Chapter 13: Wake Up Call

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“Wake up!  Wake up you good for nothing bum! Damnit GET UP!” My mother slapped my head. 

“Damnit woman get off me!” I screamed back at her pushing her off me.

“I will not be spoken to like that in my house!” 

“It’s funny because other people seem to be living here too! It’s my house as good as it is theirs.” I stared her straight in the eye.  The anger and fear building in her ice cold, grey eyes.  Her fists clenched, I’ve never seen her like this, so angry.  Her hand came across my cheek with such force that knocked me against the wall.

“Look you little piece of shit, I’ve put up with you for sixteen long years and now you want to lay around the house and bring those good for nothing kids home with you, I won’t take it!” My mother had that crazy look in her eyes, “I’ve had enough and I want you and your little shit friends out!”

“You’re shit.” She slapped me even harder.  I could feel a bruise forming around my brow bone, “You’ve always been mom, no I’m sorry, Clarissa.  You aren’t even a mother.  Why don’t you stop drinking and start paying attention to your children?  Charlie is a step away from going to jail, Amanda hasn’t been home in two weeks, Thomas is close to committing suicide, and little Sarah almost got jumped on her way home from school because someone forgot to pick her up from school.  We’re all better off without you, it’s not like it would make a difference anyway.” 

“SHUT UP, SHUT UP!  You don’t care about them anyhow!” she was snapping, tears running down her face. 

“YOU DON’T EITHER! THAT’S WHY YOU HAD TEN KIDS! SO YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO WATCH US!” I was now standing face to face with my mother. 

She whipped her fist back so fast it looked like a fighter jet and whacked me right side of my face.  I feel back against the wall, falling to the wood floor.  My head just lay there, feeling limp.  A warm gooey substance ran down my nose and piled up on the floor, it reeked of red.  Soft, hot tears fell down my face, caressing the newfound cuts and bruises on my cheek. 

I didn’t lie there for long, a few moments later, I propped myself up and walked over to my bureau and pulled out some jeans, t-shirts, and socks and stuffed them into my backpack.  I listened to my mom going on and on about how I do nothing for this family and am a worthless piece of shit, but I had to bite my tongue because if I put one foot out of line, I’d be back in the cooler.  Shoveling my shoes on, I threw my backpack over my shoulder and raced downstairs, mother chasing after me still screaming. 

“Don’t you ever think about coming back!” she screamed.

I turned the corner of the house, seeing my five-year-old sister staring up at me, tears in her eyes.  She looked up to me, god knows why, I’m an awful role model, always smoking, drinking, and hanging around hoods.  I walked right out the front door not even turning around.  Tears stinging the curves of my eyes, threatening to break.  I knew exactly where I was going. 

The Curtis house was quiet, it was a Sunday morning, the streets were particularly quiet and I wondered who died.  Shuffling up to the front door, I saw through the curtains Sodapop lying on the couch and Darry cooking in the kitchen.  I wondered where the gang was.

Soda looked up, initially happy, then his happy eyes turned to worry.  “Babe, what’s wrong?” 

“Ca-can we go somewhere private?” I sniffled.

We walked into his bedroom, “What’s wrong, I’ve never seen you this—who did that!” he pointed to my cheek, “I’ll kill him! Who did that to you!” The rage danced in eyes.

“My mom, she hit me this morning calling me shit, so I got out like she wanted.” I started to break.  I began crying hysterically, this never happened. “They really don’t want me.”

Soda wrapped me up in his arms, like a cradle, “I want you.”

“It’s not the same.  Atleast your parents loved you.  Mine wouldn’t even care if I died or were in jail.” I sobbed some more, “They loved me before, when I was real small, before Meg was born and Rob, and Sarah, and Stephanie. They cared about me before.”

“It’s cause we’re different.” He kissed the top of my head. 

“Yeah, maybe.” I nuzzled my head into his shoulder, “I don’t know what I’d do without ya.”

“I love you and that’s all that matters.  Us.” He said looking down at me.

There’s that word again, love.  I really do love him, or I think.  It’s just too early to hear that word; we’d only been dating two weeks now.  I’d probably screw it up somehow.  I don’t think I could live with myself if I hurt him, but he’s all I got left.  I got the gang too, but you know what I mean.  We cuddled like that until I finally calmed down. 

“Jeez, I’ve never seen you like that.  She must’ve scared you straight.” He said as we walked out of his room. 

“There’s not much that scares me, but she’s one of them.” I responded pushing myself closer under his arm.  I felt secure when I’m with Sodapop, he’s my rock.  

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