Why Am I the One Always Packing Up My Stuff

September 8, 2012
The door slams. Zerina has said her good-byes, so my step-dad and I pull out of her driveway and head home. We merge onto the busy street, the lifeline of our city. We head up a hill has I hum to a song that I don’t know the words to. The street lights are blinding against the dark end-of-summer night.

Maybe that’s what did us in. Maybe he couldn’t see. It’s a blur. We spin out, flip, and everything goes into slow motion. The glass pieces reflect my face, but I can’t see clearly. The song on the radio fades out as the crash of our crumpling car hits the pavement. I look over at my step-dad and see his limp body, his eyes wide open, but they’ve lost their color. We can’t be more than two minutes over the hill from my house--so I start walking home. Trudging up the hill in my tired, barefooted, damaged body, I notice a trail of blood behind me. I put the tips of my fingers up to my forehead, I look at them, and they are covered with crimson colored blood, the moon reflected off of it.

I fall unconscious, hitting the cold, unforgiving pavement for the second time in under ten minutes.


I wake up reclined back in the passenger’s seat of a car that holds a familiarity I can’t quite put my finger on. The most intense migraine hits me.

“Where am I? Where are you tak--” When I get a good look at whose driving, I stop dead in my tracks, “Atticus?”

“Catalina.” He says with a hint in his voice that tells our story. Strangers, to friends, to more than friends, to strangers.

“Where are you taking me?”

“The hospital. Where else?”

“Why are you doing this for me?”

“I drove by and I couldn’t leave you. Not like that. Blood gushing out of your temple; I’m not leaving you to die.”

“Thanks I guess.” I learned over the time that I knew Atticus; cold and disconnected is the only way to make sure he stays interested.

I fell back in my blood loss-driven sleep.

Bright fluorescents blind me as I open my eyes. I’m being rushed down a hallway in a gurney, doctor’s and nurse’s muffled conversations above my head. I fade in and out as they disinfect and patch me up, and before I know it, I’m stuck in a hospital bed, presumably alone. But as I come to, I notice him there. Sitting at the left of me in a visitor’s chair.

“Your mom is coming. She was worried about you but went to work anyway,” my mom’s work schedule starts at 2 A.M. “...she’s on her way.”

“Okay. What are you doing here?”

“Waiting for you to wake up.”

“Why?” I’m angry now. I don’t know why. Old feelings, buried by time. Finally getting their fifteen minutes.

“Because I care about your well-being.”

“Bullshit you do! I don’t hear from you in almost a year and a half. We live down the street from each other dammit, and I never saw you. Never once.”

“I’m sorry, but you didn’t exactly keep in touch either.”

“Get out,” My rage is unbearable. “Get out now.” I point to the door and close my eyes. “I thank you for saving my life, but I still don’t want you here. I owe you nothing.”

“Fine. I don’t need you having an aneurism over this. But I’ll be back. I’ll be back for you, to show you that I’m not as bad a guy as you think I am...and maybe to show you that you’re not as good a girl as you thought you were.”

So he left, and I sat there, thinking to myself, why would he say that to me? I righted my wrongs. He never apologized. I apologized. I thought he hated me. But I kept my promise. If it made him happy, I’d step out of his life. So when he left, so did I. Just like I said I would. When he ended it I didn’t go down kicking and screaming as I wish I had, but I went quietly, because it’s what I promised, and it’s what he would have wanted.

I was left to be my own company, occasionally getting visits from nurses, vital checks, and meals. My mom came and went, I’m sure all she wanted to know was that I was alive. My dad never came. Nor my brothers. Only one of them has an excuse; living in Virginia is kind of an inconvenience when I live in Maine.

F*** family.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

EricaPersoluta said...
Sept. 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm
I couldn't stop reading. Please write more; I can't wait to read the rest of your story!
saintmikey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 14, 2012 at 9:54 am
Thanks. I'm submitting part two right now. :) 
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