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Crimson Tears This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The few remaining pills rattle against the thin plastic bottle in my hand. My head aches with a dull, chronic pain. She is upstairs now, taking a shower. She should be all right.

I drag myself into the living room and collapse onto the couch. I am too tired to reach for the television remote, so I lie there, staring at the blank screen. I want to vomit.

Mom called not too long ago. She asked how the night was going and if she would be okay; I told her it was going well. Now I wish I hadn’t. As much as I want my parents to have fun at their gathering, I need someone here with me. I can’t handle my sister alone – not tonight.

I realize that I have dozed lightly and quickly shake off the heavy blanket of sleep that creeps over me. Then I notice something unnerving: silence. She is supposed to be taking a shower .... Why isn’t the water running? I glance at the clock. It’s only 8:37. I’d better check to make sure she’s okay.

I lift my body from the cushions and ascend the stairs. The bathroom door is closed. There is no sound. Nervously I call her name.

No answer.

I call a second time, with more authority. Again I am met with silence. It is deafening.

I push gently on the door, but it will not open more than an inch. She has pulled out the drawer closest to the door, preventing it from yielding to prying eyes. But that small crack is enough to see. Red. Red against her naked flesh, running down her forearm in a graceful arch. It drips to the floor, forming a small pool.

I am afraid. She sees me, waiting, hoping. She is a child, as innocent as the first blossoms of spring, still untouched by the morning dew. She cries. I plead. Still, she will not open the door. She screams.

I run. I run down the stairs, my eyes flooded with fear ... but, surprisingly, they remain dry. I snatch a knife from the kitchen and run back upstairs. The drawer bars my way. I am angry. I stab at the rigid wood and force it back. The door gives way.

The knife clatters to the ground. Her body is racked by heaving sobs. I am not crying. I wrap my arms around her frail body. She is shaking. I comfort her – she relaxes a little. She is a baby, crying for her mother. The blood streaks across her face, mixing with her tears. Her wrists are open, pouring out all the hatred and fear that she has locked inside for so long. They weep more bitterly than she does, two steady streams of crimson tears.

I cannot cry. I wish my parents were home. But they are not. It is only 8:39. So I am the mother. I am the father.

I pray for 10:00 to come. I want to be a child again ...

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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