Peer Review by rainandsonder (United States)

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Escaping Addiction

By: Inspiry


FREE WRITING

The motel looked like a tornado had torn through it. Belongings were strewn about the cigarette-littered floor, and the air was thick with the stench of false hope and frustration. There was mold growing where there had been a leak in the ceiling, both beds were unmade, and the window screen was in tatters. 

In the middle of it all, there sat Kara, folding the clean clothes she had and stuffing them into an already overstuffed backpack. Her hands trembled. Something had snapped inside of her. She couldn’t quite explain it, but there had been something there, and it had broken. Not a clean break, but a fracture that had shattered the pieces and scattered them about her body. She could feel the shards stabbing into her skin. Kara refused to pretend that they didn't exisy anymore, for both their sakes.

“Jamie, hand me your rain jacket,”

Jamie didn’t move. She was seated on the bed, legs crossed, wide-set hazel eyes glossy with tears. Her mop of dark curly hair swung from side to side like a pendulum.

“No, I can’t,” she murmured.

Kara reached a shaky hand out to brush Jamie’s hair out of her face, “We have to leave.”

Jamie shook her head harder, “You can leave then. I’m staying here.”

“With her?”

“With mommy,” she said, her lower lip jutting out, something she only did when she was on the verge of crying. 

Kara tried to keep her voice level, tried not to lose her temper, but it was tough to do that when Jamie wouldn’t listen. Kara was older by seven years, sixteen. Jamie was only nine years old. She didn’t quite recognize how bad things had gotten, didn’t remember a time before the addiction. But Kara did, and she was determined to make things right again.

“That woman is not our mother. If she were our mother, she would be here right now. She would be here instead of staying out all night doing god knows what with god knows who. She would be here, Jamie. We have to leave.”

“Kara, stop! You aren’t making any sense. She-”

“Is an addict, Jamie,” Kara snapped, her patience at an end.

Did Jamie not understand how hard this was on her? Watching her mother self-destruct and not being able to stop it. She’d had to witness her mother turn into someone who Kara didn’t even recognize. A stranger.

Kara felt her stomach clench when she saw the hurt expression on Jamie’s face. It wasn’t her fault.

Softening her voice, Kara tried again, “She depends on the drugs, she doesn’t feel normal unless she’s using. Please, Jamie, I don’t know how to make you understand me.”

“Why can’t she just stop?”

“It’s not that easy, honey. We have to get ourselves help, and her too.”

Despite her effort to keep it together, Kara’s voice broke. She felt her sense of control spiraling away. She needed Jamie’s support, someone’s approval. A sign that she was doing the right thing. She needed Jamie to believe that she was strong enough to do this.

“But I’m scared.”
  
“I know, but this is important. I need you to trust me, ok?”

Jamie closed her eyes, as if seeing was too painful for her, “Ok.”

“Good, now where was that rain jacket?"

I wrote the beginnings of this at a writing intensive program last week. The prompt was: two siblings arguing about something. I may have taken a little bit too much creative liberty here and made a seemingly harmless prompt into something quite dark. Feedback is always appreciated, and comments/reviews make my day! Happy writing. :)

Peer Review

i was moved by how you portrayed the characterization and how the mother's addiction has affected her kids. especially how you described jamie; it was heart-wrenching the way she didn't understand what was happening and wanted to stay, and how kara had to take charge. i love how you use body language to portray this and draw out a sympathetic reaction from the reader.


i believe most of the things that i thought should be added, i said in the highlights. mostly, i would like to see more description, body language, and detail, as i believe it would help to fully flesh out the piece and add to the emotional depth.


Reviewer Comments

excellent work! this piece really is well-written and meaningful, and i hope it didn't seem like i was being too harsh with this review. i adored how you created and characterized our protagonists, and how you fleshed out a full story with such a fairly short piece. i also enjoy how you leave the ending fairly open, so the reader is left to imagine what becomes of our protagonist after you finish the piece. again, fantastic work, and keep writing!