Watch Your Tongue | Teen Ink

Watch Your Tongue

January 15, 2019
By alyssamurdoch2002 BRONZE, Detroit, Michigan
alyssamurdoch2002 BRONZE, Detroit, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Abandoning myself, I tremble as beads of sweat cascade down my spine, mixing with the water that fell off the tips of golden curls enclosing my neck. The wind stood as a constant reminder of why I was cold, so glacial on such a smoldering summer day. Pulling my knees to my chest, my emotions ran chaotically back and forth in my cluttered consciousness wordlessly. I drove me further down the deep end, into the unknown as I recall everything.   


“Al come on. We have GOT to go,” chided my mother as she flashed in and out of my view. Perched in front of the tv basking in its blue glow, I starred as I saw a man enter the screen in a red sweater with a white undershirt and bright blue jeans. He was kind and funny and sweet. I was wondering who this animated man was—then he told me. “Hey, hey, hey— it’s Fat Albert,” he exclaimed. His friends cheered and a laugh track echoed along with it. What a nice man. Then abruptly, my mother pried me from my spot and we were off on our way, hurling Albert to the back of my thoughts as we drove to our summer stomping grounds: Big Fish Lake.

At our destination, my sister and I went off to play on the shallow shore, meeting two blonde twins who entertained us for many hours. They seemed to be very educated on how to have fun, keeping me on my toes, as they bounded around me in the familiar waters of the lake shore. Splashing and thrashing around consumed my day and in time. My fatigue got the best of me. Reluctantly, I swam away from my friends they carried on without me. Moving towards the sand, I sat in the water and began to think. My imagination and thoughts intermingled in a rhythm together. I wondered about Albert. I wondered who he was-- how he was. Calling upon the distant memory I had of him, I murmured, “Fat Albert”. Remembering nothing, I continued my now relaxing day at the beach.  

From my six, an angry dog-of-a-man growled behind me, “What did you call me?”  Fear dripped down my back, freezing my spine in a cold grip of anxiety. He approached me from the depths of the uncharted lake. What was going on? I scrambled to think. What did I do? Turning around, I could see him. He looked friendly enough, except for the anger that was rolling off him in waves, contaminating the surrounding water. But, there was a look in his eyes, plain as day. Sadness.

Confused, I quickly realized I was running out of the space separating us. So the next best option since running was proving not so simple was to breathe underwater. Trying to escape in the water, I willed my body to evolve. I needed to be a fish and I needed to be a fish now. With just my eyes peering out from the dark water, I prayed my body would cooperate. Yet, my body failed me, as I spluttered to exit out the water that almost made my lungs swimming pools. Running out of time as he closed in on me, I used all the energy I had left after my long day of play and sprinted towards my mother. In the distance, I could decipher my mother frantically asking me “What’s wrong?” but I couldn’t think any more than one thing. Run. My legs burned and strained to drag me away from him.. Emerging from the water on hands and knees, I pushed off the sand like a starting block and hurtled myself to my mother. She was working on the beach, banking on the bank of Big Fish Lake. Sliding into safety, I rid myself from view. Cowering under her bench, the man approached us. Together they had clipped sentences. So curt. He detailed everything I had done. What had I done? He hissed about my wrongdoings, about how cruel I was to him. Then the realization hit me like a bus. I created those glossy eyes I saw just moments ago. My heart jumped towards an uncertain end. I felt sick, Frozen by his words, I didn’t dare to breathe. I feared whatever I was holding back would erupt from me, leaving a hyperventilating body in its’ wake. After I had aged, died and resurrected, he finally left my mother. My world stood silent for a while. I felt his words like the sting following a slap. My mother then plainly spoke, “you can’t play anymore,” quickly dismissing me and falling back into her work. I didn’t ask her “why” now like I usually did; I didn’t need it. Not a scratch on me and I had just gotten a beating.  That's what words do sometimes. My eyes stung, but I didn’t cry. It wasn’t fair to him.

Under this bench, I lay a hollowed shell of myself. I feel drained. My muscles are jello and my mind is catatonic. As my day begins to close, I am still thinking about him, and I hope he can forget this cruel and revealing day. I can see now that the words I once thought little about now leave marks. I can see through his eyes the pain that I gave him. I didn’t mean to but here I am; here we are, reeling in the mess only a couple words created. I’ll feel this now on and forever, a constant reminder of how everything has a consequence. I hope though he will never feel me again; that he never of me like I always will.

The author's comments:

Know the consequences of your actions. 

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.

Smith Summer

Parkland Speaks