Several adults were sitting around a table, laughing and sharing stories from their childhood. Of the group sat one laughed who with a sense of dread. When will it be my turn to share? What will I say? Should I share the truth or make up a lie? How would they react? I don’t want to kill the mood or make someone uncomfortable… But her turn never came, thankfully, and the night finished without a hitch. They all departed and left, feeling full of happy tales, but the dreading woman stayed and lived in her thoughts for a while… what would I have said, she wondered.
When I was young I moved a lot. We moved for many different reasons, but the most common reason was because we couldn’t afford to live where we lived anymore. It was hard, jumping from school to school. I never had many friends. But, I was always sort of a loner. It was okay.
My parents got a divorce. It was an ugly one, they fought over everything, even us kids… did I mention I have an older brother. He is three years older than me, a kind soul who couldn’t handle the constant pain. He left the house, it was good for him. I probably should have left with him.
My mother and I went through many hardships, many which she somewhat helped bring into our lives… it was her boyfriend. He was a liar. He lied about his marriage from the beginning, but my mother overlooked his lie for she thought she found true love. She was never the same again.
I remember the nights they fought. Yelling, screaming, crying, slamming doors, pointing fingers, then there was me huddled up on the couch as my bed, hiding under the throw blanket with my beloved cat for comfort. He left, slamming the door, leaving my mother in tears. I would calm her down in the early hours of the morning and then head to school. I came home to her boyfriend and her each day. Nothing ever changes.
Due to our moving, I was far from school. I could have switched and gone to a closer, in district school, but I wanted to finish high school all at one school… for once. So, with no car, I bussed my way to school every day. I’d wake up early to catch the bus and ride it two hours to school and then two hours back. I walked a long way and waited many hours in the cold. Over time I became numb to it, just as I did to everything else.
To escape the chaos, I ran to music and my imagination. Living in a world full of everything I didn’t have. It helped, the isolation, it helped. But now, I cannot escape, it consumes my life, I need to get away.
The cycle would repeat each passing day, I wake up, walk, wait, ride the bus, walk, go to school, get out, walk to the bus stop, wait, ride the bus, get home to my mother and her boyfriend, do homework, help cook, listen to them fight, and then fix the broken woman he left at home each night. This happened for years, I’m tired, everyday feels the same.
You wouldn’t know how hard it was. I was, and still am today, a great liar. I am dying on the inside, but no one knows. I had such a great smile and kind words, it fooled everyone… even me for a while. But, you can’t hide from the truth for forever, it was a funny way of always catching up with you.
She shook her head; this wasn’t even a tenth of what she really experienced. It would take a lifetime to explain the pain and sorrow, who would want to hear that? Depressed and feeling isolated, she stepped away from the table, pushed in her chair, and left…
She never came back.