Solutions to Natalie's Problem This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

April 10, 2017
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Solution #1: Play dumb, act like nothing’s wrong. Pretend that the smile your sister gives you when she tells you about her day, isn't as fake as her sparkling acrylic nails she got done at the salon last Tuesday. Pretend that she used to always zone out in the middle of her sentences and that the crying you hear coming from her room at night is nothing more than a soap opera with the volume turned up too loud.

Solution #2: Get angry. Smash the nice China dinnerware that's kept in the glass cabinet in the kitchen, the ones that were passed down from your great grandmother. But don’t destroy the blue plate, don’t look at. Don’t glance at the yellow flowers decorating its border, don’t think about how your family hasn’t touched it since last April. Don’t think about that night, the one where the morning dew hit your cold bare feet when you chased your mother’s car down the street. Don’t think about the way your sister cursed at the sky, don’t think about the first time you saw your dad cry. Don't think about how your sister punched a hole in the upstairs bathroom, how no one was the same. Don't think about the fact that the door to your mother’s room has never been open since that night. The look on your father’s face when he swore he’d never sleep in that room again. How every time you smell the sickly scent of Chanel perfume, it reminds you of her and your stomach starts to turn. Don't think about it. Smash all the rest of the pretentious cups, saucers, and champagne glasses, but not the blue plate with the yellow flowers. It's the one thing you have left of her. Scream until your throat burns, scream until your voice is gone, scream so loud that you hope your sister has no choice but to snap the hell out of it.

Solution #3: Destroy the pills. The pills that make your sister numb, that suck the life right out of her eyes. That make her unrecognizable, that make her hands shake like an earthquake is erupting from inside of her 24/7, every minute of every second of everyday. The pills that make her walk around the house like a zombie, that make her toss and turn all night, that do more harm than good. Get rid of them, for the family. Throw them down the drain, turn the garbage disposal on, and hear the satisfying destruction of the tiny bullets that can ruin a life in one gulp.

Solution #4: Talk to someone. Anyone- a friend, a counselor, a relative. Spill your guts out, it may seem hard at first but you won't be able to keep it inside forever. Talk about the argument that woke you up at the crack of dawn or the the way your father’s hushed frustration haunts every meal or how upset he is that his oldest daughter is not the same person she was the year before. Talk about how your father averts eye contact with your sister and how he complains to her over and over again about how it isn't a real disease. And how he doesn't understand why she just can't fix it. Fix it, as if it was as simple as replacing the engine of a car or a virus on your computer. Talk about how you got a postcard from your mother saying she was sorry last July. “GREETINGS FROM FLORIDA! THE LAND OF SUNSHINE!” was sprawled across the middle in big corny letters, how angry the smiling face on the sun in the corner made you feel, like it was mocking you. The familiar chicken scratch handwriting on the back looked rushed and sloppy, like it was done at the last minute. Talk about how your mother wrote that she had to go, to be truly happy. How that made you burst. And how your sister ripped it up until it looked like confetti and sobbed until the skin around her eyes looked sunburnt. Talk about it all.

Solution #5: Wait until the day your sister won't be able to get out of bed anymore. Wait until it really hits her, when her brain can’t take it anymore, when the droplets of pain in her heart become a sea. When you can feel your sister’s ribs when you hug her, when she’s so small and skinny that she looks like she lost another person, when her body can’t take another bite. When the gray clouds hanging in her mind finally start to storm, wait until it's all over.

Solution #6: Screw it all. Take her hand, look into her soft blue eyes and tell her that everything's going to be okay, that you’ll be there for her as she always was for you. Like the time she stayed up all night with you when Tommy Wilson broke up with you in the sixth grade over a phone call. Be there for her and reassure her. Let the tears come and sob into each other's arms, taste the salt in your mouth and kiss her on her forehead. Let her become the child of the family for once. Realize that both of you can get through this because it's too early to give up now. It will take time, but love always has the ability to force the gray clouds away.

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PhotoGirl29 said...
Apr. 21 at 9:24 am
This was a wonderful story, keep it up!:)
little_red_balloon.girlThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 18 at 9:28 pm
I'm all about critique, but there is nothing to be said, except AMAZING! Keep writing and be the voice!!!
MissJadeThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 18 at 11:37 am
Beautifully done.
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