the hardest thing

on the screen, there is gunfire and explosions, and daring men run around, trying to save the world one day more. My brothers are glued to the screen, their faces ghostly white from the television's aura, and they huddle together under the blanket like excited and nervous puppies. I feel nervous too, but for a different reason.

I understand the subtle look my parents gave each other before they left the house. I understand why they told me to turn on the mind-sucking machine that usually lays dormant in our home. I heard their whispers, the hurried phone calls, the brushed away sobs. The distractions don't have any sway over me, and I know it all.

it's lonely to be the only one with the weight of a secret pressing on your shoulders.

outside, rain rattles down the drainpipes, and the sky is dark from storm clouds. If it was clear, I would go out and look up at the full moon and maybe that would relieve my racing thoughts, but the rain merely traps everything, making it hard for me to breathe.

a tear trickles down the side of my cheek. Only one, I tell myself. Only one, or you lose.

the boys laugh hollowly at something. The sound gives me chills. I want to tell them; I want to give them some encouragement, and in so doing, encourage myself, but every time I open my mouth, my mother's weary eyes flash before me. And then I lose my courage.

another tear falls.

there's a crash of lighting, and my phone buzzes simultaneously. I jump to see who the text is from, praying it's my mother or my father--but no, it's from my best friend: the only one besides me who knows what's happening on this terribly dark night, why my parents had to rush off to the hospital late in the night.

I wish I could be with you right now...

I try to smile and fail miserably. I wish you were here could make me laugh and see the good in this. Right now, with three hours of driving between us...smiling isn't going to happen. 

I close my eyes against the oncoming flood and take a deep breath. You can't lose this time, girl. You've got to stay strong.

it hurts to stay strong. It hurts to win.

these days, all I want is to have the ability to lay down and lose, just for once.

but I know there's no way in heaven or on earth that that will ever happen.


  1. .....the thing is, I can't tell if this is a story or if this is.....real??

    1. it's sort of a mix of both...I rewrote something that happened to me late this summer, and this is what came from it.


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