Home 9 Issue 9 Say It by Bridget Weingart

Bridget Weingart, age 17

I wrote this story in my creative writing class.

Say It


Mom restarts the song again and hums along. The familiar, melancholy tune fills the air.

“Luna,” she whispers, lifting me into her lap. “Do you hear it?”

I nod and twist my fingers together as Mom sways to the melody. It makes me sad. The notes burrow under my skin and lunge for my heart.

It’s better to say too much than never to say what you need to say again.

“Good,” Mom sighs. “But do you actually hear it?”

“Yes,” I murmur, frowning. A yawn slips past my lips.

Mom chuckles quietly and rocks me back and forth until my eyes drift shut. I hear the song in my dreams.


“Luna,” Mom snaps, her grip tightening around the steering wheel, irritation straining her voice. “The answer is no.”

I roll my eyes and let out a bitter laugh. “Why not?”

“Because I said so!”

The engine revs as the car speeds along the highway, and I want to slam on the brakes and freeze this moment. The moment where I first realized that I’m able to hate my mom with the kind of hate that fizzles in my veins and makes me want to explode. White, hot rage slithers up my neck and burns my cheeks.

“That’s not fair!” I yell, baring my teeth.

Her head swivels towards me for a brief second, manic gleaming in her eyes. “You can’t go, and that’s final. First off, it’s not safe. Who knows what kinds of illegal things will be there?”

I clench my fists and dig my nails into my palms. “You’re crazy. It’s a party.”

“Second,” Mom continues and waves a hand in my direction, “this isn’t like you. Your grades have been slipping —”

“I had one C!”

“— and you’re becoming someone different, and I don’t like the new you, and honestly, I don’t think you —”

I flick on the radio and dial the volume to the max so I don’t have to listen to her anymore.

It’s better to say too much than never to say what you need to say again.

Mom narrows her eyes at me but finally clamps her mouth shut. She shakes her head at me slowly, and my heart hammers in my stomach with rancor and animosity and … and regret. I swallow over the sudden lump in my throat.

Lately, our conversations have been a stroll across thin, thin ice. One misstep and we’ll both fall through, drowning in that freezing water.

The chorus of the song blares loudly, and I squeeze my eyes shut at the words.

Say what you need to say.

“I’m sorry,” I whisper, but she doesn’t hear me over the music. 


Mom wipes her brow and sets down the last box next to my bed. “Well, that’s everything.”

I nod and bite my lip, gazing around my new dorm room. It’s bare, with white walls, two desks and two beds. It’s not home at all. It’s utterly terrifying.

“You okay, Luna?” Mom asks, tilting her head.

My hands shake as I sit down on my mattress. “Yes,” I lie and force a smile, “I’m good.”

A year ago, the only thing I wanted was to leave home and be in control of my own life, but now that the moment’s actually here, I don’t think I can breathe.

She arches an eyebrow. “You sure?”

No, I want to scream, I’m falling apart, and petrified that I won’t be happy here, and I don’t want you to leave. Not yet. Not yet.

But if I say that, she’ll worry over me and hesitate to leave, and I’ll turn into a crying, blubbering mess and beg her not to leave me here. I need her to rip the Band-Aid off of my heart and walk out.

“One hundred percent,” I answer, gazing at the ground, the unfamiliar walls and empty desk — anywhere but her eyes.

Leave. She needs to leave before I break down.

“Alright,” Mom says in a tight voice, with a fragile grin painted on her face and glassy eyes. She spreads her arms wide. “Give me a hug goodbye, then.”

I press my lips together and stand on unsteady feet, crossing the room. The moment her arms close in around me, the overwhelming terror and trepidation vanish, replaced by a sudden burst of happiness and comfort and love. Her warmth seeps into me and melts away my walls, and I shudder.

Mom squeezes me tightly. “Call if you need anything. Anything, Luna, okay? Day or night.”

“I will,” I murmur, unsaid words building in my chest.

Her phone rings and her ringtone cleaves us apart as she pulls out her phone.

Say what you need to say.

I open my mouth. “Mom —”

She glances up at me as the song stops abruptly, eyes accepting and sincere, fingers twisting around the phone.

The door cracks open and a girl waltzes in, gripping a large box.

She flashes me a grin and offers me a hand, balancing the box on her hip. “Hey! I’m your roommate, Kasey.”

“I’m Luna.” I jam my hand into hers and peek urgently at Mom, who claps her hands together.

“I gotta head out, or I’ll miss my flight.” She wiggles her fingers at me and steps toward the doorway. “Remember, call me if you need anything.”

“Mm-hm,” I reply and swallow my complaints when she disappears out the door.


Mom’s voice crinkles through the line, static infiltrating her words. “I’m so sorry, Luna.”

I sniffle and toss another tissue into the overflowing trash. “I-I just d-don’t understand. He didn’t g-give any explanation.” I pause and inhale a shaky breath, choking down another sob. “He just walked out. After four years. Four years, Mom.”

“I know, honey.”

“Why?” I hate how my voice cracks, and how I’ve been stuck in bed for days, and how my heart feels like a sledgehammer shattered it into a million little pieces that can never fit back together.

“I don’t know.” Mom sighs, her breath hitting the receiver. “I wish I could take away your pain.”

I shut my eyes. Me too.

“And then I wish I could go find him and beat him up,” she adds.

A smile tugs at my cheeks. That old tune pops into my mind for the third time today.

Say what you need to say.

“I just wish that you were here,” I whisper, “and I could give you a hug.”

She’s silent for a moment, then, “Well, you’re flying out to see me next month, right?”


“And until then, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to eat a carton of ice cream and watch a sad movie, then you’re going to realize how stupid he is and get back on your feet.” Her words come out in a gentle flurry. “You’re going to realize that you’re strong enough to make it through this, okay?”

A slight weight lifts off of my chest, and I start to nod, then remember that she can’t see me. “Okay.”

“Good.” She exhales loudly. “Good. And one more thing, Luna?”

My phone beeps with an incoming call. “Sorry, Mom, Kasey’s calling. Talk later?”


“She’s adorable,” Mom coos, clutching Scarlett in her arms.

“I know.” I grin and cock my head. Scarlett lets out a gurgle, and my heart seizes. “So, how’s it feel to be a grandma?”

Mom gazes down at Scarlett with an intense look that I’ve only ever noticed when she’s staring at me. “It’s wonderful,” she whispers, eyes burning.

She hums a quiet tune as Scarlett’s eyes flutter shut and her breathing evens out. I join in, our voices melding into one harmonious note.

Say what you need to say.

There are so many things I need to say. So many things I’ve realized lately, about all the times that she was right, and I was stupid. About the answers she’s always had, and the opportunities I’ve missed out on.

I settle on something simple. “Thank you, Mom.”

“For what?” She tears her gaze away from Scarlett.

“For everything.”


“How’s Scarlett?” Mom asks.

I squeeze the phone with white knuckles and sigh. Down the hall, Scarlett slams her door and lets out a frustrated yelp.

Mom chuckles. “Ah, yes, I remember those days.”

“How did you get through them?” I groan, massaging my head to prevent an oncoming headache.

“Do you remember how you were at that age?”

“Vaguely,” I mumble, flashing back to hazy days of cold shoulders and muffled arguments. “I wasn’t too bad.”

“Ha!” A light laugh leaves her lips. “You had your bad days, too.”

“Not as bad as this.”

“Oh, honey, you were worse.”

“Wonderful.” I pace across the room and press my lips together. “So, what do I do?”

“Talk to her. Navigate the minefield. Play her the song.”

“The song?” I frown, then realize a heartbeat later what she means. “Oh. That song.”

Say what you need to say,” Mom advises.

Scarlett screams again, and I wince, the phone nearly slipping from my clammy hands.

I sigh. “Alright.”

“Good luck, Lun.”

“Thanks, Mom.” That song suddenly echoes in my head, the melody pushing words past my lips. “I love you, Mom. And you should know — I loved you on the good days, and the bad days, and everything in between.”

“I know,” Mom replies, and I can almost hear the smile in her voice. “And I loved you on all the days, too, because loving you is the easiest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

And I finally get it, as I end the call and blast the song from my phone and start to talk to Scarlett.

I finally hear the song.

I finally say what I need to say.