1 Teenage angst is our birthright

Shock. Ba-bump Ba-bump. Electricity shot through my veins, a live wire. Ba-bump Ba-bump Ba- Trashing, I tore at my hair, "Get away!" I screamed, repeating it in desperation over and over. Ba-bump Ba-ba-bump B-b-ba-bump. Skin slick with sweat, lungs failing, feeling like I'd run a marathon…and it was cold so, so cold. Ba-ba-b- Shivers, like the legs of a centipede dancing across my body. I clutched my heart, a sharp, pounding pain, a thousand knives of lightning stabbing, twisting in my chest.

Was This the end?

It had to be the end…


What else could feel like this?


A cold rush into my veins…

"You'll…..okay… ..we're...giving…"

And around me, the world spun, an unfocused fisheye lens.


Calm washed over me. I was okay. And sleep took me under her wings.

— — — — — —

"...For Charlie"

Grabbing the frappe and my bag, I hurried home. The speedy route, past the red diner, left at the intersection, three blocks down and behind my apartment. Crouching, I placed a container in front of the damp box, (keeping one for myself) and waited. I stretched, legs cramping, food finished, if she wasn't coming out today I could deal, I wasn't the dependent one here. I stepped out, making sure to stay under the street lights, the tuna and rice left in a container behind me.

Up the stairs, down the hall to apartment 13, fumble at the corroding lock. Shit, I really need to get that fixed. Stumbling inside, I dropped my stuff, grabbed my hockey gear and left. Changing at the rink was f*cked, the stalls cramped and the doors do nothing to stop the bite of the aircon, but that crisp scent of freshly cut ice, the sharp tang of Zamboni fuel in the back of your throat and warm rubber under socked feet beats my tiny dark apartment any-day.

Skates tearing through the ice, the shove of bodies, roaring insults hurled carelessly around the rink…arm shoved into my ribs, puck stolen, goal scored, cheers and congrats.

All distant, too distant,

blood rushing in my ears

the stick slipping from my hands

lungs frozen, no air

cold, hard and unforgiving


My eyes opened to glaring lights overhead and the expectant, confused faces of my teammates. Humiliation churned my stomach.

The makeshift pillow stank of old sweat and nausea did nothing for my pounding head.

"Get me out of here" I rasped.

F*ck, I sounded pathetic.

Out, out I needed out, too many prying eyes, no need for the pity party.

— — — — — —

Bread, cheese, cat treats, pasta, tomatoes and salt. The list was simple, so why was I standing in front of the cakes, again? Prissy tiramisu, basic chocolate, pecan, no one likes pecan. And, Oh oh… Rainbow layers… *click* Streamers danced in the warm breeze, music filling the air as children ate sweets and played games. Adults chatting in groups, relieved at leaving the parenting to someone else. My father, fed up with all the children but still playing the good host for my sake. *Click click click* Inside now, it's set up like a budget disco. A dollar-store mirrorball, some coloured lights and a youtube playlist.

I hated it.

The cake came out, rainbow flavoured. My least favourite. Everyone loved it. I didn't understand, couldn't they feel it? The closing in the air coagulating in my lungs, I needed an outlet, to hit something, to hurt.

My best friend left shortly after, tear stained with a broken nose and black eye. Running to the car I offered him cake, an attempt to be better, to make up, to placate. He refused, looking away and slamming the door. I didn't see them for a long time after that. I stood in the yard as people trickled out, caught between leaving immediately and being polite. Steamers layed limp in the grass, the air stagnant and music mocking. Maybe if i'd ignored the impulse, had a better coping strategy, if i'd eaten the cake, fought someone else. Maybe, maybe it wouldn't have turned out like this. Is this my punishment? *click* I picked up the cake and continued walking, "no time like the present" I whispered. The coffee sat stoically on the shelf before me as I scuffed my feet against the linoleum floor, shiny despite the dirt. Smiling when black marks marred the surface. *click click* I didn't even drink coffee. My first job, a cafe waitress. It was a lovely day and a customer was being particularly shitty, something about "wrong milk". I know I shouldn't have, I should've had better impulse control by then, but I didn't. "Don't shoot the messenger," I said. My snarky responses lost me that job and the next one and the one after that. Maybe if i'd bitten my tongue, shut my big mouth for one in my life, maybe I wouldn't be here. Is this my punishment? Grabbing the coffee, I left.

— — — — — —

Curtains drawn, lights off, messages ignored, world shut away. Home. Is it really? I just live here, but really I don't even do that. It's just a way-stop, a place to dump my stuff in between activities. God, I'm always rushing, to here, to there, running from my problems, distracting myself with anything. Why does anyone put up with me? I'm a mess, a failure, trash. Hah! They probably get a laugh. Look! Look! Watch the clown run around, no clue where she's going! Watch her drown in the work she sets herself! Look! Look!

My stomach grumbled and I pulled away from my pillow, the kitchen, two metres away…. So far, I could wait. I wasn't even crying anymore, just laying there. My hunger had gone, the body does that after a while, just gives up, takes longer than the mind though. My eyes closed.

I rolled over. I should get up, shower, take my meds. I rolled back over, it could wait. Dragging myself to the toilet, I grabbed my phone, it'd been a week, it felt like eternity. I really should eat, I couldn't remember the last time. Instead I collapsed on my bed and closed my eyes again, what was the point?




I opened the window and laughed.

"So now you come"


This. This was the point.

— — — — — —

"Hey mum! I want you to tell all these people that I wanted more time to spend with them. Tell

them I meant to, tell them I wanted to hear what they said and tell them what was on

my mind. But I'm happy and I love you all. Thank you"

I looked up at the sunrise and laughed.

I broke, placed the pieces back together and I did it wonderfully. It will happen again to myself and others. But when I break I will do so, beautifully i'll sit, smile, and enjoy the pieces of a shattered soul.

I smiled, content, my life, in red staining my lips.

Next chapter