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Left Off the Christmas Card
“In my beginning is my end”
DIVORCE. It always seems like it happens to one of your friends, or cousins, but I never imagined it would happen to me. This isn’t one of those happy little books that ends with everyone smiling.
But, that comes later. I’ll start from the beginning.
“Amber! You’re going to be late for school!” yelled my mom.
From that moment I knew something was wrong. My mom never told me to go to school. Even if was already an hour late. Which I wasn’t today. I was actually going to be early if my mom made me leave now. Hmm, whatever, I may as well go.
“Better get to school honey,” my dad said.
Typical dad. I jumped at the sound of his deep voice, stumbling out of my thoughts.
“You okay there?” my dad questioned my sanity.
“Uhh…yeah dad…I better get to school. Don’t want to be late,” I said as cheerfully as I could.
I ran upstairs to my large room. It’s decorated light green with a huge window overlooking a big patch of woods. I love sitting on the built-in window seat and gazing at the green and brown woods. My dad used to tell that if anything dropped out of that window, it’d be gone forever. I grabbed my backpack, tripped over my untied shoes, and came back downstairs. I paused at the wide entrance to our little kitchen, watching my mom. She was cutting onions, and crying.
“Mom, are you okay?” I walked over to her; I had never seen my mom cry, not once in my sixteen years.
“Yes, it’s just these onion fumes getting to me,” She replied back casually, even smiling.
“Oh, well okay I’m going now,” I was glad she wasn’t really crying.
“Okay have a good day at school Amber!” She hollered as I ran out the door.
I just got my drivers license last month, and I was so glad to have it. You don’t know how embarrassing it was to have my mom drop me off at school everyday and say ‘I love you’. I drive a bug, its bright orange. You can spot it miles away.
With my window all the way down, I let the cool fall breeze swerve in and out of my long, wavy, dark brown hair. Some upperclassmen, who were walking down the street beside me, whistled a low tune to me. I turned my head so they wouldn’t see red come up on my cheeks. I arrived at school, early. I had never been early to school; I didn’t know what to do, so I sat in my bug and played music. Mostly music by Katie Costello, but it depends on my mood, today I was content.
At my school, Poplar Buff, we don’t have many cliques, and we don’t get in fights with each other often.
As I was listening to Katie Costello, my friend Drake came up.
“Hey Amber, I need some help,” he said, a little quickly,” You know about girl stuff, right?”
“Well I am a girl, Drake,” I exclaimed.
“Yeah, but I need to know how to ask out Chelsea,” He added more quickly than before.
“Oh, duh. Took you long enough. You and Chelsea are the only two left to hook up!” I look incredulously at him. He’s liked Chelsea, one of my best friends, since 5th grade.
Drake blushed a little,” Yeah, you know, you are the match maker around here. I’m just glad you found a guy yourself. I thought you were going to be single forever!”
I slapped Drake lightly in the shoulder and felt the heat inch its way up my face. I have serious blushing issues.
“Aah! There she is! Do I look okay? Do I have anything in my teeth?” he kept firing questions at me.
“DRAKE! You look fine!!” I told him and gave him a slight push towards her.
“Wish me luck,” Drake said as he walked off.
I sighed to myself as he walked off. It’d been two months since I first hooked up with Alex. He’s a year older than me and taller by about 4 inches. I love him so much! He has the brownest hair, a short scrappy cut framing his carefully carved face. He has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen. They remind me of soft rolling waves at a beach on a sunny day.
But when he’s sad or troubled, his eyes are like an open book. They get a clouded gray.
* * * * * * * * * *
The day went past in a rapid blur, and before I know it, I’m in my car talking to Alex.
“Hey, so whacha doin tomorrow?” Alex uses a lot of bad grammar.
“Nothing, you?” I asked excitedly.
“Same. Hey we need to hang out! You wanna go to the new club, Sparx?” He wanted to know if I wanted to go to a club with him! I was about to break the steering wheel I was grasping tightly.
“Yeah! Duh! Of course! God, what should I wear?!” I replied excitedly.
“Uh, ‘kay I’ll pick you up at seven tomorrow, and, baby, you look good in anything,” Alex winked as he walked off.
And a tidal wave of bright red.
“Love is like a flower, soon it will fade…”
I wore a short silky purple dress that draped over my curves. Not that I had many at all. I had on dark purple converse, and purple glitter crawling up my long legs and arms. It shadowed my huge grayish-golden eyes and made them sparkle.
It was 6:50 and I ran downstairs.
“Hey Hun, where do you think you’re going at this hour?” Something was seriously wrong. My mom never cared where I went, ever. Even if a bunch of drunk guys showed up on our porch asking for me, she’d let me speak to them without questions. I wondered what was up?
“Alex is picking me up at six to go to Sparx,” I said uneasily.
“Oh, you mean the new club downtown?” She said.
“Yeah,” I held my breath, I was even more nervous than before.
“Okay, but be back before twelve,” My mom told me sternly.
“Uh, yeah, sure mom,” I said, relieved.
It was 7:05, where is he? I wandered around the house. My dad told me to settle down and watch TV, but I just couldn’t. Alex had never been late for any one of our dates. 7:20. How can he be 20 minutes late? I decided to take dad’s advice and watch TV. I watched House for about 20 minutes, but I couldn’t stay still any longer, he was 40 minutes late. I decided to call him. It didn’t even ring. His phone was off. Funny, he never has his phone off. I understood now. He blew me off. I let the shock of it all sink in. And the tears ran down my cheeks like falling pearls.
I ran all the way up to my room, it was 8:30 by then. I ripped off my dress and flung my shoes across my room. I somehow managed to get my PJ’s on, but they were soaking wet by the time I limped into my cozy bed. I cried myself to sleep.
* * * *
“But I don’t want to go to school!!!” I screamed at my mom.
“Well you sure as hell can’t stay here!” my mom yelled back from downstairs.
“Suzy you’re being too hard on the girl, didn’t you hear what happened?” my dad calmly stated.
“I don’t care, someone needs to take responsibility around here!” my mom bellowed at my dad.
“Don’t use that tone of voice with me Suzy Hermena!” my dad yelled back.
And so that went on and off at all hours. I wept and wept all day. By lunch my eyes were really swollen from the tears.
The doorbell rang, and I had almost forgotten that today was a half day.
“Is Amber there?” I heard a male voice ask. Alex.
“She’s busy right now, Alex,” my dad said sourly to him, exaggerating his name.
“Oh, can you tell her I dropped by?” He desperately asked.
“Yeah sure, once she stops crying and unlocks her door,” my dad said darkly while he closed the door.
My whole jaw dropped down, and I almost burst out laughing. My dad had never said anything that mean to anyone. I guess he was taking this just as personally as I was, after all, Alex was my first boyfriend. And I emphasize the past tense. God I love my dad.
And the yelling started again.
“Why didn’t you just let him speak to her!?” My mom screeched.
“Because I want to PROTECT my only child!” My dad yelled back.
On and on about every little thing.