I stumble inside my apartment, almost calm. My anger slowly burnt out on the long walk home and the once inferno inside of me is now a dwindling flame, the cool air and peaceful quiet acting as an extinguisher. I find my way into the kitchen so that I can have a glass of water. I may be intoxicated but I still have my common sense. Well a small portion of it, at least.
"Are you drunk?" I know that voice. I know it better than anyone's. That voice is the one that haunts my nightmares, it's piercing shrieks clear as day in my memory.
"What are you doing here?" I ask my mother, the small candlelight inside of me tips over onto a floor of sticks and paper, slowly lighting every square inch of me. I grit my teeth to force away the anger I feel towards this woman.
"I came to visit you. You are my daughter, after all" She says matter-of-factly, her nose stuck up in the air. She hasn't changed since the day I was born.
"By law, not by choice" I remark. Why is my mother sitting at my kitchen table? How did she get in here?
"Excuse me a moment" I say through gritted teeth, walking off in search of my blonde best friend. I walk to her bedroom and knock on the door, opening it slowly to find her and Michael laying down on her bed. "Chloe, can I talk to you a moment?" I ask, standing in her doorway. She looks alarmed and I see her eyes fall on my clenched fists and hardened jaw.
"Um, sure" She squeaks, clearing her throat and excusing herself from Michael. She shuts her door behind her and she looks like she knows what's coming.
"Why the fuck is my mother in our kitchen?" I hiss, trying to keep my voice under control so that our two guests don't hear.
"She showed up and I opened the door and she just made herself at home. I couldn't make her leave, Katie, you know how nervous your mum makes me. I had to call Michael over because I was so afraid! I'm really sorry" She whispers.
"Fine. I forgive you. Just, don't come out if you hear screaming. Just stay in there, ok?" I warn her, not wanting her to see what my mother and I tend to do to each other.
"Ok, are you sure? Call out for me if you need me" She says and I nod, turning to walk away and face the Devil herself. "Hey Katie? Are you alright?" Chloe asks, seeming worried.
"I'll talk to you later" I promise her before walking into the kitchen and sitting down across from my mother, the glass of water I was meaning to get completely forgotten.
"You're drunk" She states blankly.
"Well, you know, that's what happens when you drink alcohol" I say, sending her an indifferent glare.
"Why did you get drunk?"
"Because I was angry" I tell her. I don't have time for this. I'm not 12 anymore. This 20 questions bullshit is not what I need right now.
"Just like your father" She says quietly. I cant even explain how quickly my blood begins to boil and it wouldn't surprise me if steam started to blow out of my ears. I slam my hands down on the table and stand to my feet, my chair scraping behind me.
"How dare you" I seethe. "How dare you come into my house, unannounced and uninvited, and compare me to that piece of shit! You insult me enough just by calling him my father, as if he had ever been remotely close to a father figure to me!" My voice gradually raises and by the end, I'm yelling at her, my face hot and angry.
"He was. He was for the first few years of your life" She reminds me.
"You're seriously defending him!?" I throw my hands up in the air, not believing my ears.
"Don't yell at me" She challenges, trying to keep her composure but I can tell its slowly slipping away. The mad look in her eyes proves my point.
"Don't give me something to yell at you for and I won't" I spit back. I know it's childish, all of this is childish, but I'm tired. I'm tired of fighting, I'm tired of yelling, I'm tired of all of this back and forth. I just want today to end already.
"I know it was you" She suddenly says, taking me by surprise.
"What are yo-"
"I know it was you. It was you who rang them" Is she talking about all those years ago?
"Yeah, so what?" I shrug, trying to act nonchalant.
"I knew all along" She says.
"Well, congratulations" I roll my eyes, starting to walk away.
"I was foolish, not to thank you" She says, making me spin around.
"Is this all you came here to do?" I ask her.
"I just want you to forgive me! Look, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, for everything. I have been a horrible person and I've done horrible things and I'm sorry. I need you back, you are the only family I have" She pleads, her composure gone out the window along with her dignity as he begs on her hands and knees in front of me.
"How could I possibly do that? You think after 9 years I'm just going to magically let you back into my life and everything will be ok, just because you said sorry? I apologise for the inconvenience but I'm afraid that's simply not how it works" My voice comes out even, almost dull, void of emotion.
"But I'm your mother" She pleads some more, and I can feel the desperation rolling off of her. It would be heartbreaking if it was anyone else but I can't help but find it amusing. I almost laugh, even, at the sight in front of me.
"That doesn't mean you have ever lived up to that title. Being in my family isn't a right, it's something that needs to be earnt. And as far as I'm concerned, you haven't earnt shit" I spit at her and I can see her heart break behind her eyes.
"Please Kaitlin" She begs again, tears spilling over her eyes.
"No! Get off of the god damn floor and get out of my house!" I scream at her, completely and utterly sick of this. Sick of her.
"Kaitlin!" She screams back.
"And don't call me that. I hate it. I hate my name and most of all, I hate you!"
"You don't mean that" She says.
"Yes I do! I hate you! I hate everything about you! I hate all that you did to me and I hate you for your cowardice! You let him touch me, you sick excuse of a human being! You let him touch me!" I am now screaming at the top of my lungs and I just know we will be receiving noise complaints tomorrow.
"I couldn't do anything about it!" She yells back.
"Bullshit! It would've been as easy as anything for you to pick up the phone and call the police. It is literally 3 numbers long!"
"Do you have any idea what he would've done to me if I did that!?"
"You didn't even try! He wouldn't have even noticed if you had left, he was too busy raping me!" The tears are threatening to spill over as those moments play over and over in my mind. "The worst thing is, it wasn't only once. He did it 19 times!" My voice is starting to go hoarse and I'm finding it harder and harder to fight back tears.
"I'm sorry, ok? I was scared. You have no idea how I felt!" Her voice is loud, challenging mine.
"I have no idea how you felt? You think I had it easy? He didn't force himself onto you! You weren't 10 years old!"
"Why are you blaming all of this on me?" She asks. Is she serious?
"Get out of my fucking house! I never want to see you again!" My throat burns and my eyes sting, my body shaking with pure anger. I walk to the door and fling it open, waiting for her to leave.
"NOW!" I hardly recognise my voice, I scream so loud. She finally trudges out of the door and I slam it shut before she's even all the way out. I grab the first thing I see, which happens to be one of the wooden dining chairs, and I pick it up above my head, despite how heavy it is, and I throw it across the room. On its way, it hits a light and a plate, both items smashing before the chair hits the wall with a crash, and I hear the wood break and I see a hole in the plaster of the wall but I don't care. I swing a punch and my fist goes through the wall too, creating another hole.
"Katie stop!" I hear Michael yell and he runs over to me, holding my arms before I can do too much more damage. He pulls me into a hug and sits me down on the ground, leaning us against the wall and the floodgates finally break, tears flowing down my cheeks.
Turns out 9 years worth is a lot of crying.
Someone's arms wrap around me and I smell coconut. Knowing it is Chloe, my arms find my way around her, my head falling onto her shoulder as my body racks with sobs.
"It's ok, she's gone. It's fine" Chloe whispers to me. I can't stop the flashbacks playing out behind my eyes as I wail into her shoulder, soaking it completely, but she doesn't seem to care. We sit there for what seems like hours before I can cry no more, and I feel like I've been left out in the sun to be shrivelled up.
"Come on, let's get you cleaned up" Chloe whispers when the tears finally stop. I nod and lick my lips, tasting salt. "Michael, could you help?" She asks and soon I'm being pulled up by two sets of arms.
My legs wobble a bit and I struggle to stay up.
"Woah there" Michael chuckles lightly, putting his arm around my waist and holding me up. I lean into him and he helps me into the bathroom where Chloe starts dabbing at my face with a wet washer.
"I'm sorry" I say, my voice hardly even there from all the crying and screaming.
"No" Chloe shakes her head. "Don't you dare apologise" She gives me a sad smile as she wipes my face with a dry towel. "You have a shower. We'll be right outside if you need anything, ok?" Chloe says and I nod. She kisses my forehead before her and Michael scurry out of the room, leaving me to peel off my clothes and step into the shower, turning it on so that the hot water scalds me, making my skin go red. I like it though. Makes me feel not so numb.
I sit down on the floor of the shower, the water running down my back, and I stay in there until the water runs cold and then for a little longer before I get out and wrap a towel around my body, seeing a fresh change of clothes on the basin.
I pull them on and hang my towel up before brushing through my hair and walking out of the bathroom and towards the lounge room where I can hear soft chatter.
"You dyed your hair" I say to Michael as soon as I walk out. He now had a black strip through the blonde.
"I did it when you guys went home the day before yesterday" He smiles, laughing a breathy laugh.
"It looks good. What's the time?" I ask. I got home at around 2am last night and I'm not sure how long my mother and I fought for, or how long I sat there and cried, but by the time I had stood up, the sun was fully up.
"About 9:30am" Chloe says.
"I'm gonna go and get some sleep" I say, pointing towards the bedrooms. I can tell she wants to get up and hug me but she doesn't, she knows I hate being treated differently even when I'm weak.
But I feel like I really need it, so I walk over to them and hug them both.
"You guys should sleep too. You've been up for as long as I have" I say, pulling away from our short embrace.
"We're fine, don't worry about us. Just make sure you feel better. Call out if you need anything" Chloe assures me and I nod, thanking her before walking off to my bedroom. I strip off down to my underwear and get under the covers of my bed, falling asleep almost as soon as my head hits the pillow.
But I would have preferred to stay awake then to visit the demons in my dreams.
I woke up to sun light filling up my room in random places, seeping through the gaps in the black curtains covering my windows, looking like spotlights on a stage. Looking at my clock, I saw that it was 11:00am and I sighed. I hadn't left my bedroom since yesterday when I came in here. I just couldn't find it in me to leave. The sadness and the heaviness of that day weighed on my shoulders like an obese elephant and I found it impossible to leave the confines of my duvet. Except for the toilet, of course.
I hadn't stopped crying completely yet. I wasn't over it. It takes a lot more than a day to get over the fact that you got brutally surprise when you finally built up the courage to actually like someone the way I liked Luke, and then to come home and have a screaming fest with your own mother, kicking her out of your own home. That really was the cherry on top of my shit storm sundae.
With a sniffle I got out of bed, my sudden urge to eat that hadn't visited me in almost a week driving me to the kitchen.
I was so fucking sad that I was surprised I even had an appetite at the moment, but I guess my body is just fucked up. So, the first meal I had had in a week was a small bowl of rice bubbles, a few tears falling down my face in the process of eating them.
After putting my empty bowl in the dishwasher, I walked out to the lounge room and something on the coffee table caught my eye. It was a fairly large cardboard box with a note on top. I grabbed the piece of paper and held it close to my face, and read over the neat handwriting I knew belonged to Chloe.