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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

He was gone. All the hardships he put me through. All the struggles he forced me to face. All the taunting words he shoved down my throat. They were all gone.

A childish race to the finish line. With no enjoyment. An unending marathon. With no prize. A universal relay. With no opponent. My final destination was marked by a mysterious dungeon door. The door of no return. “Excuse me. Can you move please? I need to get through!” I let the tears flow. Didn’t bother hiding them as I maneuvered through the elementary school hallway. Didn’t bother wiping them away as I whipped past the population. Didn’t bother addressing the harsh looks from people I’ve known for years. It didn’t matter, nothing did. Like a trail of bread crumbs, the specks of crimson red along the floor guided me. I was so close, almost touching the door handle. But I was so far away, in another world entirely.

One hit on the chest. Two hits. Three. It wasn’t working. Four presses on the chest. Five presses. Six. I could see his life span drop to zero. His spirit exiting the decaying carcass. Suddenly, I was unable to stand upright. The weight of all my wrong-doings to him had been released on top of me. I crumbled into a useless heap, waterfalls of tears screaming down my face. The blood was pounding against my eardrums, as if they were actual instruments. I was terrified it would cause my head to explode from the pressure. The already muffled sounds of the creatures around me grew even fainter as the intensity and volume increased. Despite all the commotion, I could still make out the inaudible cough that escaped the young boy before me.

My hand latched onto the handle. Nobody would even think about getting in before I did. Bracing myself for what mysteries lied past the castle drawbridge, I turned the handle. The door creaked open slower than a slug until it made contact with the wall behind it. A volcano greeted me inside. My mother sat on the floor with him in her lap. She was strong enough to cry too. She was swaying and hugging my brother and weeping and moaning as if she was part of some creepy tribal ritual. And I just stood there. Door open with welcoming arms, curious eyes peeking in, mouth gaping wide. I was unable to muster a single sentence, not even a single word, not even a single letter. The blood gushed like rapids out of my dear little brother’s face. Right in the dead center of his forehead.

A river of pool water escaped from the mouth of the figure on the ground. Still unconscious, but breathing. We engaged in a large group hug. You would have thought we had just won the Super Bowl or something. We paraded back into the rental house, all of us soaked, and not from the pool water. “Is he going to be okay mom?” “He’ll be fine Serena.” “Are we still going to Epcot tomorrow?” “I’m not sure.” “Are we going to have dinner soon?” “Yes, Serena, we’ll start making it in a minute.” “Mom, can we order pizza?” “You’ll have to make everyone agree.” “Mom, what do you want on your pizza?” “Cheese only, please.” “Where are we going to get it from?” “I don’t know.” “I’m tired, can I just go to bed now?” “Of course you can.” “Hey mom,” “Yes?” “If Kaleb wakes up, tell him I love him.” “Of course.”

”Thank God you’re finally here Serena.” Surprisingly, it didn’t come from the woman writhing on the floor, but the one perched behind the desk. My head spun as I witnessed the corralling of my mother and brother. They were leaving me. No, they were being taken away from me. I was reluctantly herded into the backseat of some other person’s car. Despite the fact that we were heading in completely opposite directions, my mind was stuck with my family the entire car trip home. A doctor’s office across town. The sterile environment. A helpless puppy in captivity. Who knows what they would do to my precious brother there? A second turned into a minute. A minute into an hour. An hour into an eternity. Suddenly, I heard the turning of a doorknob. My pilgrimage had ended victoriously. “Hey Serena look! I got 5 blue stitches in my head!” I desperately wanted to just embrace him right then and there, but I resisted the urge. “Look at them Serena! They are light blue. I got to pick the color myself!” The look on my face was undoubtedly mirrored on my mom’s. The look of relief. The look of undying love.




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