Only I can make myself better

Submitted into Contest #101 in response to: Write a story in which the same line recurs three times.... view prompt


Teens & Young Adult Sad Fiction

 TW- Mental Health problems discussed.


Curiously, today I saw my old friend, Emma.

Out of the blue, she walked into my book shop.

My heart began racing, she is THE celebrity of today.

Pressing against the window were her countless fans.

A stunning smile can be seen escaping from her lips.

Radiant eyes look right at me.

Immediately, I rush to say hello.

Secure in herself, she stands tall.

Opening my bookshop was the topic of discussion, not her award.

Now she politely answers that she is well.

Kingdom the size of the world, she owns it all.

Inspirational, how much she has achieved.

Love life, home, car; I know everything about her, everyone does.

Life is unjust, I think to myself as I return to my job and regular lifestyle.

Shameful of what I have achieved.


Places outside of the walls in my house terrify me.

Entertainment of certain means is all that I am for the men in my life.

Often lonely, never alone.

People stare as I walk down the streets.

Little children tap their parents and smile when they see me walking by.

Ear-splitting screams follow me in the day and the night.

Aches all over my body from the stress.

Resentment filling my lungs.

Enemies pretending to be my friends and lovers.

Obsessive fans wait outside my home.

Belonging to no place in particular.

Loving no one.

Imperfections blaring, waiting to be discovered.

Vivid images in my mind of perfection, that I will never attain.

Impossible to achieve the expectations of those around me.

Opening doors and forcing a smile.

Used to feeling detached.

Surviving instead of truly living.

Today I saw an old friend from high school.

Opened a small book shop with her partner across the street from my favorite park.

Told her I was doing well.

Helplessly wished I could switch spots with her.

Every joint in my body longing for a simpler life.

Plastered across my room are posters of each one of my album covers.

Agonizing emotions well up in my body, stopping at my eyes.

Idiotically, I begin singing to shut off my emotions.

Now I understand why I sing.

It is moments such as these that prove my cowardice.

Naturally, even my music is an escape from my problems.

Only I can make myself better, I remind myself.

Today, I will fight this pain.

Healing is possible, I remind myself.

Every muscle in my body pushes my arm to pick up my phone.

Ringing my mom is all I can think to do.

Speaking softly, I say, “Mom, I miss you. Can you come over?”


Called Matt today, asked to go to the beach but he wants to go smoke some weed.

Opportunities to spend time with my friends are diminished because I’m not 18 yet.

My mind imagines turning 18, being able to do what I want.

Parental protection no longer stopping me.

Another 2 years left.

Right now, at least I can go sky diving.

Imagine, that is as high as I’m going to get for the next 2 years.

Soon, I’ll end up friendless because of my parents.

Overall, they are kind, but they care a little too much.

Noticing my anger, my parents urge me to go out without the actual fun stuff.

Kickboxing is the way I diminish my frustration, whilst my friends find other ways.

Impulsively, I spend all my savings on sky diving, at least I'll be high in a way.

Luckily and unexpectedly, Matt wants to join.

Landing was terrifying, yet exhilarating.

Standing on the ground, is my family, waiting for me with cameras, of course.


Phone rings and my friend asks if I want to go to the beach.

Envious of him, I laugh and say I would rather smoke some weed.

Over time, he has complained to me about his parents.

Psychologically, I realize I’ll grow up pretty messed up.

Left to my own devices constantly.

Every night, the house is empty.

Another family is probably watching a movie together.

Reckless behavior making me feel less alone.

Every day, the same as the last.

Only when I am around my friend and his family, do I truly realize how unlucky I am.

But I will never let him know how ruthless a careless family is.

Liking the desire that he feels to experience my life.

It makes me feel more content with my own life, that he wants what I have.

Various nights and days I spent at his house.

It is always painful to observe his family.

Only 2 years and he wants it all over.

Unlike him, I never had that sort of care, not even for 2 seconds.

Sixteen, and caring for myself entirely.

Today, he called again.

Offering to go sky diving.

To my surprise, I quickly agreed.

Hopeful, deep inside, that maybe my family will care and come watch me.

Even people who have difficulty showing their love are capable of it if they want to.

Panting, I forgot I was terrified of heights.

Adrenaline coursing through my body as I watch people begin jumping off the plane.

Inhaling becomes impossible.

Now, all I think about is the promise my parents made that they would come.

I jump.

No one is there on the ground for me.

Only I can make myself better, I remind myself.

The tears fill up my eyes, but I pretend that it’s from the air pressure.

Hearing his family run up to him, I feel incredibly abandoned.

Every child deserves a devoted family.

Running toward me is his little brother, and he gives me a hug.

Surely, now he will understand how fortunate he is.


Clara has always been the most confident person I knew.

Open-minded, laughing, and friends with everyone.

My sister, Clara, taught me everything I knew about kindness and compassion.

People loved her, and she could get anyone she wanted.

An ideal body, perfect face, faultless smile, and a lovely personality.

Races in running competitions.

Insanely good at gymnastics.

Swimming is another sport she has mastered.

Only I hear whispers in the night, Clara’s own, I wonder what she says to herself.

No one ever criticizes her, unlike me who is always criticized.

Kissing me on the forehead, I wonder if she knows that I always looked up to her.

It is difficult always being compared to Clara.

Loving my sister doesn’t stop me from bitterly wishing that she was less perfect.

Lately, she keeps leaving me behind and focusing on herself.

Soon, I start to wonder if I even know her.


Partners in crime, that’s what we’ve always been, my younger sister and me.

Every day now, I focus more on what I need.

Old me slipping away.

Pleasing my family, friends is all I can think about.

Life has a way of forcing people to change.

Even though I am a control freak, I still can’t seem to take control of my life.

All of my achievements are from my performances and competitions.

Realizing I have completely lost myself.

Everything in my life is based on how successful I am.

Over time, I watch my sister grow.

Believing that it must be difficult for her to live with all of the attention on me.

Lucky me, huh? 

I wish I could give some of it to her.

Veering into my room, her pure and gentle eyes search for me.

Intellectual, yet so young and fragile.

Only now, I see and fear about how much I harmed her.

Until now, I spent every second with her.

She must have absorbed my weakness, vulnerability, fear, and self-hatred.

Terrified that I imparted my lack of wisdom on my precious sister.

Our time spent together feels like a crime committed.

The people around me are not to blame.

Humans, late at night, when everyone is asleep, let their most raw and true feelings out.

Each and every agonizing feeling that I have about myself materializing into words.

Pride in myself has not yet been accomplished.

And at the end of the cruelty, I always promise myself that I will do better.

In a brutal and cold turn of events, I understand that this is not OK.

No one is to blame for this, only me.

I wonder if this harmful form of handling my pain will also control my sister.

No way, I will not let this happen to her.

Only I can make myself better, I remind myself.

To be better for me, and for my sister, I must take control.

Help is what I need.

Ending the destructive words that are released at night.

Realizing that words can be as painful and as sharp as knives.

Sister, I love you, and I will get better.

July 08, 2021 14:51

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Steve Richey
18:20 Jul 16, 2021

I am stunned. Seriously. Not half an hour ago, I said to my wife that if I would love to write a short story or novel that can be as impactful as a beautiful song. Then, I would know that writing truly is my gift. You have just shown me that it can be done. This has that kind of impact and beauty. It went deep within me, touching places and times from my own past and experiences. The content is so beautifully constructed that I could say if sewn, or even welded together, it is seamless. The acrostic and the content came together li...


Karina Kilimnik
08:01 Jul 17, 2021

Wow. Thank you so much for this Steve. Your comment about making writing as beautiful and impactful as a song is definitely a goal of mine as well. I appreciate your words more than you know. Thank you for your support! It is so important to me that my writing can be touching and allow people to relate to the piece in any way. You have inspired me, and I am extremely grateful that I could have inspired the writer in you as well!


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Cannelle L
04:46 Jul 15, 2021

Oh wow! This is amazing. I feel like I don't have the right words to express what I'm feeling right now, but this story is outstanding. I can see how much care and thought you put into each of your characters. It amazes me how you can tell so much with these few words. I'm really glad I found you and I know that you'll soon be discovered as the incredible writer that you are!


Karina Kilimnik
05:25 Jul 15, 2021

Your comment is so meaningful to me. Thank you so very much. You truly brought tears to my eyes. I am grateful that you have read my stories and for your kind words, they genuinely mean the world to me! :)


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