What I Lost This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   The slamming of a pickup door interrupted the late wintersilence. A scruffy man walked away from a black Chevrolet diesel toward theentrance of the store. The bells at the top of the door sounded as he steppedinside, approaching the counter. The clerk pulled a bottle from the shelf behindthe counter, wrapped it in a small brown bag and took the man's money. He grabbedit and shuffled out the door back to his pickup. The silence of the crisp, coldair was broken again as the diesel roared off towardhome.

*        *         *
"Hey, Dad, are you going to come to my awards assemblytonight?" I eagerly asked my father.

"I have to work latetonight. I doubt I'll be able to make it on time, I am just too busy rightnow," my father replied. I stood in the kitchen, a few feet from him. Mymind grappled with the idea that he would be too busy working late. He was alsotoo busy to attend my horse shows, softball games and sixteenth birthday party.He always used the same excuse. Why had I even bothered to ask? I knew I would berejected. There was always a slight hope that tonight would be different.

"I have to get back to work," my father interrupted the loudsilence. "Don't forget to smile when your name is called." I noddedpainfully.

As my mother and I arrived at school, two friends greeted me.My mother headed off toward the gym, the camera dangling from her wrist.

"Jill, meet my dad. Dad, this is my friend Jill," my friend'svoice reverberated. I shook the hand of a tall man.

"Dad, if youwant a good seat, you should probably get to the gym," Jill prodded him. Heleaned over, hugged his daughter and disappeared down the hallway. I was jealousof this moment I had just witnessed.

"How embarrassing. He didn'thave to hug me in front of everyone," my friend whispered. Why was sheembarrassed? At least her father had shown up.

In the gym I sat in arock-hard blue chair in the middle of everyone. Camera flashes lit the room androaring applause filled the air as students accepted their awards. My name wasfinally called, along with three others. I followed my classmates to the stage.When I extended my hand to shake the teacher's, a giant smile lit up her face.Accepting the award, I walked back to my seat. The blinding flash from mymother's camera stung my eyes, and I frowned, knowing my dad wasn't there. Iflopped back down into the blue chair.

When the car came to a halt inthe driveway, I got out slowly slamming the door. I shuffled across the walkway,peered into the garage and saw my father's pickup. Walking to the house, I toldmy-self that he would not be drunk, that he had just left work early. But thestrong smell of alcohol hit me as soon as I stepped inside, and I could feel mytears building. I followed the sound of his drunken slurs and saw him lying onthe couch cursing my family. Why did my father lie to me? I threw my award on thefloor, walked to my bedroom, and slammed the door.

Tears steamed downmy face. I looked around my room; walls covered with pictures of horses. Igrabbed a silver frame and looked at my reflection in it as the tears flowed.Locked behind the glass was a picture of my best friend, a tall brown horse namedFlame. I hugged the frame as I visualized riding across an open field. Myfather's drunken slurs interrupted my thoughts. I listened to him mumbling, andwondered if I would ever be more important than his whiskey bottle.




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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