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Leaving You: I

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I looked around the corner of the living room door.  She was sitting on the couch, crying.  My heart ached for her.  I heard him banging around in the kitchen, swearing every other word.  Then he came back into the living room, carrying a bottle of beer.
     "You can get out, or get this bottle of booze shoved up your godd*** a**."  He slurred and my brow furrowed even more.  My mother started crying again, and my father grumbled.
     As he walked to the center of the room, I saw my mother raise her arms in a protective "x" over her head.  They were covered in bruises.  I almost screamed.  It hurt so much to see such a beautiful woman in such a rough state.
     "Okay, Roger, I'm leaving!"  She wailed.  She pushed up from the couch, and came running to the door.  I flattened against the wall outside the door, and stood still.  She flew by me, and the biggest look of pain was on her face, a look I could never forget.

     I woke up the next morning, miserable.  I could picture my mom's usually gorgeous face last night; her blue eyes huge globes.  Her skinny blonde eyebrows curved like smiley faces and halfway up her forehead, her usually perfectly curled hair a rat's nest, clumps missing, probably torn out by my father's fists.
     I walked across the hall to my older sister Ashley's room.  She was home for the summer, from her college in LA.  She was going to be a sophomore this year, and decided to catch up with her old high school friends here in Santa Monica.
     "Hey Ash?"  I asked, poking my head in her room.  She was at her vanity, curling her hair.  Oh, and by the way, she is an exact duplicate of my mother.
     "What are you doing in here so early, Delia?"  I looked at the clock.  11:30.  Early?
     "It's almost noon, Ash."  She swore.  "What time did you get to bed last night?"  I asked
     "Like, 4."  She said, putting down the curling iron and picking up the eyeliner.  "I got together with Emily, and we went out for a bit."  I knew when she said "out", she meant clubbing.
     "So ... so you didn't here Mom and Dad fighting then?"  I asked, looking at my feet.
     Ashley looked up, concerned.  "Again?"  I nodded.  "Next time they start fighting, just leave the house, go to Abby's house or something."
     Tears rolled down my face.  I know, high school seniors aren't supposed to cry, but I couldn't help it.  When Dad is sober, him and Mom are good to each other.  And after he sleeps off the alcohol, Dad usually apologizes, and they kiss and make up, and promise to each other they won't fight ever again.  But this morning, Dad had just left for work, not even bothering to call Mom, or try to get ahold of her.
     "She's gone, you know."  Ashley looked at me.
     "Mom's not here?"
     "Ashley, think, what does gone usually mean?"  And that was when I turned into an emotional mess.  The tears flowed down my wet cheeks. Ashley stood up and hugged me very tight.  She hadn't done that for years.

     Ashley and I sat on her bed, her blackberry in her hands, ringing.  We had decided to try and call Mom.  It was on about the third ring, and she still hadn't picked up.  It was the fifth when she did.
     "Hello?"  Hearing her voice almost made me start crying again.
     "Mom!"  I yelled, feeling about six.  I sounded it too.
     "Oh, Delia.  Is Ashley there too?"
     "Yeah.  Mom, are you coming back?  I heard you and Dad last night.  I SAW you."  I said, everything rushing out.
     There was a long silence on the other line.  For a while I wondered if she had hung up, but I knew she hadn't.  I kind of hoped her answer would be no, so she could stay away from the man who abused her.
     "Well Delia,"  She sighed.  "I don't want to."
     "Then don't."  Ashley said.
     "I'm not going to."  She said, and my heart cracked in half.  Was she not coming back?
     I guess I got my wish.

     I was sitting on the beach a week later with Darren.  We aren't anything special, really.  Just friends.  We've been friends since we were in preschool.  We're together so much, people sometimes confuse us as siblings.  But those people are dumb, because we look nothing alike.
     I have sandy, blonde hair, that's kind of wavy, and goes to my shoulders.  My eyes are brown, and almond shaped.  I have a round face.  In short, I have my dad's eyes, my mom and dad's hair, and my own face.
     Darren's got blonde hair, that's regular blonde, not sandy, and it's long.  He has a warm smile, and laughs constantly.  He goes surfing too, it's like his favorite thing to do.  So we're at the beach a lot.
     "Okay so tell me again, your mom just left?"  He asked, eating a sandwich his mom made.
     "Well, no!"  I laughed.  Although it was a hysterical laugh, a laugh that meant and sounded like I was about to cry.  "You make it sound terrible.  Dad has been hitting her, and he told her to get out, so she did and isn't planning on coming back."
     "So she did leave."
     "Yeah."
     And the intensity of the week came back and hit me in the face.  I started crying all over again.  Except this time, there was someone there for me.  Darren wrapped his strong arms, toned from surfing, around my shoulders.  I laid my head back onto his chest and curled up into his arms.  We just sat there, intertwined.  I know that sounds really romantic, but it wasn't meant to be.  We were just friends.
     "I could just stay like this forever."  Darren said, sighing.  "I love you, Delia."
     I froze.  What?  We were only friends!  We couldn't be more!  It wasn't possible.  I thought he knew that.  But then, I forced myself to think like Ashley.  How do I feel about him?  I remember when a girl named Nicole asked Darren out.  He talked to me about it.  He really really wanted to say yes.  But I didn't want him to go out with her, so I told him to say no.  He did.  And I thought, right then; I think I love him too.
     "Darren?"
     "Hmm?"
     "I love you too."



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