"Sam, did you say that?" Ginger asked me. I quickly shook me head no. What was everyone going to do? Laugh? Ask me to finish? What?

"No one else said it, so it must have been her," Teresa said, fiddling with her bracelet. Vicky turned back to Teresa and they started to whisper things back and forth. Julia watched me, waiting for me to continue. I just sat silently and waited for them to lose interest in what I had said. Lisa finally turned back around and then I noticed Sara glare at me and then turn back. Only Ginger and Julia wouldn't leave me alone.

Why won't they? I don't want to continue, and if you haven't noticed, I didn't mean to say what I said. I meant what I said, but I hadn't intended on actually saying it! How can I have said that? I don't know what to do and they're waiting for me to say more! This is really not the day for this to happen! Actually, no day is good for this to happen! They want me to continue, but I don't. I want to leave now, run outside. No, race outside before anyone can stop me.

"Sam, please continue," Ginger says finally. Only Julia is being patient enough to wait. If I say the truth, I'll feel so much better. They'll be happy too since they'll know the truth. And if I don't, who will be happy? No one would be truly happy, right? I know I should tell, that'd be the smart thing. That'd be the right thing. But I honestly can't. I sigh and take a deep breathe. I must say something.

"Um.I just don't like my mom. We, uh, disagree a lot," I say finally and slowly. It's true. Not to the full extent, but it's still true. Julia can tell I'm not saying the whole truth. She has that look. I think Ginger does too. But at least they will now leave me alone.


Group's finally over. Lunch was boring since we didn't talk much, but that's fine with me. Mom mostly talked to another mom while I just kind of sat around. Now it's time for individual. I walk inside and take a seat quickly. You have been waiting for me and you smile.

"Hello Sam. Did you think about why you want to die? And are you willing to tell me?" you ask me.

"I thought about it, but I'm not willing to tell," I respond quietly. You sigh, but you are still smiling.

"I heard about Group. Do you want to talk about it?" you then ask. I shake my head and let my mind wander.

"I recently saw a young girl's artwork. I think she has great potential to be a great artist if she'd try," you say. I shrug. How does this relate to me?

"I'm talking about you Sam. You are very talented as an artist. You should enter some art contests," you continue. I look at you dully. Like I haven't? You think I haven't tried? I have, every year. And each time lost against those two twins whose drawings are way too good to be drawn by 13- year-olds.

"There's an upcoming art contest coming up and I think you should enter," you tell me and show me a flyer. It says:

Young Artist Competition

Ages 12-18

You may enter from 1-3 pieces of your original artwork for the contest. Sign-up before April 5th. The contest will be held on April 10th from 10 A.M-4 P.M. Winners get their work published in Young Artists of 2005 and $50. We hope to see you there!

"Well? Would you like to enter? You only have until Saturday," you tell me. I shrug. "Think about it and tell me by Thursday." I then nod. It sounds fun, they always do. But I then I lose miserably to the same people every year. I have only two days to decide.


Finally free time. Finally she's gone. Dinner went like lunch had, only a little more talking. And all the talking was mostly about how I "better get better so that they can save some money". I sat on my bed and let out a sigh of relief. I took out my sketchbook and pencil and just sort of sat, unsure of what to draw.

"Sam?" Julia says, walking inside and closing the door behind her. It took her long enough to say good-bye to her parents. I don't even think my mom and I said good-bye. I think we just sort of went our separate ways.

"What?" I respond.

"Why'd you say what you did in Group? Your mom is really nice. How could you not like her?" Julia asked me. I put my pencil down slowly on my lap and thought about it. Why do I not like her? Maybe because her being nice is just an act and she hates me, but not to a full extent-just enough that we don't like each other. So what should I tell her? I can't tell her about that or that my mom is the reason I don't have a dad anymore, that he wasn't here, that she favors my brother, and that she treats me like dirt.

"I don't want to say," I answer. And that's the truth. I really can't tell her. If I did, what would she do? Probably something that would, logically, benefit for her and me. So why can't I say? I don't know. I guess I'm worried about what will happen to my mom, to me, and to Mikey. I know it'd have a positive effect along with a negative. But I have no clue what the negative is, and that's what bugs me. It'd be like swimming in uncharted waters with paradise on the other side but since you didn't ask, you don't know that there are hundreds of sharks in the water.

"That's okay. Did you hear about the art contest coming up?" Julia then asked.

"Yeah. What about it?" I replied.

"Are you going to enter?" she says sitting at the desk in our room.

"I don't know," I respond picking my pencil back up. I then have an idea for a drawing and start to draw.

"I think you should," Julia tells me and then pulls something out of her pocket. I think it's some kind of an old-fashioned watch.

"What's that?" I ask. She looks up at me.

"My grandfather's watch. He died this year, in January. This is all I have left of his. I miss him. He taught me how to do a lot of things. I'm just remembering one of his old sayings. 'Flying with a broken wing with friends is easier than flying with great wings alone'," Julia answered me and went back to looking at the watch. I then went back to my drawing. I split the drawing in half, with a birds face in the center split right in the center. On one side of the bird, it is with many other birds and in a beautiful tree. That side of the bird has an injured wing. On the other side, it is all alone and the tree is dead. The side of that bird is very healthy and strong.

I turn my drawing for Julia to see and she looks up.

"It really shows his saying. Part of the bird is happy, even though its sick. And the other sad, even though it can live a long, healthy life," Julia smiles. I smile a little back and then put it back on my lap and stare at it.

That saying really reminds me of myself. Part of me was happy when I was with my friends, even if I was hurt on the inside. And the other part was sad and alone, even if I knew I should be happy. Well, like me to some extent anyway. I glance at the clock on the wall.

"Free time's over," I say.

"Okay," Julia replies. We then both get ready for bed and try to go to sleep. I finally drift asleep after thinking about whether or not my dad will come to visit me anytime soon, and I decide he will.

It was sometime after Group that it happened. I was walking through the lobby to get to lunch, following Sandra slowly, when I saw him. There at the desk was my dad. He looked pretty much the same as when I last saw him, only I think he's starting to grow a beard now. I froze when I saw him. Sandy turned around to see why I had stopped. My dad looked up and when he saw me smiled.

"Hi Sweetie," he said. A simple phrase, but it was all I needed to know to be able to tell it was him.