I stood up in the high school auditorium. The seat bounced up behind me, creating a smacking noise, but I was too preoccupied with the card in my sweaty palm to notice. The chatter of my classmates filled the room. I would have indulged in their enthusiasm if I wasn’t gulping in air as thick as water. My trembling hand held the weight of my future. I better do it now, I told myself, before I turn around and make a dash for the double doors. When I first saw the cast list for
The dry lump in my throat grew two sizes. I clutched the sides of the bathroom sink, knowing the tears welling up in my reddened eyes would soon fall and disappear into the drain. My hands trembled even when I clenched them into tight fists. I couldn’t control the tears once they started rolling down my angered face. My quivering lips pressed together. The mascara melted off my eyelashes, staining my cheeks. My younger sister waited for me just outside of the door. She could
Shouts entered our bedroom through the crack of the broken door. I pressed my hands over my little sister’s ears, but no matter how tight I held them, the hatred ripping from our mother’s voice found its way in. “Why can’t they ever stop?” Gracie asked me. A few tears spilled from her eyes as I let go. I glared at the door, shaking my head. I couldn’t give her the answer she deserved when I didn’t know it for myself. “It must be the alcohol,” I said, quickly wishing I hadn’t.
Her youthful voice rang in my ears like the sound of a familiar song playing in the distance. I squeezed my eyes hoping to shut out the pleading way in which she called my name, but it only drew closer. The thick air smelled of oncoming rain. Some rocks poked my feet as I tiptoed into the water. Some had the texture of wet slugs of which, if I wasn’t careful, would send me plummeting into the shallow creek. I hurried along, ignoring the pull her faint cry had on my heart. The