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

Soft beige and brown walls,
The reticent chirping of birds outside,
A floral pattern lines the ceiling,
A dim light shines over our heads.
Another day at Grandma Brenda's house
“Nothing, we're okay,
go back upstairs,”
They'd say when Jordyn and I would
come downstairs
A dark green carpet
Riddled with dirt and lint.
Impossible to vacuum.
The yelling
Echoing off the walls.
Their tired faces
Sighing in frustration,
They rub their temples.

We sit awkwardly
Facing each other.
Mom and Dad on the couch across from us,
Nothing between us but the dark brown
coffee table,
Permanently marked with scratches
And spots from spills.
I'd clutch my pillow,
silently crying my eyes out at night.
They didn't love each other anymore.
“Girls,”
Mom flickers her eyes
To Jordyn and me.
“I know Daddy and I were supposed to
stay together
and love each other
forever
but things
just didn't work out”
The old house.
A three- to nine-foot-deep pool.
Always fearful of diving off the deep end,
We'd light tiki lamps around the edge
On cool summer nights.
Chocolate stains on the stairs
From Easter.
The wooden floorboards
Cold to the touch if you had no socks on,
Fun to sock-skate on if you did.
Picnics in the back of Mom's truck,
Sitting in the garage watching the clouds
Glide across the baby blue sky.
Wake up to the sound of Dad mowing
the lawn
The fragrance of grass clinging to him
When he would come inside the house
For a drink.
Scrape our knees from bike falls,
Patch them up with Dora the Explorer
Band-Aids.
Chase fireflies,
Pluck at weeds,
Let ladybugs crawl up our arms.
“Girls?”
I hear the cracking in her voice,
Her eyes holding our eyes,
Dad's eyes on us,
Though a million miles away.
We painted a tree in our playroom,
Our very own hands,
Vibrant shades of
Orange,
Red,
Brown,
Green.
“Daddy and I are getting –”
A hesitant deep breath,
The air becomes still,
The chirping quiets down,
The room is coated with silence.
It is every kid's worst nightmare.
A divorce.
Tears slide down my cheeks,
“We just want you guys to stay together
so we can be a family,”
I say.
That's when we all start crying.

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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