January 21, 2011
By , Millersburg, OH
“That’s it. Take your time. You’re doing good sweetie,” my mother’s nurturing voice comforted me. I’m seven years old again and she’s teaching me how to ride a bike, without the training wheels. I gripped the handlebars tight and put my feet up on the pedals for a fifth try. She holds me from behind and says “Are you ready?” I reply “Yes” and she pushes me forward. I’m a little wobbly at first but I finally get control, I’m riding a bike all on my own. You should’ve seen the smile on her face.

I’m ten now and my mom’s gone , she’s in a better place. It’s just me and my dad, although sometimes it feels just like me. He’s at work most nights and sleeps during the day so we never spend time together anymore. I have a picture that I keep of my mom, she’s beautiful. Golden brown hair, ocean blue eyes, and that same sweet smile from three years ago. It’s summertime but I don’t go outside very much. I usually sit up in my room with my mom’s picture.

My dad got remarried about two years ago when I was thirteen, I’m fifteen, and things have only went down downhill since then. She’s mean to me all the time but my dad doesn’t care, I don’t think he even notices. She’s nothing like my mother, she’s not even pretty. He can’t love her, or at least not like he loved my mom. We were so happy back then, all three of us, It’s not fair that she had to die. Now I’m all alone.

I grabbed my backpack and started stuffing more clothes into it. I already had
two duffle bags packed and sitting by my bedroom door. Nobody was home, it was best to do it this way. Images of the night before kept flashing in my head. I just couldn’t stay here anymore, I had to leave before something worse happened. My eyes started tearing up and I tried to push them back but they started sliding down my pale freckled skin before I could stop them. I sat down on my bed for minute and let
it all out. My heart ached and hurt. The door swung open and he walked in, “Are you ready to go baby?” He picked up my bags but caught a glimpse of me just before he walked out. He stopped and sat them down. “Why are you crying,” He said and started walking towards me, “What’s wrong?” I stood up and wrapped my arms around him, burying my face into his chest, “I’m glad we’re doing this baby. I’m glad you’re taking me.” He wrapped his arms around me too and pull me close to him, “I love you baby doll.” “I love you too,” I said and meant it too. We kissed and let go of each other. He grabbed my bags and took them out to the car. I opened my dresser drawer, took out my mother’s picture, and left a note in it’s place. On the front it said “Dad, I’m sorry”. I was only sixteen.

I’m eighteen now and I never got taken back home. At first they were searching everyday, my picture was even in newspapers and on TV. I stayed hidden inside and with time things settled down. I only ever left the house at night to go outside and get some fresh air. I was left alone half of the day every six days a week while he was working. When he was home we usually had dinner, made love, watched TV, and talked until we fell asleep. We were happy and in love, so much in love. We planned on starting a family as soon as I got there but there’s no way I could’ve without us getting caught. I needed
shots and medical care but couldn’t leave the house. So we decided to wait until my eighteenth birthday. I’m six months in, it’s a boy.

We have a son whose almost two, I’m twenty. I go to school and work part time as an intern in an office, he just joined the marines. I didn’t even know about it until I got the letter in the mail. I was so upset, screaming and crying, “Why? Oh my God. Why are you doing this to me? Why?” I couldn’t believe he wouldn’t even consult me about it first. But he said we needed the money now that we had a kid and wanted more. He said it was for the best. All I could think of was.. You know, never coming back and he said that wouldn’t happen. I’m counting on him to come home to us, I cry and pray almost every single night. For now I don’t have to worry about that and I’m glad for he time we have together. I finally have the family I should’ve grown up with and I’m so happy.

We’re on our second kid. I’m twenty five and having my mid-midlife crisis. I’m only one month in and things are already stressful, and the recent events of my life are not helping. Our son just started his third year of elementary. He’s doing pretty well for the most part but he struggles to keep up with the other kids. They want to move him to another class but he says he doesn’t want to, I don’t think it’s a good idea either. I got my GED and am working on getting my diploma in college for medicine. And my husband’s on a one month notice to leave for Iraq. I didn’t ever think he would have to go, especially when I needed him most. I feel like my life’s speeding up and leaving me behind.

He lied to me, he never came back. It’s been ten years since I kissed him goodbye and twelve years since he past on, he never got to see his daughter. I’m thirty seven, our son’s nineteen, and our daughter’s eleven. I work in a nursing home as a nurse during the day, take care of my daughter, and cry myself to sleep every night. I’m becoming my dad and I can’t do anything about it. Only difference is that I still make an effort to spend time with my daughter. I know how he felt now. How he was all alone, just like how I felt when I was still living there. He’s gone and I can’t do anything about it. I don’t even want to go on anymore. But for now I have to.

I’m forty eight now. My kids are all grown and have families of their own now. I’m alone most of the times. Sometimes my daughter or son comes to check on me. I stay locked up in my house all day and looked at my mother’s picture. I just don’t know what to do anymore, I have nothing left.

My name is Catherine Sophia King, daughter of Jackllyn and Harold King. I was born on May 26th, 1962 in Bells, Tennessee. My mother died when I was eight in a car accident, she was hit head on by a drunk driver and was killed instantly. I ran away when I was sixteen with a thirty three year old man named Ronny Young to Monroe, Georgia. We had two kids, Will and Marilyn Young. He died a month before our second was born. I never went back home to Tennessee, they never knew what had become of me. My life wasn’t exactly how I had imagined it. There were times I was happy but more sad things occurred more than happy things. My kids soon grew up and moved out leaving me behind. I quit working and even stopped going outside of the house. Then on August 29th, 2010 I committed suicide by hanging myself, I was forty eight. I never went to heaven and I never went to hell. No, when I woke up I was seven again, and my mom was teaching me to ride a bike..

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