“I’m the one that has to protect.”
What Used to Be
CHAPTER
1
The Hard Life
Being the older sister...it’s hard. If you’re in my family, in my shoes...it’s even harder. Because I’m the one that has to protect. Dad left, and mom’s been going crazy. She’s been doing drugs, drinking alcohol...and abusing us. My brother’s twelve, going to turn thirteen in a couple of weeks, and the bruises are never ending. He has them all over. It’s his birthday month! And he’s turning thirteen! He’s officially going to be a teen. And he’s such a good kid, he doesn’t deserve bruises on his birthday.
And little Casey. She’s seven years old. Yes, she does get the beatings too. I feel so bad.
I took my phone out from the front pocket of my backpack. I typed in my password and went straight to contacts. I held the phone up to my ear, hoping for an answer. After a long repetitive line of ringing, a voice finally came up. “Hello,” A deep voice said.
“Dad! You—“
“I’m sorry, I’m not available right now, but please leave a message...” The voice continued, cutting me off. My grin faded. Voicemail.
“Finally answered.” My voice cracked as I finished my sentence. I licked my dry lips and pursed them. Tears welled in my eyes. I needed him right now. There was a beep, and I managed to say, “Dad...I really need you. Please call me back.” The I ended it. I hung my head back to stop them from flowing. I bit my lip. I finally took the phone away from my ear and just sat there, cross-legged. I was sitting alone on the soccer field of my high school. It was lunch, and I’d usually come out here alone, avoiding to eat, since I barely have anything to eat, barely any money to buy anything from the lunch lines, considering I don’t want to stand in those long lines. I sighed. Days are long. I hate it.
Everyday I sit here. Thinking about my dad. About how he doesn’t call me back. I tried to call him. But it always goes to voicemail. I wonder how many messages he would have on his line. Or he’s just ignoring me. Maybe today I thought that he might pick up. But no, he wouldn’t respond to his own daughter crying out for his help.
Then I broke. I couldn’t help it. I cried, sobbed, bawled. Then dad left, that mom hurt my siblings and I. I was sad, angry at him for not answering, angry at mom for becoming what she is. Angry at life.
Sad for Matt and Casey. Sad for myself, Amanda Wells, although it seemed selfish of me to feel bad for myself, but I did. I’ve never really been a ‘tough’ girl. More of a crybaby. I’d cry at everything when I was younger, but at least I was happier than I am now. Sometimes I wish Matt and Casey were here, to just sit with me, no mom around, no worries. I wish they went to school with me, since the friendship range I’m in isn’t exactly good.
Although Matt has friends, they’re dispersing from his world. They’re scared, because they always notice the bruises printed on his arms. Casey’s friends have always been her friends, but sometimes I think they might seem a bit nervous when her bruises increase. But they wouldn’t understand, they’re only six and seven years old. If they were Matt’s age, it would be a different story.
I’m sixteen, and junior in high school. I have no friends, whatsoever. Everyone thinks I’m weird and mysterious. I don’t hang out where others hang out, because of my anxiety. The noise level there is so...loud.
I could still the faint voices from the lunch area, where I wasn’t.
But my whimpers—I’m surprised—no one could hear. I was being loud, and most likely, no one cared. I leaned back and lay on the grass, choking on my tears. I wiped my wet face with both hands, letting out shaky breaths every time I took one. I rested a hands over my stomach, over each other. The sky was blue today. Why is it so blue? Is the world sad? Or is it just my world that’s sad? Do I have to be the only one?
No, me and Matt and Casey. And sometimes maybe even dad. Maybe he regretted leaving us, which I doubt it.
But I really, really hope he regretted it.

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