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The yelling begins again.
I turn over and bury my head in my pillow, attempting to drown out the noise.
"Will this ever stop?'' I ask myself, as tears leak.
I gently rise out of my bed.
The same bed that has been protecting me over the past few weeks.
The same bed that has been my security blanket.
I creep to the door, hoping I won't be heard.
"I really don't want to give my opinion on today's conflict.''
I plead silently to myself.
With my ear hugging the hard wooden door, I become aware of what today's screaming match is about.
Why could he not have just asked first?
This maddening thought is running through my mind as my knees give way and I sink heavily to the floor.
My head falls into my hands, my fingers catching it gracefully.
Instantly, tears start to flow, they come so easily nowadays.
Too much practice, I assume.
Without even realising, I have woken from an uncomfortable sleep.
The silence after Mum left, leaving it irresistible.
I stretch my body as far as I am able, causing me to wake up slightly.
As I straighten and look out my window, the sight of Mum skulking up the driveway sends multiple questions racing in my brain.
Why do l have to live here?
Will it ever stop?
I have to leave.
I have to get out of here.
All these questions are running on repeat.
Around and around they go.
Immediately, I pick up the phone and dial Aunty Ann's phone number.
She always knows what to do.
"Maybe I could go live with her and Uncle Charlie until I finish school,'' I think to myself, cheering up the slightest bit.
As the ringtone stops and Aunty Ann picks up, I start to sob.
I don't even mean to, but I can't seem to stop it.
I manage to push an, "I can't do this anymore; I have to leave,'' out of my mouth.
The silence through the line is sickening as I wait for her reply.
Somehow I know from the amount of silence between us, that her reply is not going to be what I wanted to hear.
Simultaneously, with this thought, she answers.
All she says is, "No matter how far you run away or no matter where you go, your troubles will never leave you''.
The line went dead.
There was no, "How are you?'' or "I'll come get you''.
"How is that meant to help?'' I think to myself, even angrier than before.
After a while of sitting and staring into space, it all unexpectedly clicks.
Mum and Michael are always going to be here. Aunty Ann was right - I can't run away from my problems, regardless of how much I want to.
A wave of relief, but also fear flows through me.
Just the idea of having to confront my family scares me.
However, I know it is the right thing to do. It is the only way for it to stop.
I slowly but eagerly start to unpack the few bags I had ready to leave.
My aunty's words are still running through my mind.
"I need to face this problem. I can't just run away,'' are my final thoughts as I unlock the door and enter the lounge.
• By Ruby Conner, year 11, Dunstan High School.