat that had just talked to her.
What was she doing? She was holding her own life in her hands. Her sweaty palms encased the five bits of poison that would make everyone suffer. Oh, but not her. She was going to be somewhere high above them, high and haughty and wicked. She was going to be sailing in the mysterious cloud nine, tasting victory, proud and happy and going to make everyone of them REGRET.
And she was also going to…die.
Well, she—she was, but wasn’t, because it wouldn’t feel like it, right? Because it was the triumph that counted, the, the, doing that made the difference. She wasn’t going to die for nothing. Or…or was she?
Yeah. She actually was. She was choosing selfish. She was going to hurt everyone, to spend her own life to get a cheap last laugh in their face.
That wasn’t right.
She was only seventeen, and she still had years to live. Memories to make. She was going to really fall in love, screw that dupe Brian. She was going to make better friends. Kylie and Minnie weren’t the only people in the whole high school. Her mom…and her sisters…brothers…maybe she needed to talk with them.
And that weight, those dead feelings of NO’s and disgust, anguish and agony all squeezed into one teenage girl, disappeared.
She was free.
“I’m going to go home,” she told the old man. He stared at her, then the pills.
Morgan Anne Perish sprinkled the white pieces onto the greasy tile, and then ground each of them to nothing with her converse. She carefully tore up the note, and crumpled the bits into one cohesive crumble. Then she put it in her pocket.
And she went home.



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