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Pen Your Pride

Starting another day seems like a harder task than it was before. A new day, a new beginning right? I tried to convince myself yet again, for the hundredth time this year. Maybe if I convinced myself hard enough, it will eventually happened. I sigh and glance around my room, the room that has been mine for almost a year.

Moving across the states to New Orleans was the best decision I've made for myself since the death of Eli. Staying in Washington in his house was too much for me to handle. It doesn't feel like home without him. And so, dad and I have decided to move to this town seeing that we both needed a fresh new start. 

We came here with nothing prepared, minimal knowledge of the culture and lifestyles of the area. Money was tight, it still is to be honest. If Mr. Tobias, my father's childhood friend, hasn't come to the rescue, God knows how we would manage to survive. He provide a roof on top of our head, and money for us to get back on our feet. 

I came here with two hopes and two hopes only. One, I desperately need to get away. I needed to get away from my old life. Anywhere but Washington is good enough for me. Two, I wanted to fix my relationship with my father. Being a child of divorce sucks. Sure, you get more attention from people surrounding you, but like anything else – nothing lasts. There's so much questions needing answers, too many thoughts left unentertained. I've quickly learnt that botteling up feelings is easier. People get tired eventually. A therapist would help, or so they thought. I was only ten when it happened. People sugarcoat everything, but I learnt the truth in just a few days. I saw it coming if I were to be honest. The constant shouting, profanities being spat from their mouths, and I had to bear it all alone. Jace. Why did he have to die?

I was combing myself in front of the mirror when I heard a loud thump just outside my room. Standing frozen on the spot, I wasn't sure what to do. My eyes immediately darted to the wall clock, telling me that it's already half past seven. It couldn't be my dad, he was supposed to leave for work two hours ago. After gaining some courage, I walk over to my bedroom door and slowly taking few small and quiet steps outside my room.    

"Hello?" I quietly asked, barely making an audible noise. "Dad? Is that you?" I repeat, raising my volume slightly higher. I let out a long breath I didn't know I was holding in after seeing the sight of my dad on the kitchen floor.

"Abby. Sorry for the mess," he immediately blurts out after seeing me standing with eyes wide, taking in the scene before him. " I knocked the flour from the shelf. What a mess," he continues, looking back to the flour-covered area.

"It's fine. I'll clean it up,"  I respond, watching my dad trying to clean the mess with his bare hands. "I just didn't expect to see you." I watch him carefully get himself up and proceed to sit on the kitchen table. He looks restless, the first few buttons of his dark blue uniform left undone only further my point. He must just got home seeing that he still hasn't change out of the uniform. He has always been a police officer his whole life, I guess that's why he was so protective of his family–once upon a time when we actually were a complete family of four. Now he's just stuck with me.

"I just got home from work, had to stay over at the station last night," he explains, gesturing for me to sit next to him. "I made some pancake, well I tried. You should eat them before they get cold."

I eye the attempted pancakes for a while before placing one to my plate. "It's. . . good," I comment, taking a small bite. It is not. It tastes rubbery but I suck it all up because I appreciate his attempt. I really do. He's my only definition of family now. Even that, I didn't get to see him as much as I want to. He's still adjusting to this town and I'm just really glad that he finally got the job down at the police station. I didn't really expect anything from my father, him moving to a completely new states with me was already more than I can ask from him. I guess it was his way of showing his love–leaving everything behind to move out with his broken daughter to a completely new place he has little knowledge of in such a short notice.

I sit in silence for the rest of the breakfast, only nodding here and there while my father is awkwardly rambling something about a new exciting case that he is in charge of. I want to fix my relationship with my father so badly. Mostly because he's the only constant in my life after Eli. Us being together in one roof would help, says everyone. But no, here we are having breakfast together, a rare occurance for anyone wondering, trying to have a conversation. It was always awkward and I hate it. I hated it. But reality isn't what we have always imagine. If it was, I would still be in Washington right at this moment, having breakfast with my Eli, in our spacious kitchen, on our house and we would be happy.

What even is happy? What defines happy really? 

"Abby?" my dad calls. I snap my head back to him with a questioning look. "I asked if you need a ride to the campus, I don't have to go back to the station until later at night," he offers. 

"It's fine. I could use some fresh air today. I'll walk." 'Okay' was his only response. No 'be safe' let alone an 'I love you'. 

I walk excruciatingly slow, hoping that he would stop me for a hug. Just one simple hug is all I want. I'll always wait for that day. 

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