Coming of Age Teens & Young Adult Drama

Out with the old and in with the new. That’s what everyone always says. That’s what they might expect you to always say too. 

Expectations are nothing more than what people’s standards of what or who you should be. You end up doing and liking things based on what they do or like, until it becomes a bare necessity,  like how you crave for water or air.  You have to get used to early morning caramel creme lattes with pumpkin spice, even though the scent makes you sneeze, because your best friend, Ione, adores them. Every morning you have to obsess over which glitter embellishment-- either a bowtie or a headband-- to wear over your banal uniform, though you would rather choose none of them, because you’ve always been told that no matter what, you have to look presentable yet unattainable. You  have to face the reality that that is and always will be your normal.

You climb down the lavish wooden staircase in the family manor. As your gold lined flats cling against the floorboards, a fiery furnace intensifies inside of you with each sound. You stop and momentarily glance at the portraits lined perfectly against the creme wall. You see Mom in a few, her face so radiant, it could blind you. She resembles that of a teacher or as if she could be a teacher at your school, but you know she isn’t. Her long blonde locks are perfectly parted down the middle, loosely curled and polished, and whether standing or sitting, they flow all the way down to her hips. You glare at her perfect posture. Her pearly smile. Back straight. Shoulders aligned. Bubble gum pink lips. The bold softness of her cerulean eyes. She was a life size Barbie doll. Then there were some of you and her. There’s one of the both of you at a carnival. You never noticed before, but there’s a clear distinction between the both of you. It was as if you were the before version, and she was the after. You trace out slimness in her face and stare at the roundness of your younger reflection. Your hair was blonde but darker and shorter and was tucked into a ponytail. Behind the ears, it showed off your precious pearls Dad gifted you with. You raise your fingers up to your ears to prompt yourself that you’re still wearing those pearl earrings as of now. You abhor the honor to even wear them on your face. Yet, you resist.  

Suddenly, you come face to face with another younger version of yourself in a glass frame and you claim to still look the same as today. Your rotund body hung freely on the broad shoulders of a grown man, whose entire face you took after. Dad. A woman was at his side, basking in joy with him, looking up at you. Mom. You all wore an oversized muddy jersey so you must’ve had a game. Instantly, you caught the attention of something smeared all over your face. It looked more muddy than your shirt, like fudge. Ice cream? Cake? Whatever it was, you looked like you were enjoying it. You can’t remember if you won or lost. 

Either way, no issue in the whole galaxy could ever stop you both from laughing any harder than you already were. You were happy. She was happy. He was happy. Why couldn’t you all go back to being that way? You keep pointing your eyes back to A sense of optimism washes over you as you wish for things to go back to the way they were, but your eyes turn bitter as you swiftly turn away and stomp down the rest of the stairs.  

“Carissa?” a masculine voice calls from the dining hall. You step closer to find your father at the table, with  monthly editorials from the company he co-operates scattered across. “Carissa, is that you?” 

“Yeah,” you say quickly, snapping yourself out. You walk into the well organized dining hall, a few feet away from the kitchen. There’s the antique bone white dining table where you all used to sit in harmony for family dinners. Now, only Dad sits there. And you just continue to pretend you’re not hungry and storm away into your bedroom, eventually sneaking downstairs to sneak in leftovers. Dad sits there, in his usual seat, reading papers, not newspapers though. He hates those. 

“Good morning,” you say, hesitant to speak. Your stomach sank as those typical words came out. What used to be a jovial phrase raising smiles on everyone’s faces were now just banal words you said to start a conversation. He finally looks up at you after a few seconds. You gulp softly as his brown eyes raise up to meet yours. They look more stern. At this point, he would not want to be looking at a carbon copy of himself. But here he was. 

“Morning,” he said, immediately looking back down.

“You went out last night?” you said quickly. And there it was. Word vomit. “I thought I heard the doors closing late,”. Dad raises his eyes up at you once more, this time, with his eyebrows. That must’ve been uncharted territory. Or something you were not supposed to know at all. “I thought you left in the middle of the night to go meet up with someone,”. God, shut up. “Or something like that,”. 

“Yeah, I had to go meet up with a friend. Hadn’t seen em’ in a while,” he answered. You nod.

“What friend? Do I know them?” you vomit again.

“No, you don’t,”

“Maybe they’ve been by the h–”

“I said you don’t know them. You don’t need to worry about who they are,” he stated, not reassuring you at all. Moments feel like hours as they pass by in readiness, You can actually hear the seconds roaming round and round and the minutes ticking. You wait for a bomb to go off but there you were just standing in front of the table, still across Dad.

“I thought maybe it was Mom. I thought maybe you went to go see her,”. You capture the blank stillness in Dad’s face. You pinch yourself harshly. This was not word vomit; you were setting off triggers. “Have you seen her? Did she call or something?” you ask, your voice rising with hope. Dad breathes with exhaustion.

“No, she did not,” Dad said again, this time refusing to remove his eyes from the table. “Thanks to you,” he probably thought. You could hear the clock ticking again, this time, it got louder and louder. 

 “Well I was thinking maybe after school I could head down to the library. Just to mee-”

“No. You’re not going anywhere after school,” he said quickly, looking up and then down. “Nowhere but here,”. You’re still, but still manage to move your mouth. 

“It’s just for an assignment, I have some bo–”

“No exceptions. Whatever you need, you can find it here, in the library or online in this house,”. Time seems to have stopped because you can no longer hear it ticking. Everything is just still and you wonder if it’s even okay for you to move. You’re not used to fighting to get your way or make your point but since the past few weeks, you’ve had to for nearly everything.

“Okay. Dad,” you utter softly. “Are we ever gonna get past this? Will you be able to trust me again? Ever?”. Dad remains silent while you stand. “It’s been weeks. Almost a whole month. I’ve missed everything that I used to do with my friends, who by the way, won’t even answer me. Other kids in school just work with me because they have not because they want to. Mom’s gone. I’m going through a lot here, can you cut me some slack at least,”

“Oh I’m sorry, you say to cut you some slack like you did a whole bunch of work when in fact you created this mess!” he said, raising his voice and then soffing. “My God, for months. Months Carissa, you hid behind a computer pretending to be someone else and terrorizing other students!”. 

“It wasn’t other students,” you say softly.

“Oh, it was just one student and that makes it okay!” Dad shouts. “You think it was easy for you mother and I to stand there in Hillstone and have the dean explain  that our child was in violation of the no bullying tolerance policy. You think it was easy for us to be near parents who we’re close with and apologize multiple times on your behalf! It was easy to beg your own best friend for forgiveness!” Your shoulders instantly go upward. Your eyes find a place on the marble ground and stay there. Your heart beats rapidly, hurting your chest. You’ve never seen Dad this upset. His veins nearly came out of his neck, his voice raised and it probably echoed through the house. You had no choice but to look at him face to face.

“I’m sorry,” you muttered. Maybe he didn’t hear you or maybe he just didn’t care. 

“I don’t care who wants to talk to you or who you have to see, I want you here in this house right after school. Understand?”.  A powerful urge to cry surfaced but you withheld. 

You remembered how you felt the day you were caught and you were called into the main office. You sat outside while Mom and Dad spoke with the dean in his personal room. You didn’t know what was said exactly but the disappointed look on their faces said it all. When you got back home, it was worse. Enough tears had been shed the first night you heard Mom and Dad argue. Through the closed doors, their voices were as loud as ever. They sounded explosive, outrageous, hurt, tired, done. With the situation and with each other. 

“You should get ready, your driver is here,” Dad said finally. And just like that, you left him without your annual kiss and goodbye. 

  This ride was fast but long. As you soon step out into the sleek black car, the Sun smiles upon your face, although your heart remains sullen and you don’t want to be bothered. You let your eyes gaze along the stone pathway adorned with luscious red petals that blossom from the lengthy green stems,.What if this glass heart of yours isn’t ready to embrace the rest of this school year? Maybe you were just a pot of water that would eventually reach its boiling point? Or an endangered animal that would finally reach its limit? Maybe you won’t always be willing to do and react the way everyone wants you to. You were not the same Carissa Abrams at the beginning. 

You’re not ready, not even close.

September 02, 2022 22:22

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