Goodbye

August 11, 2012
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First, I want you to know that, to quote Mom and Dad, “This isn’t your fault.” Sure, this is a runaway note, not a divorce speech, but still, it has nothing to do with you. Other people wouldn’t pin me down as a runaway. I have no piercings or tattoos, I’m fine at school, and our family isn’t dissolving like tissue paper in water. They expect me to fit in with the rest of the perfect household, with you and Mom and Steve, but I can’t. I guess I’m the only tissue person in the family, disintegrating until the only thing left of me is a soggy clump of tree pulp. You were my sun, you know, drying me off and all. You would come into my room sometimes and sit on my bed, putting your dusty sneakers on my handstitched quilt because I didn’t mind and mom hated it. That’s how you and I would rebel: quiet and subtle. We would talk together for hours at length. I remember the time you told me you liked Billy Hamilton, and, though you’re better than him, I thought it was sweet. And then the other time you explained why you were afraid of clowns. Then there was the time you asked me if I hated Steve, and I lied and said I didn’t because I refused to cry in front of you, yell at you, or hate in front of you, but I do hate him. I loathe him, plain and simple (though I'm sorry to add another case to the evil-stepparent stereotype). Steve isn’t evil, but he’s poison to me. I can take him in measured doses, but I can’t stand the thought of another two years with him. Two more years of “What’s happening, Nellatron?” and “Don’t raise your voice at me, Nellie” would kill me, I swear. You know how I hate nicknames. That doesn’t make it any easier to leave you behind.

I was going to tell you all of this right before I left. Remember when I said I was working on my Gatsby essay? Well, I lied then, too. I was composing a letter to explain everything to you... a letter that I found in my jean pocket a couple minutes ago. In it, I say I can come back for you, when you’re older and if you feel like I felt, but you’ll never know now. Maybe that’s for the best. Or maybe I should go back home, just for a little bit, to explain. Home, to our blue Victorian house with white paint detail, and black shuttered windows that I always thought looked like eyes. Home, to the place that no longer feels like home. We could still make those buttery sugar cookies one more time together and eat them in the tree house. And when we’ve finished the last of the crumbs and our fingers are all greasy, we could accidentally touch Mom’s silk. Accidentally.
Oh God, I never said goodbye.





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