GENRE: Contemporary YA
I went numb when she told me. I heard the news several hours after they found my mom, collapsed on the floor of our one-bedroom apartment. I’d been sketching monochromatic syringes and hearts when Mrs. Henks, my favorite teacher at ARTT (Artistic Rehabilitation for Troubled Teens), delivered the whispered account: “The maintenance man found your mother. They’ve rushed her to the hospital. I’m sorry.”
I went numb. I didn’t cry, though. I knew how much Mom wanted to die. God knows I’d heard it from the source on an almost daily basis. In between the false highs, the vomit and the slaps, I’d heard. I just wished I knew what I’d done to make her hate me so much.
Mrs. Henks offered to drive, and when we arrived at the hospital, the harsh morning light exposed the smudges across the glass doors. Past the automated whoosh of the entrance, my legs shifted into autopilot. I stepped inside a nearby elevator, my charcoal-stained finger jabbing the number for the psych floor. Strangers, who’d pressed in around us, noted the floor I’d pushed and inched away. As if crazy was contagious. Only Mrs. Henks stayed close.
As the elevator doors slid shut, I lowered my eyes to the checkerboard pattern on my Vans, willing myself invisible to everyone, including myself. With each stop, I wanted to stay inside my protective box, riding it up and down to nowhere. But the elevator soon delivered us to the sixth floor.