Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
Latasha Milbourne is a particularly unlucky thirteen year old, trying to escape her reality of social anxiety, bullies and drugs through music, daydreaming and that one dream. The dream that her al...
In my school, the bullies are mainly the girls picking on other girls who don’t share the exact same taste in one thing. Of course, I’m completely different from any one of them, and I’m a pretty quiet girl who isn’t too good at standing up for herself. Perfect target. Most of the time on the bus, they try and find me in order to mock my Rise Against, Foo Fighters, Oasis, glasses, greasy brown hair, anxiety... well, anything their few brain cells can think of. Luckily for me, I’m right in the corner where I can listen to music and relax for fifteen minutes or so, away from everyone else.
I’ve always found escaping from the world through daydreaming and music relatively easy – one of the few things I really like about myself. For me, daydreaming about meeting Brandon Boyd, Gerard Way and Adam Gontier; what it would be like if my dad hadn’t left my mom and left me and my mother alone in a disgusting house; finding someone I could trust and never get bored of me ramble on about panic attacks and family issues. These things are easy to imagine, even if it isn’t reality, and allows me to temporarily forget about several things bugging my mind.
Listening to music helps too, but you’ve probably already guessed that already. The thing is, I can’t listen to things like N-Dubz and Bruno Mars, simply because their music, while it may mean a lot to some people, isn’t deep enough to make me feel anything special, and the point of music is to make you feel better and become a better person, right? It’s only my opinion of course, but I also find it almost impossible to listen to rappers like 50 Cent because listening to them bragging about their celebrity lifestyle not only makes me feel insecure, but it sickens me to think about their total disrespect for women and drugs, let alone having to listen to them boast about it.
Nope: I’m literally the only person in the school who listens to rock music as far as I know. Any kind of rock is good: from Blur (yeah, it’s Britpop, but I like it) to Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Deep Purple and AC/DC. Modern rock/pop such as Green Day, the All-American Rejects, and Blink-182... you name it. There are certain songs keep me going – Disenchanted by My Chemical Romance; Move Along by the All- American Rejects; Savior by Rise Against – which is why I lose respect for people who tell me that music is ridiculous because it makes me want to live, and even if it makes no difference to you, you still don’t have the right to tell someone that music isn’t worth anything.
Anything else about me you’d like to know? Something that’s hopefully a little more interesting than I am Latasha Milbourne and I am 13 years old and I have brown hair and green and blue eyes and I wear glasses? There’s not much, and if you ask me I’ll probably freeze and look at the ground, winding my lank hair around my skinny index finger, trembling. It’s not like I’m meaning to be rude when I mumble something that is meant to be “not really” but instead comes out as “ntreeugh”: I just can’t help it. Nerves, not arrogance, I promise. People tell me I’m just really introverted, but it’s a little more serious than that: anxiety. I plan out what I’m going to say, but when someone comes up to me I sort of shake and my mind goes blank and I end up saying some gibberish instead of my planned words, leaving people confused. If you want to know more, look it up. I hate talking about it.
As I snap out of my thoughts, I realise that my iPod has shuffled to Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars, the bus has drawn to a halt at my stop, meaning I have to get off my backside and go outside in the space of about five seconds. Sighing heavily, I turn off my iPod, shove it in the pocket of my torn jeans, and get up, my back clicking several times as I stretch. A sharp burst of wind makes my toes freezing through the worn out, holey Vans I wear every day, but it’s not like I can go to New Look, Primark or even to a charity shop to buy another pair. Money is tight and I have to watch what I spend, as one wrong move could make me go hungry or have no hot water for a few hours.
The walk back to my place is pleasant today. After I get over the initial coldness when I step out of the overheated bus, the sun is casting warm rays onto my back, and the robins are tweeting even though autumn is still here and I wind up wondering what they’re saying in their bird language if they have one. Obviously the cool breeze is still here, but once you get over the shock of the cold air on your exposed toes it’s quite nice really, making the hairs on my arms stand on end even though the sun is making me warm. No-one is even walking down this road – the other kids got off the bus five minutes before my stop – and it’s peaceful with nobody around to chat or make fun of me. I find myself relaxing.
It’s a ten minute walk back to my house – well, fifteen if you don’t walk very fast – and I’m walking down Honey Lane, named after the honeysuckle that’s rife in the gardens of the tiny houses and that’s trimmed down to neat, cute little bunches in the big houses. Right now I’m walking past the larger houses, but as you go farther along the road the almost-mansions turn into wooden shacks filled with damp and mould. If you were to enter an undecorated one you would instantly throw up from the sight and smell, probably adding to some pile of sick in the corner. However, I must live in one of those shacks, and I’ve tried my hardest to make it habitable without the help of my mom.
In order to try and stop the damp and mould, I’ve sprayed the designated areas with some weird stuff with Warning: corrosive! written on the back in huge block letters before covering the walls with several layers of wallpaper I found lying around, but that has to be replaced every year or so. I found some old rugs, that I washed with water and disinfectant, which I cover the floors with – yes, even the kitchen. My wardrobe is a cardboard box, but when I’m bored I go to the computers at school and print off pictures of my favourite bands, which I use to decorate the box and the wallpaper that doesn’t need to be replaced for a while. My bed clearly needs a new mattress as it’s giving me back problems, and we need a computer for homework and some proper storage space, but the house is comfortable for me, even if it’s not very nice for you to be in. Well, apart from my mom’s room, which I don’t like entering.
I didn’t want to decorate her room because she simply doesn’t care about whether it’s clean or filthy, as long as she has some of her poisons on her bedside table. When I was young and a little more naïve (although I’ve never been as naïve as the other kids in my class had been) I used to think that wasting yourself away is what you’re supposed to do when you’re older. Now I realise that it’s not normal, and I’d literally give anything for it to change. I first learned that it was dangerous when I was about eight.
I used to spend a lot of time in my mom’s room, looking inside the empty bottles labelled with Smirnoff and Jack Daniels and Malibu that I didn’t understand then. I’d wonder what the white pills were, and why the white powder was in very even lines next to bags of the stuff with rips through the middle. When I was eight I took that curiosity a little too far, and snorted some like I’d seen my mom do, but it landed me in hospital. That’s all I know about that incident as I don’t remember a lot of it, but that was when I learned (by myself – not my mom) to not even be in the same room as the cocaine.
It’s a shame about my mom really, and as much as I want to hate her, I simply can’t bring myself but to feel anything but love and sympathy. Apparently she used to be so pretty, talented, confident and popular for all the right reasons: the opposite of plain old me. In fact, photos show her shiny, chocolate brown hair, her strong jawline, high cheekbones just below the green eyes outlined in blue that resemble mine in so many ways. Now her cheekbones are sunken; hair unwashed; emerald greens now ruined by lines, but the biggest difference between then and now wasn’t any of these things. Back then, she smiled.
My dad seems to have ruined her forever.
“Mom, I’m home!” I call out, receiving the usual grunt that told me to go to my room and leave her alone. I obey but with every step to my room my heart sinks like crazy. I long for a day when she calls back, “did you have a nice day?” or “how are you?” Hell, even a “hi” would do. However, every day’s the same. Well, it could be very different tomorrow, judging by what I plan to do tonight.
Itching to throw my shoes off and get a new top on so I can wash the pale pink, ripped Oxfam T-short I have on now, I rummage through my cardboard box, fingers pressing into the worn photographs of Frank Iero and Dave Grohl as I pry the ‘door’ open. Eventually, after tossing my faded green shirt (that smells of sick, so there’s no way I’m wearing that unless it’s an emergency) and some jeans with a weird, sticky substance on it, I find a grey top. I run it under my nose, sneezing as the fabric tickles my nostrils, to make sure it’s not the one that stinks of pond slime and polluted water I retrieved from the lake about a month ago.
Long story: some preppy girl called Sabrina Evans ripped my top off while she was teasing me and, well, she said she ‘accidentally dropped’ it into the lake, but to be honest it was more like ‘purposely flung’ it into the murky depths of its shallow but particularly algal bed. Getting it back was a bit gross and more than a little slimy, but I got it back before realising that wearing it is probably a bad idea. Nothing will get the smell of pond weed and rotten fish guts out of it.
It turned out fine – it’s the other top that smelled fine – and I hastily throw it on, momentarily terrified that I’m suffocating when I try and get my head through a sleeve hole. I do get it on in the end though and I flop down on the bed. My mattress creaks and groans beneath my weight (even though I’m little and the average weight for a 10 year old), sinking like a hippo in a mud hole. Finding my iPod is easy as it’s in my jeans pocket, and I put it on shuffle, grinning as the sound of Evanescence runs through my ears. Normally I mouth the words in a quiet place, so I’m not really saying anything but my lips are in sync to the words of My Immortal and I imagine singing in front of a crowd of thousands, hair and makeup beautifully done, feeling purposeful. Unlike the pathetic, shy, thirteen year old I am currently.
My eyes scan the room, catching the cover of a Blur CD case; an old mug with tea stains around the edge; my wooden bookmark in my copy of The Catcher in the Rye; a moth or three or seventeen on the floor directly below the bare light bulb that hangs from the ceiling; the smiling/glaring bands on my cardboard box. Then I close my eyes and let the raw emotion from deep within my body fill every space in my body, making me feel complete as a person.
An hour and a half later and I’m still in absolute bliss: eyes half closed like a cat relaxing; motionless except for my chest rising up and down with steady breathing. Way too lazy to get up, let alone make something for dinner, but I must do it anyway. I heave myself off the bed with effort, eyes bleary and blinking like crazy like I’d just woken up, and stumble over to the kitchen (thankfully there are no stairs in this house). A salad. That’s what I’m making. Easy to make; takes about ten minutes... pleases my mom to the point that she grunts a little, but I don’t mind salad so it’s perfect.
Walking into the kitchen (woken up a little more now, thank God) I catch a glimpse of my mom, foundation smeared over her face so you can’t even see the worry lines and hair extensions trailing over her skinny shoulders, down to her waist. Every Thursday she goes out to Aqua – some nightclub in the city – to meet her friends. I have no idea what she does there and, to be honest I don’t want to know, but tonight’s pretty much the only night I can get on with my plan undisturbed. I just only wish she could ditch the drugs, alcohol and beauty products and realise she has a daughter to bring up, but I guess I’m doing fine on my own. Still, it’s tiring having to take care of your own problems and the problems of my own mom.
First though, I wash my hands in cold water and start chopping up tomatoes and lettuce in a bowl that looks about a hundred years old and violently abused by some owner or another. Being small for my age, I have to stand on a step in order to reach the high counters, but I tend to cook most nights anyway so I’m used to the feeling of broken plastic against the soles of my filthy bare feet. I grab some vinegar and lemon juice (don’t even ask how or why we have a bottle of lemon juice, but it’s coming in handy at the moment) and chuck a small amount in the bowl, rubbing the acids into the leaves. I try not to notice that the lettuce has holes in it from some slug I flicked out of the window and that the tomatoes are so juicy that one pinch scatters the seeds everywhere, adding to the flavour of the sauce, as I shove the plant parts onto two plates. I get a bottle of water as well (we don’t use the tap water for drinking – I don’t know what it tastes like exactly but it’s probably not healthy) and pour it into two glasses, before serving the bland food and drink on the wobbly wooden table.
“Mom, dinner’s ready!” It’s supposed to be her calling me.
She doesn’t reply, just gets out of the bathroom, sits down and begins to eat. A thank you would have been nice, mom, I can’t help but think as I force down my food, not wanting to eat anything a slug has touched but not having much of a choice.
14 and a half minutes later (yes, I counted – it was a silent, awkward dinner) I finish at the same time as my mom, only she rudely shoves her plate towards me and says, “Wash this up. I’m going out.” I’m sort of standing there with the dishes as the front door slams and makes the whole house shake, used to the dismissal but still upset, until I decide that I have to wash up. I stalk slowly over to the sink and fill it with cold water before grabbing the brush without a lot of bristles and scraping the dish until it’s clean. By the time I’m nearly finished, I’m feeling hot tears slip down my face, dripping down and adding to the now cloudy water in the sink.
Normally I do my homework after washing up, but now I have the time to myself I have to do what I’ve been planning since two Fridays ago.
I stalk over to her room and turn the doorknob, flinching at the foul sight and smell the moment I walk through the door. Several bottles lie on her unmade bed, all empty, and there are about ten full bottles of Vodka on her bedside table and on the bare concrete floor. The usual split bag of cocaine is on the table as well, although the lines aren’t there and I’m pretty sure I know where they are now. Other than the bottles, her bed is covered with filth such as red wine, crumbs and some sticky yellowish-white stuff that I avoid completely. On the spare patch of wall that doesn’t have damp or mould on it, a picture of her old self hangs and although it’s cracked it’s still pretty clear. In this picture, her eyes stand out the most – emerald green with just that hint of blue around the edges, eyeliner done perfectly so that it brings out the colour perfectly. A smile is on her face, reaching her eyes and her hair is curly and a chocolate brown. She’s absolutely beautiful.
Tears leak out of my emerald green eyes: the emerald green with just that hint of blue around the edges, just like my mom’s. It’s like in that photo she has a complete soul – a personality. Now she’s just a hollow shell, like every fibre of what makes her unique and, well, her has been scooped out, leaving behind this soulless creature that has no concern for anything or anyone anymore.
My heart cracks in two.
Of course, this makes what I’m about to do all the more important. Shaking my head violently and squeezing out the last of the tears, I pick up the bottles from the bedside table and run over to the sink, emptying them of the foul liquid that causes my mom to be so disturbed before chucking them in a plastic bag, ready to be recycled. I also add the bottles on the bed to this bag. It’s a bit haywire when I’m usually so organised, but I decide to look around the house for stuff that harms her later. Now I’m dealing with the little white pills – Xanax, I think? – and I’m filling up the bathroom sink with water, dissolving the tablets packet by packet. I tape up the rip through the bag of white powder so it doesn’t fall out and going over to the lake, around by where Sabrina Evans had ripped off my top and flung it into the water, and dropping it into the particularly disgusting bit with the pond weed and pollution and weird looking fish. My mom hates water and she’d never look for it here. Finally, I go around the house, tipping the contents of about fifty bottles of Malibu into the kitchen sink and destroying her little white pills. No more cocaine, thank God. She won’t be back until around nine tomorrow morning, and by then I will have left for school, so I relax and do some history homework, dreading nothing but school tomorrow.
Sleep never comes naturally for me; I usually lie awake in bed for hours, possibly listening to music to calm my nerves or daydreaming a little bit about myself, only in my head I have a completely different life to the one I have now, hoping I’ll dream about it a little when I finally shut down for the night. My name is the one thing I keep: I’m a Latasha with long, glossy black hair, with a disarming smile, beautiful clothes and a real knack for sports, and I’m confident around the girls and I make all the boys laugh and my parents – yes, I have a dad in this world – love me and hug me when I get home from school and let my many friends around. It’s all happy, jolly, perfect.
It’s a shame that fantasy is so far away from reality.
When I wake up to the sound of Kerrang! Radio playing Nirvana at around seven in the morning, I don’t remember exactly what was in the dream but I recall having a dream, if you know what I mean. At least it wasn’t a nightmare – I rarely get nightmares but when I do, they’re vivid and lifelike and absolutely awful. I glance back at the clock, trying to get my half asleep brain to work out when I have to get up, before I give up and I settle for ‘around fifteen minutes’. Not wasting any time I shove my iPod back on, concentrating on the sound of Sum41 flowing through my ears as I stare intently at the ceiling like something interesting was written on there.
Three songs have passed, and I take that as the fact that I have to get up now. I tend not to wash in the shower (why would I? Yesterday it was crawling with spiders and those are the least of what I could find in there). Instead I rush to the sink in the other bathroom, where I thoroughly wash myself with my flannel and some soapy water, and go to the toilet and rush upstairs to throw on the same ripped jeans and grey top. Eating breakfast is something I rarely do as we’re rapidly running out of money, so I brush my teeth and go back onto my iPod, almost cradling it as I’m worried it’ll break. It was a present from my dad for my 10th birthday, and it included the cover and the chargers and earphones needed, along with some iTunes vouchers for songs. We had a computer back then, but we’ve recently had to sell it because of the money problems we’re getting because mom can’t be bothered to get herself a job. This means that it’s pretty much my only reminder that out there, my dad is waiting for me.
Twenty five minutes later and the bus is on its way, and I grab my Vans and run out of the wooden door, running for five minutes and stopping at the bus stop, my face burning and my lungs trying to find oxygen. Still, I’ve made it on time as I see the bus approaching, drawing up the leaves on the ground as it rumbles past them. Hopping on and going to my usual spot, I’m ignoring the taunts people are giving me because of my inevitable bright red face from running.
It feels too soon before the bus turns up at Hell’s gates (the school door) and I’m off to my first lesson – maths. I sigh and get ready for another day at this place of misery and isolation.
School’s now out, and I’m walking home in the rain with my heart in my throat and a horrible, sinking feeling in my stomach. The last lesson of the day – drama – is always awful because the kids leave me on my own, and the teacher just flirts with the bimbos and pays no attention to how I might feel. However, today was worse because I got made to go with the meanest of the girls: 3 of them - Sabrina Evans (yeah, the one who threw my other grey top into the lake), Janine Hart and Rachael I-can’t-pronounce-her-last-name – all wanting to give me a tough time. At first they ignored me, discussing soap operas and pointing out the hottest of the boys in our class as I sort of sat awkwardly at the edge, daydreaming. That wasn’t so bad. Then, as they realised it was having little effect on me, they started saying in very loud voices that ripped jeans are so not the look and that I wouldn’t look pretty if I tried. Well, actually they called me ‘a hippo covered in mud at the best of times’, which believe it or not cuts deep inside your heart.
I tried not to let it get to me, but they continued to tell me how worthless I was and in the end I burst into tears and ran out of the classroom, feeling like something was pressing on me, squeezing and ripping like it was trying to make by skin fall off, my eyeballs shoot out and reduce me to nothing but a lump of innards and body juices splattered on the wooden corridor. I believed it too, and for a little while I ran into the toilets and curled up on the floor, cheek brushing against some toilet paper but I didn’t give one, crying my eyes out and struggling to breath as I felt the squeezing sensation press on my lungs.
I have no idea how long I was in that position, but in the end I straightened myself out and got up, feeling unsteady on my own feet. Nauseous and head reeling, I gaze into the mirror. Big mistake. I was shocked at my own reflection. My hair was dishevelled and greasy from the way I’d been curled in the foetal position on the floor, my eyes so bloodshot you can’t actually concentrate on the bright green iris, only the blood red surrounding it. My face was as red as my eyes; only blotchy so it looks like I have some sort of disease, and the skin I could see was pale and seemingly translucent. I screamed and yelled curse words at my reflection, not caring who heard me, and before I could stop myself I raised a fist and pushed it into the mirror, watching the glass shatter and fall in the sinks and surfaces rather peacefully seeing as I’d just caused a massive red welt on my hand.
Then I just walked out, glancing at the time through another classroom and finding out it was half an hour earlier than normal. Of course, this meant that the bus wouldn’t come, so I just walked for about half an hour, and that’s where I am now. Cold and soaking, but I don’t care. I feel the same inside.
The rest of the walk home is such a blur that I don’t even know how long I was outside, but it must have been a while because the rain has now soaked through my top and jeans and every single part of me is absolutely freezing. I’m so caught up in my thoughts that I’m a bit confused at the sight of my mom’s silhouette looking like she was searching for something, but then I remember what I’d hidden the night before. I swear under my breath, before realising that there’s a car parked outside and another shadow in the house. Who is it? Who’d visit this place? I wonder as I unlock the door and walk right inside.
So much happens within the next few seconds that it’s hard to keep track. My mom rushes into my face and begins to scream, bellow at me, spit flying from her mouth, eyes red and looking like the Devil had possessed them. She’s so close that I can smell her breath: it still reeks of alcohol and it’s obvious she hasn’t brushed her teeth. It’s actually crap-your-pants terrifying seeing her this way, and I guess it helps a little that I can’t understand what she’s saying, although it’s pretty obvious that she wants her poisons back. Then someone’s hands wrap around her and try to yank her away, and his face flashes a smile at me for the first time in a while before his face is gone. But that flash is all I need.
His hair is covered by a hat, but mousy brown locks are clearly visible, especially when he shakes his head. Green irises are a different shade to my bright ones, but the lenses of the glasses that frame his green eyes seem about as thick as my lenses. He isn’t smiling, but his teeth are showing and the canines are a little pointy, just like mine, and his nose is exactly the same shape. I can see from his Foo Fighters top that he likes the same kind of music as me, and he just reminds me of myself so much.
“...Dad?” I whisper.
“Yeah honey?” He says, and suddenly I feel complete even though he’s trying to keep my mom from throttling me, and my face is red and my hair is soaking and I felt awful a couple of minutes ago. I refrain myself from giving him a hug, as that would have been impossible, but my excitement must have shown on my face because he laughs and says, “I’m happy to see you too. I’ve always wanted to get to know you, but my career got in my way. I’d have come sooner if I’d have known that this thing was taken care of you. Seriously, she’s trying to kill you!”
I laugh and say, “Yeah, I sort of took away her drugs and pills.”
“I can tell.”
He laughs but in that split second his arms weaken the grip around my mom, and she runs into the kitchen. I have no idea what’s going on, so I shake my head and give my dad the first hug I’ve ever given him, squeezing and I’m almost crying again, but I blink furiously and the tears have gone. We pull away and start to chat about music and the top he’s wearing and he says he’ll buy some band tops as a birthday present in a month and I thank him. None of us pay any attention to the rummaging inside the drawers made by my mom until I hear her run in, yank me away from my dad, and a sharp pain shoots through my neck, followed with a cry from my dad.
“Jesus! What was that?” I yell, touching around my neck where the burning pain is, only to feel a thick liquid. Shocked, I pull my hand away, only to find that the liquid is red and plentiful, sticky all over my fingers. It takes me a couple of seconds to realise what it is, but after I realise I really start screaming. Screaming at the almost unbearable pain that started deep inside my neck and is now working its way throughout my body. Screaming at the look on my dad’s face – pure horror and something else... anger maybe? Screaming at the smell and the mere sight of the blood that’s now covered my hand and dripping down my arm, onto the floor where it’s forming a puddle of blood, like you’d see in a classic horror movie.
Everything’s happening in a blur, and thinking in a straight line is hard to do, grasping at the thoughts inside my head and forming sentences that don’t really make sense. Still, these are the words streaming out of my mouth like a river, and I don’t know what they are, don’t know who’s holding me, don’t know how long I’m going to stay up for. My knees weaken and I collapse to the ground, noticing how I’m staining the floor I’d worked so hard to keep clean. But then I hear only words that sound like they are coming from underwater, and I know I’m conscious but barely, seeing tiny black dots in front of my eyes that are steadily getting bigger.
The last thing I really hear before the black dots form into one and engulf my eyesight is my dad yelling at my mom, saying how she killed me or something like that, and a bit of crying from someone – I don’t know who – before my eyes are closed, and I’m letting the darkness enclose me, pulling me into a sense of deep relaxation, and I suddenly don’t care about anything. I know my dad cares, I know that the girls at school will feel guilty (hopefully), and then I know nothing and my consciousness floats away. That’s how I know I’m dea-.
I didn't mean to offend anyone, so I'm sorry if I have. Thank you for reading. Please rate and review :) Thank you!