I've been staring out this window everyday for the past twelve years. I don't know why, my memory seems to have faded over the years. I'm not sure what I am looking for, I see glimpse of my past but only for a moment. My body doesn't ever move from the window, however my mind tends to jump from memory to memory. I try to put each memory in
order but I can never seem to get past the part where my mother does not return.
I turn away and grab my phone, no reception. Figures. I walk into the kitchen and freeze. My mind is black and my body shuts off.
Im sitting at the table eating a snack and doing homework. Its sunday night, my mom usually works the late shift, but I guess they decide to give her the morning shift on sundays. The door opened, she walked through, she looks tired. I sit quietly and smile. She pulls out the mac n cheese. Great, third night in a row, but I still stay silent.
My eyes open, I take a second to regather myself. I walk over to the fridge, empty. So I just take an apple from the basket and head into the living room. I sit on the only chair in the room. It was my mother’s favorite chair. Its an old rustic yellow color and it has brown felt with little flower designs all over it. The cushion used to be soft but is now hard as a rock, but I do not mind.
I take a bite of my apple. Warm. The juices flow out of it onto my cheek. I wipe it off with the back of my hand. My hand in now covered in the apple’s juice, but I don’t move to clean it. Instead my mind shuts off again and I remember.
Dads home. I roll over on my side to see the time, 1:45. I hear my mother get out of bed, probably to make sure it’s dad. I hear screaming but I can’t quite figure out what they are saying. Mom is angry. I've never seen her this mad before. The fridge opens, dad can’t go one second without a drink. He is coming, the sound of his over weight body clunking on the wooden floor. My door creeks open. I pretend to be asleep. Mom yells at him to get out, that I’m sleeping and need my rest. He doesn’t care, when he is like this there is no stopping him. He moves slowly, but his heavy beer body creaks with every step he takes. Mom yells at him once more, but what is she going to do. It’s too late, I can feel him hunched over me. He stands up and walks back towards my mother. I hear her scream but he is to strong for her. The door slams and I hear a click. He locked it. I close my eyes shut, and tell myself do not open them. I started to pray, I never have before but I don’t want to die tonight. His cold hand touches my warm body. My body is now completely still. He tries to roll me over, but I refuse. When he moves to go shut the blinds, I knew I had to get out. I have to get away. I sit up and remove the covers off of me. I step off the bed, he turns around. “What do you think you are doing” he yells “I’m not finished with you”. He walks over to me, I climb back into bed. He brushes my hair with the back of his hand. A tears falls down my face.
My eyes fill with color. I’m back. I take a breath, and head down the hall to the bathroom. The smell of mold and some type of dead aroma soak in the air. I look in the mirror. My hair is dead, my face has now erupted with wrinkles and I’m only 24. I can’t look at myself anymore. I turn away and walk out, and head back into the kitchen. I slowly move the tips of my fingers across the counter top. I come to a crack, it’s not very deep or wide but for some reason I feel like it belongs to me. I keep running my hands over it, trying to get a feel as to what it means to me. Nothing. I stare at it for another minute, then head back to the living room. I sit back down on my mothers chair and glance out the window. I see a squirrel dart across the yard from another squirrel. Tag, the other one got him. They go back and forth, up and down trees, jumping from limb to limb. I remember this one time….
“You can’t catch me mom, I’m too quick for you”. Me and my mom played outside for hours. But soon dad would come home and she would say “hurry go and sit on the couch and don’t say nothing when your father walks in”. I walked in and sat on the couch, watched my favorite tv show and waited. I heard his old truck coming down the driveway. He was right on time. Right when he said he would be home, he was. I ran to my room, he is never home on time. I shut the door and locked it. I heard my mother open the front door. In walked my father. I knew it was him, I could smell his smoky breath from here. He reeks. I could hear him and my mom arguing, but I wasn’t sure why. He was here on time, what’s the problem. Then I heard the three other voices shortly after. I was frozen. My stomach dropped, my spine quivered and my heart started to race faster than it ever has before. I run to my bed, and hide under my covers. I hear my dad's friends barge their way into the house. My mom tells them they have to leave, that I am not feeling good. But my mom against four men, she won’t stand a chance. I hear the fridge open, and the sound of four beers clack together. I hate that noise. I stay hidden, hoping that they will forget I am here and we leave soon. But they don’t. I hide away for hours in my room, but no one comes to rescue me, not even my mom. It’s quiet. I can hear the tv but nobody speaks. I think about moving, but mom said whenever dad has company to stay in my room. I wait for what seems like an hour and decide I can’t wait any longer. I walk slowly down the hall, a peek my head around the corner. My dad and his friends are all sitting in the kitchen but my mother is a no show. I don’t say anything, I just stand there and hope nobody will see or hear me. As I turn to go back to my room, my foot slips and I fall. Immediately my dad and his friends turn around. He laughs, and says “silly girl, you should have stayed in your room.” I try to run but the hall is covered in some type of slime. By the time I am able to stand, my dad is right behind me. Smoke breath. I don’t move, the second I lift a finger he will hit me. “Come on now sarah, you know the rules, why did you have to go and break them.” I still stand there. “What your not going to talk to me, I’m your father you have to talk to me.” I know not to talk back but I just had to. “You’re not my father and will never be my father.” I said still my back turned to him. “Excuse me, I am your father.” I turn around. “You're a drunk dad, you have no job and you are barely in my life, you probably don't even know how old I am.” I stare right into his eyes, they are dull, have no color. “Watch your mouth” his crisp voice says. I couldn’t, he has taken this family for granted and I have had enough. I glanced over my dad's shoulder, his friends were staring at me.
My body is numb, I remembered saying that to him, how angry he was at me. I look one more time out the window, the sun was now setting but it was still light out. I decided to clear my head and go for a walk. When I opened the door the air was warm and there was a nice breeze that made me feel like I was at the beach. The sound of the leaves when my feet flatten them on the ground. But approaching the the line to the woods, it got darker, colder. I wasn’t scared, I wanted to cross the line, to see what was behind the dark wall.
I tried to walk past my dad but he wouldn’t let me, as if he didn’t want me to see what he was hiding behind him. “Go to your room and stop acting like a stuck up bitch.” I did what he said, who knows what he would do to me. I sat on my bed and waited for him to come check on me but he never did. Maybe he left, maybe he packed up all his things and was gone for good. I walked over to my door and cracked it open. I heard no voices nor saw anyone in the living room. I opened the door wider so that my whole body could side through. I crept down the hall slow and quietly. When I got to the kitchen nobody was there. They are gone. I called out to my dad and my mom hoping she had returned, nothing. I ran back down the hall and into my parents room, it was empty. All his shirts, socks, even his toothbrush was gone. He had left just like I hoped. I ran back to the kitchen and out through the front door, the air was warm and there was a slight breeze, like the beach. I walked out to the middle of the yard, to the line of the woods. I knew I should keep going, see what’s back there, but little girls are not allowed in the woods, that was mom’s biggest rule. I try to look far into the other side of the woods, but I was blocked.
My eyes open, I’m still standing on the line but I am know ready to step over. I am not a little girl anymore. There is something far beyond the wall, and I want to know. Every question that I have had about my past will be answered as soon as I step over. I take a deep breath and place my toe of the line. I tell myself I am ready, that anything Behind this, I can handle. I throw my body over the line and am now swallowed by the wall. No turning back now. I am guided towards a pond, I think it’s the one my mother always talked about when she was little. Her mother would take her there and she would swim for hours, she told me she never wanted to leave. As I walked along the side of the water, my stomach started to knot, my body started to sweat, my heart was beating so fast. Under a pile of leaves, there she lay, peacefully. Her body was rotted and flies surrounded her but for some reason I knew that she was okay. My knees dropped to the floor, hundreds of bugs raced out beneath me. I slide my hand down her body. There was no skin left, just bone but she felt more alive than ever. She was free, from my father, from the crappy life she had. Maybe she didn’t want to die this way, but she was at her favorite place. I wasn’t angry, I knew she did the best she could raising me. I got through twelve years without her. I stand up and look down at her one last time, and said goodbye. Walking back out of the woods, I knew I could never return. I went back to the house and went into the living room, sat in my mother’s chair and looked out the window.