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

   I remember that day so clearly

The only clear memory I have

Of the four of us together

Just like an all-American family

Only we knew we really weren't.

My mom was crying in her bedroom.

Rocky and I chased each other to get

To her, trying to be the first to help.

Then I see you at the end of the hall

Angry about yet another thing, leaning against the wall,

Then you disappear.

That hallway seemed so long

Now I know how short it really was.

That hallway looked so long,

As long as the time I had to wait for you

And wait for you again.

The Cabbage Patch Doll Gram bought

me was my baby but I wanted to be the baby.

Your baby, your baby Kadiddle again.

When you're little, everything looks

So big: McDonald's counters, parents,

And that one hallway that led from the

Kitchen to the bedrooms that now seems

Like the biggest symbol of

Who you were to me.

When you came for me those five o'clock Fridays

The password was always the same

"Didyoumissme or whydon'tyoucall"

And there was no hallway in your new place

where I could look at you, safe, from my young child's face.

That hallway was as short as the time

we had together, one time after only an hour,

Storming out of Gram's because you

Thought we didn't miss you enough.

The game is over. I'm too old to play.

The six-year-old me has grown away.

When you do come for me again

It will be too late.

Too late to play

Those guilt games anymore

I loved you, I love you still

I wanted to play, but not a game no one could win

That long, long hallway was not so long at all.

Not as long as the distance of that long and damaging fall.

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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