Child No More | Teen Ink

Child No More

December 13, 2015
By YourFuturePresident PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
YourFuturePresident PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
28 articles 3 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." - Hillary Clinton

I woke up panting and covered in sweat. Every shadow in my pitch black room wanted to wrap itself around me.  There was a monster under my bed. With huge claws, and ugly scales and sharp yellow fangs glinting in the faint moonlight. I didn’t even remember what I dreamt. All I knew was that it was something terrible. Something that not even my thick sheets and blankets would protect me from.

So carefully, I tiptoed out of my room and down the hall, heart beating in my chest. I shivered, feeling bare and exposed without my blankets.  The house was eerily quiet. Everything was dark. The windows, the rooms-black. It was way past my bedtime, and it felt almost dangerous to be up.

I pushed the door to my parents room. It opened with tiny creek and I tiptoed inside. Looming before me was a tall wide bed with two lumps covered in wooly green blanket. The lumps, like rolling hills, rose and fell. Rose and fell. I gulped and approached the Mamas side of the bed. Her eyes were closed and her face was relaxed and peaceful. I wondered what she was dreaming.

As soon as my shadow loomed over her, Mamas eyes fluttered open. She stared at me groggily, Bad dream? She croaked and I nodded. How did mothers always know? She scooted over so I could crawl under the blankets.

We snuggled up together and I buried my nose into Mama's hair. It was curly, and bouncy like a spring. It was beautiful, the reason why people confused her for being 30 years old instead of what she actually was, almost fifty. Mama’s hair meant cozy, safe evenings  of cuddling on the couch.


It smelled like she just took a shower, except better. Mama always smelled like lotions and perfumes- but not like in department stores, where the smells were so pungent they overflowed your nostrils and made your head swim. I cuddled up closer to her, feeling the warmth of her body as Daddy snored softly.

Mama stroked my matted hair and I closed my eyes. The nightmares- forgotten about. The looming responsibilities and adolescence seemed as far away as pluto. It was just Mama, Daddy and me. Me, Mama and Daddy.


   Seven Years Later….


Come on, I whine, We’re gonna be late!

Don’t rush me, Mom snapps, You should be grateful I’m wasting hours every day dragging you places. You don’t spend that long, I mutter under my breath, and Mom whips around to give me her signature, watch-yourself-young-lady stare. Sighing, I drag my equipment into the car, and slam the door behind me to wait.

Rhythmic gymnastics. It’s why I’m doing this- lugging myself to practice I still have a mountain of homework to tackle. But I’ll deal with that later tonight. Right now, I have to concentrate on my training. The competition is fast approaching and my routines are still complete messes. I keep dropping those tosses, falling out of my turns, and I don’t hit the right shape in my leaps. I can’t mess up at the meet, not in front of all those people who’ll be watching. Not in front of the judges. I can’t let my teammates down. Or even worse, let down the coaches who work so hard to build me up. So I have to keep working. What will everyone think of me if I fail?

After I return from practice, I limp over to the dining room table. My thighs are aching like they’d been repeatedly punched and knives are jammed in my back. My eyes flutter weakly. I’m tired. Exhausted. I want nothing more but to sink into my sweet, cotton candy bed and roll into arms of sleep. But homework won’t let me.

School, practice, homework- repeat. School, practice, homework- repeat. Too much to do. Too many responsibilities. Not enough time.

But I’m the one who gets the A’s and always turns in homework on time . I’m the one who’s always on top everything, the confident one. The kids at school call me the perfect student, the “good noodle.” So I have to get it all done. I must keep going, keep chugging ahead. Assignment after assignment. Project after project. Training session after training session.    


Occasionally I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, clutching the sheets to my chests. Hiding from the dark shadows in my closet, and the monster under my bed.

But I don’t dare tiptoe down the hall. I’m old enough to suck it up and shake it off. I brave my nightmares alone now.

The author's comments:

This is a piece about growing out of childhood and into the busy, stressful, responsability-filled world of adolesence. 

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This article has 2 comments.

on Feb. 24 2016 at 12:22 pm
YourFuturePresident PLATINUM, Seattle, Washington
28 articles 3 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it." - Hillary Clinton

Glad you liked and could relate to the article....the best part about writing is reaching out to people with it. And I'm also happy you liked the WD article too!! Thanks for the kind words, all the best to you too!

Hidden_Teen said...
on Feb. 24 2016 at 6:35 am
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I love this. I may be an a.... (came here with the help of a friend as I couldn't have sent you this comment otherwise - so it's a one time comment-visit I guess) - well my body insists I should be, my mind tells me otherwise - but I still wake up with the same thoughts. Mind me I never had that type of Mom you could cuddle with, but I lived for the moments spent with my Grandma who made up for all (and did till the day she died)I find it kind of sad we even have to believe we have to brave it by ourselves at a certain age - it's just like the order "grow up". I tried that almost my entire life, squeezing into drawers just to fill expectations. Only in writing did I feel like myself. It almost killed me - and it certainly crippled the true me. Because in reality there is no "growing up" and having to act and be in a certain way. We are still who we were - we gain experience, there are laws to abide which young children don't need to care for yet as they are guided by adults - but the emotions are the same. While it might be awkward to crawl into a parents bed growing up, I wonder how precious one would be to us who would get up and snuggle up with us and hot cocoa on a sofa to continue chasing the monsters away? Who will laugh along and many years later will comment "I am so happy you kept that child in you alive!" It's not about being the way the world thinks we should be, it's about to stay authentic and rejoice in that happiness inside us. Thanks for that inspiration here! Oh, and how I even came to be "here" was you guest post on WD - I stumbled over it and I have never read anything that outright helpful (I reblogged even). Any writer who you critter for is incredibly lucky - well actually any writer who has any teen test-reading is lucky... All the best!