“This is our new home,” Mother says.
This home: scratched floors and chipping paint. I sleep with Sister on a bed with no frame. Two rooms, one bathroom.
New boyfriend, new home.
This home: smaller but cleaner. I make new friends. They tease me. “My dollhouse is bigger,” they jeer. Sister gets angry. I cry. Mother demands to never be ashamed of our home.
Goodbye boyfriend, new home.
This home: one bedroom, and I sleep on the couch; Sister with Mother. I weep often. Only Sister sees. When Mother does, she hurts me. Sister yells.
No job, new home.
This home: not mine.
Marina (Mari) Toplyn is a sixteen-year-old junior in high school from southern New Jersey. She is a reader and creator of all things imaginative. She writes every available second and when the notebook is tucked away, she’s creating her thoughts into pictures inside her sketchbook—which usually ends up getting stained with coffee or tea.