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I’m Sorry

Where One Wrong Turn Can Lead

Photo: @gbarkz

She stood over me, watching my eyes dance and look all over the room except at her. Her arms crossed and her body still. Towering over me, she stood motionless. I felt imprisoned by her eyes. Numb and expressionless, she bound me. And now, I was numb too. Overcome with the fact that she now knew what I've hid for so long, I suddenly felt emotionless and empty. The agonizing fear that once overcame me, and made me hide from the world was now my reality. I suppose you never really think it's real if the only one who knows it is you. And here she was. And she knew.

She refused to take her eyes off of me. As I sat on the cold, tile kitchen floor, I imagined what she was going through, what thoughts overcame her, and the disappointment that overcame her heart. As her only child, she expected more of me. As her only child, I was the only thing that could disappoint her. And I did. She remained as she was, silent.

The pain in my left arm was starting to take its toll, and I could no longer sit numb on the floor. I propped myself up and stood. For a brief second, I met her gaze. Only a second and I knew what was on her mind.

She was picturing me as a child when she held me, and promised me that she and my father would never let me hurt. They'd keep me in a glass bell, and protect me from the world every parent fears for their child. She's thinking about the time I cried because I failed my spelling test, and the time I sat in the kitchen and listened to her lecture me with a disappointed face as she made my dinner. She's thinking about the time my dad died, and she had to explain what suicide was to a 10-year-old. She's thinking about the time I caught her crying when she was staring at the computer screen, and she explained to me that for that month, I won't be able to go to dance class. She's thinking about me getting a working permit at the age 15, and giving her my first check. She's thinking about all of my graduations and successes. She's thinking about all the times we shared stories and stayed up until 2 AM, and she'd let me skip school the next day because I was tired. She’s thinking about all the boys I used to talk to her about. She’s thinking about all the things I opened up about. She’s thinking about how I used to trust her with secrets I wouldn’t even tell my friends. She’s thinking about the time I came home crying, because I heard that my crush told one of my friends he thought I was ugly. She’s thinking about the day I told her I want to go to law school, because the man who ran over my dog didn’t get arrested. She’s thinking about how that thought of a 10-year-old grew to not tolerate injustice, and how as an adult I vowed to fight against it. And now she's thinking about what wrong turn I took to end up here.

I walked to the pantry where we kept the first aid kit, and got some Neosporin. And just like the release the holes in my forearm gave, the release of the pain felt inexplicably wonderful. But, as soon as it ended, the wounds started to burn again, only worse. The holes in my veins caused no pain but the cuts along them from being too high to hit them right stung. Some were scabbing, some were fresh. My entire arm felt a slight burning, not enough to make me cry, but just enough to make sure I wouldn't forget these for a while. Enough to make sure that even though my sleeves were down, I couldn't hide the mess I was, not even from myself.

She was still looking at me silently. Her long, messy, black hair fell across her face as she remained paralyzed by the shock of catching me shoot up on the floor. She knew I had come off of the high by now but she still couldn’t bare to talk to me, especially with the needle in the trash right next to me. I put the first aid kit back sat on the high stool at the counter and looked at it. I felt her eyes on me.

In the moment she finally spoke, it all went black. How a few, simple words can make your heart sink and make you feel worse than any amount of heroin in your system.

“I’m sorry.”

In that instant, I felt freed from her eyes, which were now filled with tears. I ran to her and collapsed to my knees in front of her. I was no longer in her prison because for the first time since she saw my arms, she finally spoke. I was relieved. I was so overwhelmed with relief that she actually spoke to me. I was her drugged up, disappointment of a daughter. I was the only thing good she thought she had in this world. I was everything she wanted me to be and more. I made her proud. I made her smile at me, and I made her trust me every time I left the house. I convinced her I would make the right choices, that she taught me well. I let her believe I still wanted to go to law school, even when I was whoring myself out for drugs. I made her believe every late night at the library was true. I made her believe I was losing weight because I was studying so much and I let her make me snacks to take to the library I never went to. I was the one who stole money out of her purse when I was too disgusted of myself to prostitute. I was the daughter of hers that only went to lectures to sleep in because I was up all night. I was the A-student at Brown that went down a slope so slippery, that in just two months, I became all of the things she taught me not to be. I disguised my habits with lie after lie. I was the one who used and abused. Her. Her goodness. And I let her believe I was good.

And she was sorry.


[This is a fictional piece in the process of revision.]

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