She laced up her tennis shoes as quickly as she could. As soon as the last messy bow was tied she darted out the front door. She ran as fast as she could while taking a glance back to make sure no one was following her. The announcement—If you could even call it that—had been made once she arrived home from her middle school. She kept running even though she felt as if her lungs were about to collapse. She saw two parents holding hands with their child who seemed to be a toddler. “They will only disappoint you,” she thought as she kept her feet moving one right after the other on the sidewalk. She kept the steady pace going until she started to smell the salt water of the ocean.
She kept on the road until she got to what had adapted as “her” spot. She would come here when the fighting became too much to handle. As she approached the sand under the pier she kicked off her tennis shoes and socks and sat them by one of the beams before she kept jogging along the ocean.
She should have seen this coming, but she had wanted to believe everything her mother had told her was true. “It’s only a rough patch. There’s nothing to worry about.” Being the eighth grader she was she shrugged it off and went back to thinking about boys and school drama. Now she realized that was a bunch of lies, lies, and more lies. She can’t believe her parents would do this to her or her brother. Right before she started high school too.
Her parents always said they wanted what was best for her and her older brother; this couldn’t possibly be what was best though. Could it? She didn’t think so. At least that’s what she had been taught in Sunday School at the church her family used to attend before this “rough patch”. Her parents had taken as their first option what was supposed to be the last option. They said the one word no child ever wants to hear from their parents. Divorce. She had always shrugged off the thought when it was someone else’s parents; now that it was her own parents it’s not something she can shrug off.
As it started getting darker and cooler she turned and headed back towards the pier. Once she approached the beam with her shoes she saw someone leaning up against the beam looking around as if they were waiting for something or for her. She couldn’t tell whether they were a boy or girl so she started to slow down her jog. She was getting nervous and she recognized the build looked familiar, but she didn’t realize it was her older brother until he said, “It’s just me.” As soon as she heard his voice she ran into his open embrace and let out a sob. They stood there for a few minutes as they both cried about what was to change. Once they had both calmed down she grabbed her shoes and started walking towards home.
Who knew if that building would still be her house from now on? Who knew one word could change your life forever? Who knew she would wake up normal one day and go to bed that night changed forever? Who knew two people could abandon every promise they made to their parents, God, and their own children? Who knew?