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Searching For A Moment
"Searching For A Moment"
I remember sitting on a rocking chair on the porch. It was hot even though the sun had gone down. You gotta love this Florida weather. I could literally feel my pores opening. Ekk. My Nana was on the other side of the glass door watching TV in the cool A/C. The light from the TV bleeding onto the porch.
I stayed rocking on the chair enjoying the quiet, just breathing. Trying not to think about home, about what I'd been though. It felt good to be away from...everything. My phone vibrated and I feel a pang at my chest when I see the name flash on the screen; it's him. I'm taken aback because you'd think by now we were done with all these games. I stare at the words why haven't we talked and they make my eyes sting. You're kidding me right? I type back. Was he really asking me that? I hear something distant on the TV and sigh loudly. I could just not answer, keep rocking on my chair and stay in this peaceful state or answer. Let's face it I wouldn't be able not to answer. I look at where I've ended up again. The leaves on the palm trees move just slightly as if they were mocking me. The upstairs neighbors have their grandchildren over I can hear them playing with things that sound like marbles, hitting and rolling on the floor. The sun is going down it's almost dark, but the sky is still that pale blue not yet black. When the kids stop playing I can hear the crickets and feel the wind rustling the palm trees. The sliding door behind me opens I feel the annoying squeak of it, someone needs to grease it or something. The light goes on.
"You don't have to sit in the dark," my Nana tells me. She has these ridiculous wire rimmed glassed that look like the bottom of bottles her hair short in a frizzed bob. I almost wanted to laugh, but I was irritated she didn't understand that, that's exactly what I wanted, to be in the dark, alone, in peace. "It's so hot here," she says fanning herself and I stay quiet, frustrated that she doesn't take the hint and leave me alone. The moment is ruined. The peace is gone. I can feel the chill and buzzing of the A/C coming into the porch from the door my Nana has open. I look back at my screen and type back You know why. And he does. He has to know. I put my knees on top of the rocking chair and close my eyes trying to get the place I was in back. It was one of those rare moments when nothing significant is happening, but you're happy just the same breathing easily looking at the sun set. It the feeling of ease and innocence. It was one of those moments where you would feel like a kid again. but now I hear baseball on TV and the lights are on and my Nana is complaining and my phone vibrates again and I already know he's stupid enough to tell me he has no idea why we haven't spoken.
My Nana closes the window which annoys me more so I narrow my eyes at her hoping she'll get it. I want to be alone. It was bad enough having to spend a summer here. Being abandoned by my parents because apparently I'm too much of a handful and they can't deal with me anymore. It was bad enough for God's sake, but now this?
I go back inside because it's useless and sit on the white couches no one sits in and I guess that's why they stay white. I get comfortable rubbing the soles of my feet on the white fabric seeing my Nana cringe, but I don't care. I smile to myself instead. My grandfather catches me from his chair where he has just the right angle to the TV and the kitchen. He raises his eyebrows because he knows why I'm doing it and that I want to spite her. I want her to want me gone. I finally look at my phone it says, no why? I roll my eyes. Of course he'd say that. I don't know if he's really stupid or he pretends to be. I shake my head put my phone on the table and raise my palm to my grandfather.
"Keys," I say with one word because unlike her he understands. My grandfather's still looking at the screen then looks me in the eye. His eyes have a touch of green I've never seen before and I'm caught off guard because he's trying to find something, he's searching for something inside me that'll give away what I'm thinking, how I'm feeling, but I give him nothing. Without looking away he hands them to me. I close my hand around the cold metal keys.
"Where are you going? It's late," my Nana says. It wasn't. It was barely past eight. I clutch the keys hard knowing I might draw blood.
I turn around slowly and look at her. "To church," I say so she shuts up. The whole summer it's all she's wanted me to do. Go to church, repent for my sins. She knows I'm lying, but doesn't say anything. I take my phone from the table and walk out before she has the chance to come up with anything. I get into the car knowing she hates it and turn on the CD player. It plays some old 30's song or at least I think it's from the 30's. I know it's old.
"Ugh," I say out loud and take the CD out throwing it in the backseat. I put the keys into the ignition and just go. I have no idea where I'm going and suddenly I don't care. I can't let go of the memories. I can't get rid of the fact that my parents gave up on me the way they did that he would give up on me because he did too. I look at my phone their are more texts. I can see that, but I don't want to read them. I'm tired. I just keep driving and before I know it I'm by the beach. My grandparents use to bring me to the private part of the beach and show me the mansion back when I use to come be with them by choice. I must have been ten. I laugh out loud because I always said I'd live in one of these houses someday. Yeah right. They were the most beautiful houses I'd ever seen. The road was small here just a two way street to my left were the houses to right of me was the beach each house had there own little gate claiming that they owned it. It wasn't a menacing looking gate though I could easily jump over it without even trying and I wasn't athletic. It was actually more like a door than a gate. I hear the crash of the waves onto the shore smell of sea salt calms me down. I slow down because the turns are surprisingly sharp. You'd think I was on a mountain or something. I turned the headlights on because the sky was now a dark blue. I saw another turn ahead and felt my phone vibrate again. I threw it to the backseat with the CD and accelerated. I bit my lips. I needed to push against the limits of my life, before it's walls crumbled and collapsed on top of me. I was speeding Before my mind had registered what I was doing my foot was already on the petal accelerating, my adrenaline spiked and I found the moment I had lost back at the house when Nana interrupted me, but it wasn't the same moment. It held no traces of the childlike innocence I wanted back, yet I felt calm and free. I kept accelerating feeling the wind in my hair and I found myself closing my eyes for a split second to take it all in a smile on my lips. There was nothing like driving by the beach alone with nothing but the sound of the waves and the wind in your ears. I opened my eyes and that's when I saw it there was a car coming towards me. A bright red Audi. My pulse spiked again with a new kind of adrenaline and the driver honked at me like an idiot like I can stop what's going to happen next. I looked at the speedometer.
"F***!" I screamed stamping my foot on the breaks and closing my eyes again because I sure as hell didn't want to be awake for what came next and I waited thinking about how my Nana would probably say this was punishment for not going to church. Then there was a loud crunch of metal meeting metal and everything went black.
I heard her voice before I even opened my eyes. I guess I wasn't dead after all because there's no way my Nana would be allowed wherever I end up. I opened one eyes tentatively crossing my fingers that maybe visiting hours were over and I'd imagined the whole thing. I was alone in the hospital the smell of disinfectant hit me hard making me want to gag. The walls were beige which surprised me since they always looked white in the movies. I could hear voices someone had to be standing right by the door. I tried moving, but it was like needles were sticking into my body. "Ugh," I winced. I felt like s*** and then it clicked. What had happened the accident. I heard the heart machine beep faster then the voices were suddenly inside the door. My Nana came in first frantic holding her arms out at me like she wanted to hug me but thought better of it after looking at me. I must have looked pretty damn bad. Next to her was my grandfather his lips in a tight line and then the doctor a man around my father's age early forties with light chestnut hair and blue eyes. He looked at the monitor then back at me. "You were very lucky Fay," he said, but the way he was looking at me didn't exactly scream that he was happy about seeing his patient alive and well.
"You had us so worried!" My Nana interrupts and I kind of just stare at the three of them and we stay like this for a couple of awkward seconds.
I look back at the doctor. "So what is it? Broke my ass? Collarbone? What is it?" I ask like I don't give a damn about anything and I can see my grandfather narrow his eyes at me.
The doctor purses his lips not at all amused by me. "You cracked some ribs and have a concussion, but other than that you're fine. You were lucky."
"How's the guy I hit?" I asked and this time I'm worried because he might not have been so lucky. The doctor lets me sweat it out for a couple more seconds until he finally tells me what happened.
"He's fine too he didn't even lose consciousness. It was you we were worried about. You were pretty banged up. You were both lucky. It was an accident that could have been easily avoided if you'd simply been under the speed limit."
"What are you now a cop?" I snap back at him. Who did he think he was? He was suppose to cure me and send me on my way not judge my life.
"I'm simply stating that we could have avoided all this if you'd been more careful."
"And I could have avoided this conversation had you not miraculously passed your MCAT's," I say back and he literally snaps his mouth closed. Maybe I shouldn't have said that he could come back and inject me with god knows what. He turns to my grandparents finally.
"I'll leave you three alone," he said before leaving.
"You had us so worried!" my Nana screams in my face.
"I know I'm sorry," I start to say, but she interrupts me again because that's just what she loves to do.
"You shouldn't have been driving. It was late already, it was late," she says and I'm not even sure she's talking to me anymore. At this point she was probably consoling herself. She felt guilty.
"Let mw talk to Fay," my grandfather said touching the sides of my Nana's arms. She looked at him reluctantly. She almost looked like a little girl, cheeks red stray tears on her eyes. I tolled my eyes drama queen. "It's fine," he assures her and she nodes walking outside of the room and closing the door. The room then got uncomfortably quiet. He was going it again looking at me trying to figure it all out. Trying to see how to fix me, but I wasn't damn broken so he could just keep on searching, searching for something that wasn't there: explanations.
"What happened out there?" he said and this was honestly a conversation I didn't want to have. Not now not while I was on painkillers.
"It was an accident..." I start and this time he interrupts me with a snap.
"Don't give me that bullshit Fay. What were you thinking!" he roars and my eyes go wide because he has never spoken to me like this in my entire life. I always went to my grandfather when I needed an ally against my Nana, against my parents, against the world.
"What was I thinking?" I say softly closing my eyes and shaking my head.
"I'll tell you what you were thinking Fay absolutely nothing!" he spat and every word hurts because it's not true. The problem wasn't that I wasn't thinking it was that I had thought to much.
"You could have gotten yourself killed!" he says and I look at him as though he were a stranger because it's not in the tone that says you were so reckless you could have gotten yourself killed it was in the tone that was accusing me of trying to kill yourself and almost succeeded way. He was considering me actually wanting to kill myself.
"I did not!" I clarify and he sits down straddling a chair like he's a teenager instead of a senior citizen with a few strands of hair on his head and a beer belly.
"Fay you need to tell me if this has anything to do with your parents if this is a cry for attention."
At the mention of my parents my cheeks flame because I don't want to talk to them. I don't even want to hear about them, but I ask anyway because I want to know. "Are they coming?"
He hesitates pursing his lips probably debating what sharp objects are near and what's the likelihood that I'd kill myself right then and there from the pain. I roll my eyes to cover my tears because although I'm not suicidal I am hurt.
"No," he says finally. "They think you're being overly dramatic."
"Oh I'm being dramatic!" I put my hands in the air. "I'm not the one who shipped there kid of the whole summer because of a suspension!"
"Expulsion," My grandfather corrects and I narrow my eyes at him. He just shrugs like he's stating the facts how they are.
"Whatever," I say crossing my arms because he's right it was an expulsion. Like I f*ing care.
"So, I'm going to ask you one more time. What happened out there," he says it real slow so I understand and I stare at him for a while letting him get a good damn look at me.
"I was tired. I went for a ride and I speed through that stupidly narrow road I hit a car the end." I tell him and he looks at me unsure.
"I'm not f*ing suicidal," I say and I know I'm being a b**** I'm cursing at my grandfather for God's sake, but I was going for effect. I wanted him of my back. I didn't try to kill myself. He nods his head giving up and mumbles that I should rest before leaving me alone.
I'd been in bed rest for a week now in the room my grandparents claim is mine, but I don't really feel it. Feels like any old guest room to me, but whatever. My phone buzzes for the millionth time today because apparently everyone knows about the accident. Some people really do still think I'm suicidal others think I'm just reckless. I don't think I'm either. I look down at it and almost gag. It's him. I heard about the accident. Are you okay? How are you feeling? Well I don't feel like a bundle of sunshine and rainbows, but I'm sure he doesn't want to hear that or about how the pain medications have terrible side effects that include insomnia and nausea. Or how my Nana is making me drink tea. I hate tea. I stare at the phone and bit my lips. I've been better you could say. A few seconds later he types back Haha I can imagine. Anything I can do? Do? Like what send me a fruit basket. No nothing you can do... I type and then he goes and does it. I miss you babe. When can I see you? See me? Miss me? Just like that? I shake my head because this is how it's just always going to be . It's this dance we do this constant typing of words and empty promises. Texting is just to damn easy. It's easy to think it's easy to screw with someone's mind. It's more of a game, but when it comes down to it texts are just words. You're full of s***.. I write back for the hell of it because I'm done playing games with him. I bit my lips reassuring myself that I'm making the right choice. I stare at my phone for a moment longer and dial a number I've known by heart my whole life I drum my fingers nervously on the bed frame. Pick up pick up damn it.
"Hello?" says the voice and I swallow hard feeling the saliva thick in my mouth. Maybe that's a side effect too?
"Mom?" I say my voice cracking. It sounds like a question even though I know well who it is and I curse myself because I'm getting emotional and I've only said one word.
"Fay..." she says dragging out the syllables in a way that screams disappointment. She might as well have said oh it's you. "What's this regarding?" she asks like I'm her client, but worst because it sounds cold and leaves a hollowness in my stomach.
"I was just calling...because I miss you and...you haven't called me since I'm here even though I was in an accident..." I say pausing after every couple of words so that I don't choke up.
"Well I wouldn't consider it an accident if you initiated it," she says all cool I can imagine her now with some stupid pink suit staring at her nails.
"You realize I'm you daughter right? I could have died!" I scream. Did I mention anxiety was also a side effect?
"Don't be dramatic," she cuts through my words like glass and I bit my lip hard probably drawing blood but I don't taste it because I'm trying to hold back my tears.
"Fay you were being reckless."
" I was sending a message," I mumble bitterly because maybe I was.
"What message?" she asks and I can see her narrowing her eyes.
The message? The message was that I could be free from all of it whenever I wanted that I didn't need her or my dad or him. I didn't need anyone because no one had been there for me anyway not when I needed them, not now making me disgusting tea. I could have said any of this but instead I said "That I can do whatever I want when I want." This sounded a lot more pettier than I wanted to, but I didn't care.
"What a message," she said sarcastically and then waited a few seconds to throw her punch line. "A stupid message. For once Fay just take responsibility for your actions and ..."
I shake my head and wipe my tears because now I'm not hurt I'm just pissed. Take responsibility? For what? "No," I snap "You take f*ing responsibility. So I got expelled so what? Big whoop. Where the hell have you been? Where have you been my entire life?" I scream and this time I'm sobbing because it's the truth. "I needed you and you weren't there it's your damn responsibility to take care of me."
She's quiet for a while and finally says. "You're not a little kid anymore Fay. You can take care of yourself."
I shake my head and click the phone shut to at least get the satisfaction that I hung up first and then start sobbing because it's not fair. Any of it. I hear a knock on the door and see my Nana standing there. She comes closer to me and I let her hold me while I sob and for once she doesn't say anything and when there are no more years she gets up and leaves me alone. Just like that. I get up slowly and look at myself in the mirror, my eyes are puffy from my crying and I take a tissue blowing my nose. Screw them. All of them. I think to myself and go into the living room. My grandfather is watching his baseball game a bottle of beer in his hand. He's leaning forward like something important is happening, but I honestly don't get what.
"Jesus did you see that?" he says, but no ones listening. He leans back on the chair and I lean on the wall watching him. My Nana is sitting on one of those white couches crossing her legs. I look at her feet but they barely touch the couch they're small and delicate unlike mine, maybe that's why she's allowed to sit on them and I'm not. She's knitting something god knows what she's always knitting something, but I never see what it ends up becoming. Occasionally she looks at the TV her glasses low on her nose when my grandfather mutters something, but then she goes back to knitting. None of them see me watching them and I smile at the scene, but I can't say why. My nana finally sees me standing there watching them.
"Hello," she says then pats the couch next to her. "Come sit," she says like nothing happened like I didn't break down moments ago. I go to the couch and sit tentatively. This has to be a trick. I sit and she looks up at me again. "Get comfortable. You're to stiff," she tells me and I lay back and can't help putting my feet on the damn couch. I look for a reaction but she only gives me yarn. "You want me to teach you how to knit? Every woman should know how," she says.
I take the needle and yarn from her and smile because for once this is exactly where I want to be. I found the moment I was looking for. A moment of bliss. "I'd love to," I say finally.