54 pearls around the neck
An Essay
Author: anonymous teenager, 14 years old, Chile, 2012
Illustration: Tim Gallo
I promise it’s not you; it’s your father.
Take care
I stood there in silence, I couldn’t breathe, and I felt a fire in my chest, flames licking the inside of my
ribs trying to burn out my whole body. My mom was my life; she was the only one that kept me going.
I could relate to her, we were in this together, as corny as that sounds. I ran to the bathroom, I grabbed
on to the porcelain toilet and held myself there. With all my strength I held on, and then the memories
came. The bad memories I had of this family, they streamed through my head like a black and white old
horror movie. I stood up and went over to the medicine counter fishing for all the tablets I could find.
All I wanted was to end the rambling of those thoughts, but as I swallowed each pill the memories got
more vivid, they came faster. I took more, more trying to make them disappear and waited, panting.
Time. Time.
The agony came at an extreme rate, the pain spread from my head and across my body like a
Californian forest fire.
A fire that would never be put out. I cried out in anguish.
I slowly crawled out of my bathroom and over to my dresser. I opened the drawer and pulled out the
old jewelry box that my dad had given me, but before I could open it, I could feel my limbs getting
weak and the pain was disappearing. It felt as if my body was drifting away. I dropped the box: it fell
and cracked open in little pieces and all that was left was that picture, not a memory but a distant,
hopeless dream. Looking at the box shattered I finally realized that we were never really a family, just
three people living together. We were all caught up, tangled in our problems, becoming so irrational,
we blamed it on each other but we never really understood the pain we were inflicting to each other,
annihilating each other. That same pain I finally thought how to end.
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