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February 20, 2008
By
One of the most important lessons in life is how nobody is perfect. I grew up understanding this rule better than some adults. I was always a very understanding person. I never laughed when someone tripped; I would gladly reach out my hand to help. I understood when people were busy and couldn’t hang out, but I never once understood why my parents weren’t with me if they remained healthy and living.

I would understand if they had been young or if they had been poor, but neither of these situations apply to why they left me to live with my gracious aunt and uncle on the eve of my first birthday. It was explained to me that my mother had obligations to be the ruler of a secret world. The few facts given to me on this other world were illogical and I considered the entire idea to be a hoax. I was told when I was only ten that my parents would be back someday, but I never spoke of it. I never had any hopes. I loved my family the way it was. I wasn’t to know precise details of my parents return until my 16th birthday. I never pushed for information. I never spoke of it, but my parents crossed my mind nearly every day following the extraordinary day the words of their existence were spoken to me.

I own a picture of both my parents. My aunt and uncle tell me I look very much like them. Frankly, I see to likeness at all. My golden, blonde locks would contrast greatly against my mothers dark, brown ringlets. Her stunning tan skin looked ghastly too pretty to compare to my ghost pale complexion. My eyes are a peculiar black, like a hollow tunnel with no end. Her eyes, evident even in a picture, a swift blue, the type a boy can stair into for hours. Even in a picture, my mother’s slim, tall form differed from my skinny, bony, petite self. I find that being tall gives one a sense of influence. This sense of authority I never felt. If they rumors of my mother and father ruling a far away land were true, I couldn’t possible be related. I couldn’t even lead a dog on a walk.

My father possessed some of the same features as me. My blonde waves come from his slightly thinning head. His eyes were the same dark color as mine, but even on him they looked bizarre. He was tall with a powerful heir just as my mother looked. They fit well together. If I were near them, I would stand out like a dog in a pack of ducks.

As much as I wished that I could see my parents, I really had very little in life to criticize. In my head, my parents were a dream. They were a happy world that just barely ventured beyond the contentment of my own life. My aunt, uncle, and cousin were family. I look at my aunt and uncle as parental figures. Aunt Julia and Uncle Emmett gave me everything I ever needed in life. Julia always picked me up from school when I was sick. She always made me fresh baked cookies when she sensed my sadness. Emmett would allow my cousin, Tristan, and I to triumph at any game. If the basketball had just missed the hoop, it would call for a redo.

My cousin always remained something for than a sibling-like part of the family. He was something like a best friend. We hardly ever fought, and had more things in common then not. It was scarcely acknowledged that we even lived in the same home, the kids at school thought us twins. We thought alike. Both of us played the same sports and excelled in the same classes. Tristan was my best friend growing up and we never felt the need to squabble over meaningless subjects resembling the way most siblings live.

I never missed out on a true family because the people I lived with were more supportive and considerate than many families. However, I still felt my entire life depended on my sixteenth birthday. I still considered the conversation I had with my aunt and uncle five years previous to be a dream, but I always dreamed that maybe I would get to meat my real parents. A small twinge of nervousness always made my stomach summer whilst I thought about the birthday coming in only a few weeks. What is it was only a cruel joke?

A mere week before my enchanting sixteenth birthday is when the subject of my age came up. I never spoke of it in fear of hurting my aunt and uncle’s feelings. I loved them to much to think I would have to leave soon. It was just past nine A.M. on a beautiful Sunday morning in late April. The sky outside was a light shade of blue. I could feel a slight breeze from the window as I washed my dish slowly in the sink. I glanced out at Tristan whom sat outside on the porch swing with his long time girlfriend Ivy. I heard her familiar laugh as he gently tickled her sides. I smiled turning to put my plate away and walk to the table. I heard him laugh along with her. His laugh was like his smile; it was very contagious.

I sat down at the table picking up my book from where I had left it. I opened it to the page I left off on, but put it down glancing across at my aunt and uncle’s faces. They wore what resembled fake smiles. I knew I was about to be spoken too so I placed my book down and waited patiently, but it took many minutes for my aunt to find the right words.
“Evalyn…” Julia started in her soft, calming voice. I was alarmed by the rare use of my full name. I didn’t dislike my full name, but I rarely used it. I always went by Eva or Evey. Julia closed her eyes for a full thirty seconds before opening her mouth to speak again. I was feeling impatient and curious as she closed her mouth and motioned for Emmett to speak. He put a hand through his dark brown hair before he spoke. Julia pursed her lips unable to think of the correct words.
“Evey,” Emmett said to break the tension hovering in the room. It was successful. He smiled and began, “Can you believe you’re turning sixteen next week?” He paused looking down upon me across the rectangular table as I gave a weak smile and nodded.
He continued, “It’s hard for us to think about this, but it will be up to you what you do after that day. You’re parents will be coming. You’ll have to make a lot of choices. I want to tell you before then that we think that you are responsible enough to make these choices without us.” His voice shook on the last few words.
I was startled. How could they imagine I would want to leave forever? I shook my head and spoke, “I’m not leaving forever. I want to see my birth parents, but remember you raised me.”
My Aunt Julia looked as if she had tears in her eyes. She blinked profusely before answering, “Eva, you’re my like my daughter. I can’t lose a child.”
I wasn’t ready for what happened next. Tears poured down Julie’s face. Emmett took a hand over her back and attempted to soothe her. I felt guilt slide into my body. I could feel my throat burn and I knew it was impossible for me to say something else. I knew that my parents must exist. It was not a trick. I had to make a choice, but there was no plausible way I could stay away from my true family for the rest of my life.

The relationships I had built with my cousin, aunt and uncle were such that even the incredible actions my parents might have done for their world would never reach. They didn’t watch me grow up. They didn’t help me grow up. All they left for me was confusion and a picture. They left with me a sense of mystification and I wanted to stay where I loved it. I watched my uncle wipe the last of Julie’s tears away and I watched the door slide open and Tristan walk inside. I observed the familiar way his tall, lanky figure bent down to hug his mom. He looked questioningly at his father whose eyes slid to me. Tristan moved the questioning glance to me. At that moment I lost it. I got up as tears slid down my cheeks. I ran swiftly upstairs, not even bothering to close my door as I flung myself onto my bed.

I never imagined at the age of 15 I would have to make a choice to leaving everything comfortable in life and living in a place that I knew nothing of. I could infer from the look on my uncle’s face that once I left there was no coming back. That was why my parents hadn’t come to get me or see me in the past 14 years of my life. I suddenly knew that this unknown world they lived in wasn’t a place I needed to go. I felt salt water from my eyes soil my pillow as my eyes grew puffy. I could hear footsteps on the stairs and if I could see out of my eyes I would have seen Tristan standing in the doorway.

It was only a few minutes before he sat down beside me and placed a hand on my shoulder. He looked at my gravely and said, “I can’t lose you.” He had tears in the corner of his eyes. The face I always saw as strong, was about to break down. That was when I knew that leaving could be the worst mistake of my life.
(To be continued)





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