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

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   My eyes absorb everything through clouded glass. My brother's voice sifts throughthe jabber of the TV, which had been on all night.

"Jessi? Jessi!Come on, wake up! You're supposed to watch me!" Daniel calls. I'm in theliving room again, on the couch. Everything has fallen into focus and directly infront of me is the Superman emblem, attached to a blue t-shirt, in turn attachedto my blond brother. Daniel is five years old and the most strikingly energeticthing I've ever seen. He darts into the kitchen and I stumble after him, thatsticky sleep taste in my mouth. Again my eyes adjust.

The summer sunbrightens the kitchen. Judging from the heat, it's around ten in the morning. Iask Dan what he wants for breakfast, and he pleads, "Hot chocolate! Jessi,can I have hot chocolate?" He really shouldn't have chocolate in themorning, but what's the point of saying no? It might be a while beforeMum returns from the cardiologist.

The water's boiling and thekettle's screeching. It's an old copper kettle Dad used to love. He has a newchrome one now. Oh, and he's got a new house to go with it. Daniel wriggles inhis chair, waiting for his hot chocolate to cool. The prospect of patience driveshim into the living room. I don't have the energy to chase him. I slump into myseat at the round table and sip at my own boiling chocolate. I feel it run slickdown my throat. Is Mum all right?

***

In the winter of 1992 thesnow came joyfully up to my six-year-old knees. It was one of those days whenyou've been rolling in the snow so long that you're completely frozen, so coldthat your skin is burning. My sister and I had been slaving over an igloo thewhole day. I even showed her how to dig like a dog in the snow, with my pencillegs open and my scrawny arms flying. The sunset had crept down on us and dusksettled over the harbor. We scrambled three flights up to the apartment above ourgrandmother's home.

My snowsuit was wet from the day's adventures andclung to my thawing body. While I stood panting at the top of the stairs, Mum rana bath for us. As the bubbles were rising she stripped off our snow armor. Sheushered our shivering bodies into the hot bath, and after half an hour of pirateships and mermaids, the cold finally left our toes. Mum rubbed me down and Isprinted into her bedroom, clad in footsie pajamas. I discovered Dad reading inbed under their down comforter and jumped up on the bed in delight and attempted,for the hundredth time, to discover Dad's ticklish spot, the absence of which wasthe major mystery in my life.

Eliminating my chances at success, Mumcalled me back to the kitchen. "I've got hot chocolate, girls!" shesang in her funny falsetto. My excitement propelled me off the bed and I made amad dash for the kitchen. I slipped across the floor and eagerly took my place atthe round table. My hot chocolate was placed in front of me. I peered over therim. In this moment my day had been fulfilled, completed in the best possibleway. Floating gently above the creamy chocolate was the delight of all delights,the créme de la créme: Mum had given memarshmallows.

***

"Daniel, get back in here. Your chocolatewon't be hot for long" comes my imploring call from the kitchen. Boundingback into the room, he stands next to the table.

He leans over and triesto sip at the chocolate. His mouth is about the height of the table, making thisincreasingly difficult. The mug tips precariously at the edge. The rim is inlimbo, threatening to miss my brother's gaping mouth.

"Sit downwhile you drink," is my all-too-obvious solution. Climbing haphazardly intothe chair, he sits on the edge, teetering above the linoleum floor. The chocolateis cold when it reaches my lips. I seem to have forgotten the marshmallows.




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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