Julia saw her like a ray of light, the glowing halo that formed during an eclipse. She was the sunlight that peeked through the wall of clouds on an overcast day. There was nothing that Julia could compare her to that did her justice.

She was perfect.

If she was the sun, then Julia was a black hole, sucking up every last bit of light until everything was dark. She had thought this during a fight with her mother. Screaming. Glass shattering. A stinging slap to her cheek. Then the thought came. I'm no good. I am a black hole, sucking everything good from the world.

Julia knew better than to leave while her mother was in a rage. Running away would just hurt her more later. When her mother was done, Julia picked herself up and dragged herself to the bathroom, her bare, bleeding feet recoiling at the cold tile. She sat herself on the edge of the tub with a pair of tweezers, trying to dig out the pieces of glass embedded into her foot.

Her hands shook as she pulled out each sliver of glass, a tiny trickle of blood following every piece She wrapped her foot with an ace bandage and limped over to the bathroom mirror.

Her face was pale, highlighting the dark bags under her watery eyes. The harsh bathroom light cast stark shadows on her face, sharpening her already pointed features. A blue and purple bruise was already beginning to form on her cheek and blood oozed from broken skin. She licked her lips and tasted coppery blood; a choked sob escaped from her throat and tears plopped into the basin. Julia drowned out her weeping by running the sink, washing the blood away with chilly hands.

Even though it was only six, Julia went to bed. She crawled under cold sheets and lay shivering until she drifted off into sleep.

The next morning, her mother was gone. She left no note. She left no sign that she had even been there to begin with. Not that she ever had. Julia's mother didn't live, she drifted, occasionally falling into rages if she so much as noticed Julia. So Julia drifted too. Drifting, rather than living, seemed to run in the family.

She showered and washed away the cold sweat, the dried blood streaking her feet; she washed away all traces of her mother's touch. She even tried to wash away the bruise, an old habit from elementary school. But her bruises never washed away; they stayed to remind her to stay away from her mother, although Julia never seemed to remember that.

All the way to school, she drowned out the happy chatter with the sound of her own echoing silence. She waited, the straps of her book bag digging into her too-thin shoulders. Then Julia saw her. That ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. She was the sun, the moon, the stars. The whole galaxy.

"Marisol," Julia said, by way of greeting. Her voice was husky from disuse. She had barely spoken since Monday.

Marisol's eyes lit up and her smile was almost blinding, "Hi, Julie!" Then her face shattered, Julia could almost hear the pieces crashing to the floor. "What happened to your face?" Even though Marisol asked, she already knew the answer.

Out of nowhere, Marisol gripped Julia's wrist and began pulling her. "Marisol!" Julia shouted, hating the looks she got. "What are you doing?"

"I'm getting you out of there."

Julia blinked. Marisol shone so brightly right then. She burned hotter than a supernova. She was so bright that even Julia couldn't consume her light.

Marisol marched her to the guidance counselor's office. The door was closed, but Marisol didn't knock. She just barged in, black hair streaming behind her. The counselor was talking to someone, but with one look at Marisol's eyes she dismissed the student.

Marisol thrust Julia in front of her. "Tell her, Julie," Even though her eyes were fierce, her voice trembled like she couldn't bear to even say it aloud.

Julia turned her cheek and pointed to the purple bruise marring it. "My mom did this," she murmured. Before anyone could say anything else, Julia sat down in one of the chairs placed in the office. Gingerly, she slipped off her sneaker and peeled off her sock, revealing the bandage she had wrapped around it. She unraveled the strip of cloth to reveal the wounds on her foot. "She threw a glass at me. She missed but I stepped on it."

Julia slowly revealed all of the old bruises, scabs, and scars. Soon a police officer was called; they tried to make Marisol leave but Julia wouldn't let her.

She retold the story and answered his questions. "We'll get you out of there," he promised.

Julia looked at Marisol. She was a star. Bigger than the sun, the moon, the stars. She was a supernova. And Julia was no longer a black hole.