Glasses shatter, screams echo.

My sisters cry in the next room.

I’m too scared to cross over.

I’ll get caught. I’ll get hit.

I’m in my room again, I hear them screaming again. It’s normal. They’re divorced, yet somehow momma is still here. She sleeps here, because all her pill popping friends won’t let her sleep there.

Doors slam. It gets quiet. Then like an explosion, it starts back up without a warning. Tears pull in my eyes. Is momma hurting daddy? It would never be the other way around. He loves her too much.

She’s searching for those pills diabetics take. I already know because I was there when she found them the first time. Daddy was so, so mad at her.

Last week I saw her take a handful of coins from the savings jar in the kitchen. She took those to her friends and they gave her pills. I know because I saw. She locked me in the hot car for an hour and came back out with two guys and pills.

It’s okay, I had books. Hours of words flowing from the pages. I forced myself to learn when I was four. By the time I was seven and in second grade, I was reading on an fifth grade level.

By the time I was in fourth grade, I was reading on a high school level. Before I could read, I would cry over the books and try until I got it right.

Now I sit on my stuffed bed, mismatched blankets and stuffed animals all around me in the baby blue room, scratched, mismatched furniture and the thirty year old lamp giving me light at five in the morning.

“Come on,” mom pushes into the room throwing the book from my hands and slinging me out of bed. I try not to cry or show emotion, because weak people do that. I bite my lip as tears fill. “If you cry, I’m whooping you.”

I suck the tears back in and rush to the bathroom. I hear my smallest sister, only a few months old, getting beat because she’s crying. I shut the door that doesn’t have a knob and step on the green stool to see myself in the mirror.

“Rylee, hurry up. You have school sometime today. If the bus leaves without you, I’m not taking you,” she snaps. She comes into the bathroom and I cower. She takes a handful of hair and jerks my back to her stomach.

She yanks a brush through it and pulls it up into a ponytail. She turns me around, sighs angrily and pushes a hateful kiss onto my forehead. I smile sadly, scared of her bloodshot eyes and strong hands.

“Go to the bus,” she says. I’m confused. I haven’t ate. It isn’t time to go to the bus. But I know she wants me gone. So I go outside and sit on the ground. Tears come quick, fast and angry. My scalp hurts from her hands.

That day, I went to school hungry. My dad walked me down to the bus. The bags under his eyes visible. He knelt, hugged me tight and told me he loved me.

While he was away, my mom found his diabetic pills. She popped too many. She got her high. And she blew her brains out three hours later.

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