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Eight Feet Under
The sun rises and the birds chirp as the summer breeze rustles the tree outside of my window. As I wake up, a murky blue light fills my room, and reflects off of my walls as if I’m underwater. I go to get up and open my blue curtains when I realize that my curtains are, in fact, blue and the sun is actually its regular color. I am not underwater. On this particular morning, I want to set fire to every single happy thing in this house: every memory, every photograph with their fake smiles. And I want to strike the match with a demented grin twisting across my face.
Rolling out of bed, I realize that I am the only one awake. I am pleased with this. Now I can finally be alone with my thoughts in my room, but more importantly, in my closet. My sanctuary is my closet, I can hide in the complete darkness surrounding me. Sitting in the dark sometimes makes me forget whether my eyes are open or if they are shut. Total darkness enfolds me. I can finally calm my mind and think. A thick cloud of silence presses in on me. Suddenly, I am suffocating in my own sanctuary.
The sound of an alarm going off down the hall catches my attention; I hear my father rise, not knowing about current state of being awake. I look at my clock, 8:30 a.m., it reads. This is early for me in the middle of summer. I stop for a moment as I consider leaving my closet to confide in Daddy Dearest about my suddenly angry thoughts. The sounds of his shower starting turning on change my mind. I get dressed and head down stairs to eat breakfast.
I find, shockingly, that I am not hungry.
I eat anyways, knowing I will regret not eating in a few hours. My dad comes down stairs a few minutes later, surprised that I am awake. He sadly attempts a conversation.
“You’re up early,” he says, as he searches the cabinets for something to eat.
“Are you okay?” he asks me, giving up on finding food.
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Alright, I’ll be back later.” He grabs his keys and leaves to find food or just get out of the house. I’d feel bad for him if he wouldn’t have brought this on himself.
I decide to throw on my bathing suit and wake up my brother and sister. “Get up, we’re going to the Trails,” I tell them as I carelessly throw sunscreen, contact solution and other things I’ll need for the day in my bag as my siblings dress. I walk through my messy room, searching for my key. My room is really unclean. I should clean my room, I tell myself. My sister’s however, is spotless, even down to the swept hardwood. I glance into her room only to become depressed that I’m such a slob.
I find my phone and dial my best friend’s number as if it is second nature. “Emily,” I say as she groggily answers, “come on, we’re going to the Trails, meet us there.” She agrees and I hear her starting get up. I hang up.
I dial my mother’s cell phone number, knowing she is at work already. No answer. I decide to call her work number. She answers like a trained telemarketer, I tell her we are off to swim. She nonchalantly blows me off, saying, “okay.” I hang up and we leave.
My dad drives by as we walk to the trails, he knows where we’re headed. “Be home by lunch, okay?” I nod as my answer, knowing we’ll come home when my mom gets off just to escape being near him.
Silence. Water presses against my ears. I open my eyes, underwater blue. Eight feet under is where I find my sanity.
I know it will be over, this thing they call a “marriage.” It hasn’t really worked from the beginning. I pray every night I’ll end up differently. I know that we will leave before August is over, we being my mom, my sister and me. Dominique and I won’t cry, we have no more tears. Even DaVante knows.
My half-brother has had to put up with my mother’s drama for years, even when it wasn’t his fault. Now he keeps speaking to my mother in a tone that says, I’m sorry, just don’t take my sisters.
We are a trinity.
Apart we are nothing more than ourselves. Yet, together we laugh as the true joy of youth fills our spirits. We brighten days, while rooms laugh at our nonsense. There is a sunny warmth to it all. Being alone for hours is never a bore. We’re the craziest kids I know.
I need air.
I resurface and my silence is broken.