In the Wake | Teen Ink

In the Wake

April 19, 2021
By Mist SILVER, Anchorage, Alaska
Mist SILVER, Anchorage, Alaska
7 articles 2 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"For you, I would."

School ends.

You walk back home, exhausted.

Enter through the front door 

of the place you’re supposed to call home,

down the hallway

to your room.

Deliberately avoid

the cracked mirror

propped up 

on your nightstand.

Take off your backpack smudged with dirt

after you enter

and set it on the creaking chair

next to the broken desk.

Relief for your shoulders.

You sigh.

Turn away from your room and

you exit,

shoes silent on the muddy carpet floor,

door creaking,

slanted pictures on the stained walls staring as you walk

to the living room.


No angry family members,

relief for your emotional fatigue.

You sigh.

Trudge past the 

unfinished cans of Coke on the floor,

dirty paper plates smeared with the 

remains of microwave pizza,

thick layers of dog hair on the sofa,

and crumbled pages of late homework.

You stand in front of

the fridge. Hoping.

Then you open it,

it’s cold and empty

but it’s bright,

with a single box

of food 

on the shelf.

So much better than nothing.

Relief for your hunger.

You sigh.

Take out the hot microwaved burrito

moments later,

hold it carefully 

like a lifeline 

in your hands

because there are no paper plates left.

Shuffle to the couch,

move unpaid bills and 

dog hairs and

plates and

coke cans and


unwashed clothes 

out of the way

so you can 


sit on the sofa.

Relief for your legs.

You sigh.

Find the remote.

Push the power.

Turn on the TV.

And switch the channel

to your favorite show.

You eat while you watch.

And you, 



The formulaic episodes,

the rhythmic timing of jokes,

so familiar.

The taste of bland burrito,

the laugh tracks and

dramatic irony,

So familiar.


Three hours later

you are in your room again,


pretending to do homework


down the hall

in the living room

is yelling. Throwing. Fighting.

So loud it’s

impossible to ignore.

That night 

like all the other nights


whisper to yourself,

hug yourself,

think to yourself,

I’ll be okay.

That night

like all the other nights


put yourself to bed

like your parents never did.

That night


look at the last of sun

falling below the horizon

and you smile,

one more time,

knowing that

at least I made it through today.

You sigh.

And that night

you close your eyes

as if that could drown out the yelling 

beyond your bedroom door.

The day ends.

You drift off to sleep, exhausted.

The author's comments:

Even in the face of obstacles we can’t control, we have the power to endure and keep going. That’s what matters most.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.