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It's Just a Movie, Mom.

you stand in your kitchen
both feet on the ground
sweat beading
from every pore
on the palms of your hands
you stare at her hazel irises
with your matching ones
trying to erase
every trace of deceit
from your gaze
with a shallow breath
blocked by the lump
heaving in your throat
you barely utter,
"it's just a movie, mom."

your fingernails
trace your left thumb again
and again
and again
as your right hand
clasps your bag shut
and you pray
that she won't smell
the sour liquid
living inside the bottle
wrapped up
in your favorite pajamas
not meeting her gaze
you unbuckle your seatbelt
you feel the tips of her fingers wearily grasp yours
her voice cracks
as she almost-whispers
"be good, sweetheart,"
you insist
a beat too quickly,
"it's just a movie, mom."

your friend squeals
as you step into their empty house
"she bought it!"
throughout the group of people surrounding you
you hesitate, for a moment
before letting your teeth show
in a moment
that you pretend to celebrate
doubts cloud your thoughts
erased only by the fears that follow
but somehow
amongst your jumbled thoughts
like a banner
your brain recites the falsity
until the words become dry
"it's just a movie, mom."

you sit in a circle
wearing a shirt that's too tight
and every inch of your face
to look like someone
that merely resembles you
you summon the courage
to look at the empty sea
of familiar faces
your eyes wander
to meet another pair
that hide a matching
twinge of regret
searching, distracted
you jump in your skin
when the cold glass bottle
is pushed into your lap
your fingers graze

the metal cap

twisting it open
fast enough
that your hesitation
hides beneath confidence
that is as real
as the bronzed hue
that covers your skin
and the chilled
river of liquid
that scratches
at the surface of your inhibitions
dissolves the enamel
from your molars
and simmers
down the back of your throat
with it
washes away
the last trace of your promise,
"it's just a movie, mom."

you watch
as the hands on the clock
go tick, tock
tick, tock
until the ticking
rings in the back of your ears
and you can barely make out
the outline
of the black little hands
you force yourself
to put one foot in front of the other
but your toes curl
inside of the shoes
that pinch your heels
with their cheap pink leather
you unwrap
the fingers
of boys you've never met
from the bottom of your back
and you stumble
into the room
at the end of the hallway
the fluorescent lightbulb
ever so slightly
as the rusty pipes
onto the floor next to you
drip, drop
drip, drop
your ears replay the pattern
as your eyelids become heavy
only to be jerked awake
as your back, pressed against the door
heaves forward
into your knees
your fingers stumble
across the fasteners on your shoes
you thrust them
from the bottom of your heels
in one motion
as your fingertips fumble
reaching for the doorknob
pushing yourself
in dazed steps
to the nearest bathroom
you collapse
onto the floor
just fast enough
to watch
as your promise
before your very own eyes
floating along
the porcelain rim
in the water
as pure as your conscience
those same
hazel eyes
wander around
the dingy
tile floor
and they meet someone else's
in the cracked mirror
in front of you
you tilt your head
and rub
the dried mascara
from the corners of your eyelids
before you realize
that the reflection in the glass

belongs to you
as the nape of your neck
rests against
the wall
separating you
from the people
that promised
"this will be fun!"
you feel the muscles in your body

begin to dance once again
you crane your neck
with your last strain
of consciousness
a whisper escapes
from your swollen lips
still painted
with 99-cent lipstick
"I wish this was just a movie, mom."
it was
a promise
meant to protect you
if only
had kept it.

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