Leaning on Each Other This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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The breeze gently stirred the white curtains, filling my nose with the pungent aroma of a late summer afternoon.

Kate and I sat side-by-side leaning against my parent's bed, watching TV and occasionally talking. The pauses in our silence were not filled with tension, rather a comfortable silence that happens with good friends.

A commercial that we both hated came on, so the silence was broken by our jokes and groans as we proceeded to make fun of the cartoon dancing across the screen. As the advertisement was ending, the shrill ring of the telephone quieted us momentarily. I lunged for it.

Kate turned her attention back to the television, but soon focused it on me as my voice became less audible and my shoulders slumped forward.

I gripped the phone tightly, as if it were the one thing that would keep me from breaking down. My knuckles turned white. My breathing was shallow and came out in little gasps as I tried desperately to consume the oxygen I had lost from holding my breath.

"Me, too," I murmured one last time before placing the phone in its cradle.

I felt Katie's arm tentatively touch my shoulder. I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, trying to get control and not let the tears so close to the surface overtake me.

Kate walked so we were face to face and embraced me. I clung to her for support as the tears were unleashed. We stood that way for five minutes before she gently stepped back to look at me.

"What happened?" Although her voice was soft, it boomed in the silence.

"My dad was admitted to the hospital. They don't know exactly what's wrong, but it has to do with his heart." My voice was shaking, but I made no effort to steady it.

By some unspoken understanding, we sat back down to watch TV, leaning against each other instead of the bed for support. The shadows of the evening no longer seemed refreshing; they spoke of dark things hiding and waiting to be released.

I moved closer to Katie, grateful for her presence on such a cold summer's day.

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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