This is Just a Reminder:

apology, by rosalyn taylor

don’t know how to say I’m sorry.

along, I thought it was you I was afraid of…

it looks like it was

a world without you

scared me so bad all along.

for leaving you

You couldn’t help it when you left

I had a choice.


up in my own bed is a luxury. The morning routine gets rolling, then snowballs,
Anthea and I moving around each other in a quick bathroom ballet.
She doesn’t bang on the door when I take too long, and I don’t take
more than a minute over my ten minute shower. We share the mirror, wash out the
sink, pick up our towels and overall are being very careful with each other. We
exist in separate bubbles of politeness, none of our edges overlapping, none of
our thin sides touching. The peace is fragile.

last family therapy session is today, during second period, with Dr. Slauson.
Talking with her one on one at the hospital was actually easier than I thought,
mostly because my mind was still full of everything Auntie Harlyn had been
saying. Dr. Slauson’s little gold pencil was still, and she listened to me as
I told her all about Dad. She only
started writing near the end of our session when I told her that Anthea had
probably been right.

you think you’re a traitor too?”

I’d shrugged, stuffing my hands into my pockets. “No, but… Maybe. I should
be more…like family, I guess.”

isn’t about ‘shoulds,’ Rosalyn.”


Slauson had asked me what I thought family should be like, but I couldn’t
answer her. She said we’d talk about it more in our family session.

my room, I open my backpack, and shove in my history binder.
I am looking forward to turning in all of my back work.
My teachers, who probably gave up on me weeks ago, are all going to be
surprised. Just getting back on track with my grades makes me feel like the
world I inhabit isn’t quite so shaky.

zip my pack, make sure I have my music and drop my phone into my pocket. I have my means of communication back, but I still haven’t
found the right words to say to Natalie and Jenae. I am dreading going back to
classes and having to explain, just as much as I am looking forward to hearing
exactly what Wes was wearing, what he looked like, and how he’d spoken
my name when he’d asked about me…

practically bowls me over in the hallway, and we thunder down the stairs
together. I stop by the kitchen to tell Auntie Harlyn goodbye, and grab an
orange. She pushes a zip-top bag of fiber bars at me, fussing about decent
breakfasts, but I just hug her and stick them in my pocket.

is eating leftover pizza, which, she defends to Auntie Harlyn, is a completely
balanced meal. When we finally get outside, Anthea doesn’t cross to the other
side of the street, but stays in step with me as we walk to our stop. She finishes her slice in time to get on the bus, and the
driver only gives me a harassed look as I shove my orange into my pocket and pay
my fare.

Anthea is sitting in the seat in front of me. “Mom’s picking us up at

nod and busy myself with peeling my orange.

be late.” Anthea puts her feet up on the seat and slides until her back hits
the window. She stares out at the morning, fingers twisting in her hair, as we
turn up Sixth Street.

roll my eyes as I savor the tart sweetness of an orange section. Unbelievable.
Miss-know-it-all would have nothing to say to me at all if she didn’t have
something to be telling me every time I turn around. I am so full of
aggravation that I almost don’t hear her when she says, “Joe broke up with

Surprise leaves my mouth slack and open. I close it around a juicy piece of
fruit, then shove the orange into my cheek guiltily. “Sorry,” I say
indistinctly. “You…have a fight?”

shrugs, then nods, still looking out the window across the aisle. “Well…
kind of. But not really. He just…” She shrugs again.

guys dated a long time,” I say cautiously, feeling my way into the
conversation. “It’s kind of cold, right before a dance and everything, for
him to…” I swallow the words ‘dump you’ but can’t find good

sighs. “He wouldn’t have gone anyway.”


bus wheezes as its doors creak open for disembarking passengers. Someone’s
toddler starts to whine, and Anthea turns in the seat and puts in her earbuds. I
finish my orange silently, the conversation finished.

…it wasn’t a half-bad story, it just needs some work…

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