One: Welcome to Hell
“Dad, you know I’m not a social person. So don’t expect too much.” I pleaded, hitching my backpack onto my shoulder.
“You’re not going to get anywhere with an attitude like that.” he snorted, all but shoving me out the car door.
My dad was more enthusiastic about the exchange than I was. This was too soon for me; I didn’t want to go to school yet and he knew that. But this was his high school when he was a teenager, so none of my personal thoughts or feelings applied. It was bad enough that I was here in the first place and by ‘here’ I mean somewhere in the northern part of the United States. I didn’t bother to remember where – it was pointless to waste the brain cells.
I sighed heavily, slamming the oil deprived door to my father’s SUV. It was surprisingly clean considering the fact that it held three of my newly acquired siblings that I had no idea I had until yesterday. Dad was actually a dad now, not the pompous heir to a wagon-full of cash that my mother had fallen in love with: the man who left us.
Judging by the age of their oldest, he’d gotten over us before he ever left. But my mother was all about family structure, so I was required to talk to my dad every month via email or phone for the past eleven years though I never completely understood why. I’d gotten over the denial. He left because he loved someone else and he was never coming back. That’s what I thought for a long time. I haven’t forgiven him, but he gave me half of my life so I had to respect him. I’d never say what I felt about his departure out loud, at least not where he could hear me.
My mother is one of the few who knows that I still hold a grudge. So why did she exile me to this small patch of hell? It was inhumane, and uncalled for.
According to my mother’s reasoning, I was much too difficult for my own good. She didn’t understand her seventeen-year old daughter’s situation. I was a target because of the way I dressed and the things I did for entertainment. Some people run around doing drugs and having sex whereas I read books. I actually preferred books to people because the worst a book can do is give you a paper cut, but my addiction has increased in the last few weeks and during those weeks I have been dragged to at least four different psychiatrists. I thought it was completely idiotic and unnecessary, but Mom was extremely difficult to convince otherwise. She was concerned about my “condition”. Here are the symptoms: a sharp tongue, a taste for cloudy weather, a black on ebony fashion statement, a nose that seems to be glued to a book 24/7, and a questionable sense of logic. I mean I love my mom and all her perkiness, but this was just way out of line.
Well let me tell you something, the change in scenery wasn’t doing much for me.
I was about to turn the corner that would lead me to the attendance office when I spotted a little girl, about the age of five, with tight, bouncing curls and chocolate chip eyes running towards me. I think this was Chelsea, one of the twins. They looked identical even though they were different genders. She skipped to a halt and swiped at a stray curl on her face.
“Does Daddy know you’re out here?” I demanded, sugar coating the slight panic clawing up my throat.
“Yeah. He said you forgot this and I won rock-paper-scissors so I give it to you.” Chelsea searched inside her puffy pastel purple coat for a moment then withdrew a thin, laminated rectangle. It was the spare bookmark I usually kept in my back pocket.
The panic subsided as I said, “Thanks Chelsea. That was sweet of you. Now let’s take you back to Daddy.”