Scariest Moment of Your Life
Diary of Carly Johnson,
When I was ten or so, I used to transition back in, to find dozens of panicked post-its from Kaitie all over the room. I’ve kept every single one of those post-its.
I remember one day it was particularly bad. I found myself huddled in the corner of the room, post-its stuck to the wall and floor all around me. My body was completely tense, muscles on the verge of spasm. My face was tight with dried tears.
Right away, I knew what had happened, and I burst out crying. Our body still had tears left to cry. I wanted more than anything to be there for her—and to understand why she was so afraid.
I picked up the first post-it.
Carly, there’s something by the window.
I wrote a reply to that one, and stuck it down in exactly the same place:
Don’t worry Kaybear, it was probably just a tree or the wind.
The next: What do I do?
I wrote: Stay calm. I’m here with you, remember?
The next: I’m scared.
I wrote: I know. I’m here.
The next: They’re asleep. They don’t care.
I wrote: They don’t realize. You can wake them up.
She wrote: I wish you were here.
I wrote: Me too.
She wrote: What does it feel like? The sun?
I wrote: Warm, Kaitie. So warm. Like a warm bath!
She wrote: I’m alone.
I crossed that one out. Wrote on top. Liar.
She wrote: I can’t do this.
I wrote: You can do anything. Oh, Kaybear, I wish I was there for you! I feel so bad. I want us to be normal. Why can’t we be normal? I’ve brought you a present!
That day, I left my school copy of The Outsiders under the pillow with a fresh post-it note on top. It read:
And on the inside of the book, another:
I hate English, but this one was OK. What do you think?
The next morning, there was only one post-it note.
Cool book. Any more?
I opened my bag to get my reading list, and found all of my S.E Hinton homework done for me.
I guess that’s cheating; it wasn’t really my scariest moment, but it led up to my scariest moment.
For years, I never heard a peep about Kaitie being scared at night.
But one day, I opened my eyes, and it was completely, utterly dark. I thought I was blind! I really, really knew what Kaitlyn meant by “dark” that day. I startled so badly, that I banged my arm on the side of something, and then I kicked out—kicked the wardrobe door open.
Kaitlyn had left me in the closet.
It was terrifying, because I just had no idea what she went through during her night. But also because I realized she had been lying to me for four or more years. She didn’t get over her fear.
She just hid it from me.
And I was never there for her.
And that terrified me to my core. I didn’t know my sister.
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