Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters featured here. They belong to Jodi Picoult.

Note: I'll admit I didn't write this with the intention of posting it here. I wrote it for one of my tasks for the creative writing side of my course; we do little assignments like this every week or so. Anyway, the task was to write a 'lost paragraph' and try to emulate the original author's style. Well, I don't know how successfully that worked out, but it was fun to do! It's very brief, I know, and I'm not entirely happy with it... Still, I thought I'd post it up here, seeing as I've haven't uploaded anything in what feels like the longest time.

Confessions of the Broken

The aching loss of you beat beneath my breastbone, sharp as blade, setting the rhythm of our lives now. I always knew you were the real glue holding this family together, but now the feeling cuts me fresh. Mom drifted away from us, while Dad tried too hard to make things normal. I continued painting, like my therapist suggested, though it left me empty. For months, I ripped up every picture before it was finished; the torn pieces drifting like snow between my fingers. Without you, Willow, nothing worked. Without you we broke apart, bonelessly. The ultimate irony, I guess.

Anyway, what did it matter? I knew nothing I ever painted would be enough to fill a hole as great as you. Unlike mom, who swore she saw you in everything, I just couldn't find you, Willow, no matter how hard I looked. Remember those games of hide-and-seek in the backyard? You were never very good at it, even with that twenty second head start. I always found you too fast. It left me embarrassed for both of us, so I'd rocket in the opposite direction, count to ten – twice – and pretend you'd done better than you really had.

But now I couldn't see you anywhere. Mom insisted you were still with us: you were the glistening morning dew and the blood red sunset and everything that fell in between. That was how was how she got through her days, living from one hour to the next. As for me, I didn't think you were any of those things. You were simply Willow, my irritating, chatty, brave baby sister. You were unique. Everything physical that made you you was gone.

I learned, as time passed by, that though the pain would dull and fade it would never entirely leave. It comforted me, somehow, and I held that knowledge to my chest like a precious gift. You might think it strange, unhealthy even, to cling to a feeling so negative. Like any teenager, I knew better. For as long as I carried that final ache of separation along with me, I carried you.