Tally Marks

By , San Jose, CA
I go home and I stumble on my doorstep. And I fall into my home as my mother whisks by me, her disappointment manifested by her silence. I have done wrong again. I have disappointed again.

I enter my little cube, and the bang of the door drowns me out. I sit there. I must fix myself, I must do better, I must improve, I must prove. And these thoughts race and race through my mind until I can think of nothing else but this marathon of thoughts, and I make a tally mark. One punishment.

I feel alone. Another tally mark.

The emptiness, the wanderings. Where am I going? Another tally mark.

Panicking. I have failed to improve. Tally mark.

Tally marks and tally marks and tally marks

Today I have failed too.

Another tally mark, a new line among the faded, crisp, straight, so harsh on its snow white background. Another red leafless tree among the others in the forest of tally marks.

And the punishment is done, for today, at least. I creep soundlessly and place the push pin in my drawer and sit back, admiring the rows of tally marks on my skin.





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