Friday, October 26, 2018

Flash Fiction Winner Katie Barnes - 10th grade

"Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change." That's the quote I see
everyday, at five o'clock. Out of all the posters in the room, that's the one I always notice. Maybe it's because it's big and bright, or maybe it's because it's the only one on the wall I face. But I know it's because it reminds me of her. The flowers, the colors, the stripes, all of her favorite things.

Often I find myself looking at the poster instead of looking at my therapist, Mrs. Sammons. It's easier to think of the happy memories I had with my mom before she passed away, instead of talking to someone I barely know about her. Most of the time I can't even answer Mrs. Sammons's questions, not because I don't pay attention to her, but because the questions are too hard to answer. She's tried to get me to open up, and I know it's what my dad wants me to do, but it's just too hard.

"Sydney? Sydney? Are you listening?" Mrs. Sammons asks, smiling my way.

"Uh, yeah, sorry." I whisper, looking down.

"So do you want to talk about how things are going at home, you know, without your mom?" She sympathetically adds.

"No." I answer too quickly.

"Ok, that's fine. You take your time, I know this is hard, but it will get easier. Anyway, it's six now if you think you are done for the day."

"Yes. I'm done." I stand up and leave, not looking back.

I decide not to text my dad to pick me up, because he's going to ask me how it went, like he always does, but today I especially don't feel like dealing with him, not now at least. So, I walk home. It's good to clear my mind. When I get home, I hurry inside, passing by my dad's office and escaping to my room upstairs. I lock the door, which my dad hates me doing, but I really don't care.

I sit on my bed and stare at the wall. Bad choice. The wall has a bulletin board on it with pictures of what I refer to as my "past life," the life before my mom died. After she dies my life completely changed. I quit all my extra curricular activities, cut out my friends, and ignored my dad. Now I lay down and cry. I miss my old life. My sports. My clubs. My friends. My mom.

Five o'clock. I dread it everyday. It comes too soon, even though my day seems to drag on. So I make my way, once again, to Mrs. Sammons's office my 473rd day of therapy. She welcomes me with a smile as always, and ask me about my day, I shrug.

"So, Sydney," she pauses, "do you want to talk about your depression?"

My head bolts up to look her in the eyes, no one has ever called me depressed before. My mom was depressed and I never want to be like her. I never want to make people feel like the way she's made me feel.

"I'm not..." my voice trails off, maybe I am depressed...

"I'm so sorry, Sydney," she hurries to correct herself, "I shouldn't have said that. I apologize."

She knows. And yet she still talks about everything like it never happened and I should be ok. I'm not ok. I don't think I ever will be. I never got to say goodbye to my mom because her life was apparently so bad, she decided to end it. I went to sleep with her there, and woke up with her gone. I'll never forget the police showing up at my house, telling my dad they found my mom's car by an abandoned bridge, a note taped to the wheel. My dad lost it, obviously, but somehow he's managed to get better, and he wants me to as well. It's not working.

"I'm done." I say standing up.

"Sydney, it's only 5:30."

"I don't care, I'm done." I begin walking out of the room.

"Sydney..." She tries again, but I'm already out the door.

I make it home and my dad is standing in the kitchen, obviously waiting for me. He looks upset. I brace myself for whatever comes next.

"Syd, sit down, we need to talk." He pulls out a chair for me, I sit down.

"Sydney I just got a call from Mrs. Sammons. She told me that you're having a hard time opening up. It's been over a year since you started meeting with her, and she says you haven't made much progress. Can you try a little harder to open up?"

"Are you kidding me?" I ask.

"I just think you're not..." He begins.

"I'm sorry mom's death is harder on me than it was on you. I know it's been easy for you to forget about her, but there isn't a second that goes by that I'm not thinking about her!" I yell, tears pouring down my cheeks.


"Don't talk to me," I scream as I run upstairs, lock my door, and curl up on my bed, crying harder than I have in a long time.

My dad doesn't check to make sure I'm up before he goes to work, so I stay home from school. I would've done it anyway, but not seeing him made it easier. I stay in bed for a long time, staring at the ceiling, wanting to cry again but having no tears left. I finally manage to force myself to go downstairs to eat, but I'm not hungry. I try to watch T.V., but I can't pay attention. I'm about ready to go back to bed when the doorbell rings. I ignore it, but it rings three more times, so I decide I should answer it. I open the door and my heart stops.

"Sydney?" My mom smiles at me, but I don't smile back.


Minor formatting. Story appears as submitted by the author, unedited.

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