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My New Life
Author's note: The idea originated from a new show on ABC entitled Suburgatory, about a new teenager that moves somewhere else and hates her new life, the story is based on her making fun of her neighbor's different ways. The plot of my story has nothing to do with the show, but the idea did come to me from that show.
Moving to a new school was not the hard part, nor was making friends. In fact, those were the only easy parts. The first hard thing was choosing a house to live in; we only needed two people to house: my father and I. My mother was in a mental hospital because she was crazy, and I say that about a lot of people, that they are crazy. She really is, crazy. She has to be chained down almost all hours of the day, except for when she is eating, and she hates everyone in the world and thinks they are all going to kill her, she thinks I am some kind of Nazi, she hates me. My father tells me that she loves me, but her craziness has taken her over, and she died many years ago, but there is still a phony living in her, impersonating her, and for me not to believe anything she says, because she honestly has no idea what she is saying. As you can probably tell, this is a sensitive subject for me, so I am going to stop talking about her right now, because you know more about her than most of my really good friends do.
Anyways, moving into the house was kind of hard. My father wanted a huge grass field in the front yard and a pool in the backyard, with a diving board. He didn’t care about what the inside looked like, as long as it wasn’t falling apart, which, where I moved to, all the people are rich, you see my father sold his company recently, and he hated where we had been living, so that is why we moved here, it had always been his dream to move here. I wanted a house with two large bedrooms, I like my space. I also wanted a nice kitchen, one that we could actually walk through; our old kitchen could fit one person in it at a time, if you were fat: you were doomed, in fact, one time my Uncle Bernie came over. Uncle Bernie is quite obese I must say, so when he tried to make his way toward the fridge, he became squished between the edge of the dining table and the island in the middle of the kitchen, and yes, we had to butter the sides in order to get him out. He was red, either from embarrassment or because his circulation was being cut off. Either way, it was a funny time for everyone but himself.
So, for these reasons, I wanted a house with a large kitchen that even Uncle Bernie could actually fit through. I didn’t care whether or not the house was two stories; this was the least of my worries. The things I really wanted though were two large bedrooms and a large kitchen. The only thing my father and I argued about was whose room was whose. I of course, received the smaller one, because my father used the classic comeback, “my house, my rules, when you start paying for a house… you can start making more decisions of your own.” I can’t wait to be able to torcher my kids like that, to be able to have that power, he was so lucky that he could actually say that. Sometimes I gave him the evil eye and then he laughed back, we both knew the whole reason that he was using the comeback was because he could, and because he possessed that power.
The first day in the house was actually quite un-nerving and nerve wrecking, the gardener next door happened to take out his handy dandy mown-lower and mown the lawn, the owners of the house weren’t actually there, and they had a really loudly barking dog, so you can see how that turned out. That was only one of many things that set me off tight, because you see, in order to block out the tremendous amount of noise, I turned some good music up really loud, it was not heavy metal or anything nasty like that, it was actually the number one song on one of those music websites. I played it at the highest volume my computer could go. All of a sudden, I heard a really loud pounding knock on the door downstairs, and it wasn’t once, or twice, or three times even, it was more like twelve times, or at least until my dad answered the door, and he can be a really slow walker. It gave me a headache just listening to all those knocks. I finally heard my dad calling my name, so I paused the song and ran down the stairs, making sure I slammed my door, just to add effect, it seemed to work. I ran down the stairs, with a slight smile on my face that said, “I’m guilty and I know it, but I have a good poker face and I can play this game,” or maybe the face said something different, but this is how I tried to come across. My dad just waved his arm over to the old, short, white-haired, hunch backed lady as if showing her at an art gallery, more like museum though. I directed my attention to her, held my hands in a sweet way and pretended that I was listening and honestly cared about what she had to say.
“You are playing your music much too loud; you woke me up from my afternoon nap.” She sounded hoarse, as if she had been sick for longer than a month, but she seemed used to it and cleared her throat.
“Right, sorry about that, it’s just that the barking dog next door was giving me a headache, did that not wake you up?” I said this in a way that meant: Why are you getting mad at me when there is another guilty person right over there? Do you think I honestly care about what you have to say? Or at least this is how I tried to come across.
“No, it most certainly did not, that dog, that sweet dog, is practically my sound soother, but you, oh you, you are my nightmare.” She pointed her scrawny and wrinkly finger at me; I called them raisin fingers because they reminded me of raisins. I tried to act offended from her comment,
“Oh dear, I am a nightmare now? How about a Welcome to the neighborhood, or are you too grouchy and stubborn to even think about doing that?” I said this with what I called swag, which is acting like you meant to say everything you just said, and had planned it for a while, and the sentence sounded perfectly together and made an awesome comeback.
“I may be an old lady, but at least I have the courtesy to keep my house quite.” She tried to say this with swag but failed to do so, I actually had wished that I could have gotten it on recording because it was hilarious. I waved good-bye to her as if I had just made a new best friend, but really, I had just made a new worst enemy.
The next thing that really upset me was the sound of the ice cream man coming through the neighborhood. Now, normally I would be totally stoked from just the sound of the truck driving by, but this ice cream truck driver was wasted out of his mind, shouting our curse words and flipping people off, and when a child ran after the truck to ask for a trade of ice cream and money, the man stopped, backed up quickly, got out of his chair to take the kid’s money, and just left, just like that, he just left. He did this extremely fast too. I was surprised he could keep his balance being wasted and all. The child was crying after words, saying that he had saved up that money for two months and this and that. I felt horrible for him and I also wanted him to shut up, so I grabbed the ten bucks out of my wallet, ran down the stairs, sprinted to him, and gave him the money without saying a word. He just looked up at me as if I had just given him the most precious thing he had ever seen in his entire life, I just smiled and walked away. No thank-you, nothing.
The next thing that happened was not expected, although neither was the ice cream man part. All of a sudden, I was on my computer and I see something flash by in the backyard, I face the backyard when I sit down by my desk, and it is the way it has always been. I looked to the side for a little while to try and see if I had caught my mother’s craziness. Soon enough, the black blob chased across the cement in the back again, and onto the tiny patch of grass that was about as big as a small bed. It went pee and then laid down in it, yes; it just laid down in its pee. I decided to help yet another creature in the neighborhood. I ran down the stairs and into the kitchen, grabbed some bread from the pantry and hurried outside. The dog came running up to me, at first I thought all it wanted was the bread, but then I saw it going straight for my face and I got worried. The next thing I knew, I was on my but with a large amount of pain from hitting it on the cement. The dog was still on top or me, licking my face to death, I waved the piece of bread all around in the air, everywhere, but he couldn’t have cared less about the bread.
I had to find out whose dog this was who had cause my bruised butt. I sort of limped to get up and then checked its collar, it had escaped from the house next door, oh great.
I called the number on its collar and neither of the numbers would answer, so I decided to do something awful and I now regret it, but I decided to throw the dog over the light brown fence that separated our houses. I didn’t literally throw it over, I picked it up and let it jump out of my hands to the house next door and onto its grass, where it could kill the gardener for all I cared, and I just didn’t want any more bruises.
So in my very first day there, I had made an old lady enemy, an adorable ice cream best friend and a relationship with the dog next door.
The next hard part was getting my cell phone, that should have been an easy part but, some things went wrong… It all started the second I walked into that store with my father. We were planning on getting the best cell phones we could buy in order to celebrate our new lives. We both picked smart phones. The ringer up at the cash register told us that since we were new to the area, we each had to pay one hundred dollars more plus the price of all the plans and then the cell phone, and this was also to transfer our numbers in the system. My dad gave her the one hundred dollars, figuring he would have to do it any how. She then charged my dad eight hundred dollars not including the stupid little transferring fee. My dad pointed out that the price on the box in the store was less than she had ringed it up for, so she told us that those were the cell phones that were on display, and that she had to charge us and extra two hundred for new phones. We ended up just leaving the place and walking into a different store, she kept the two hundred dollar transferring fee as a souvenir of the scam she said we had to pay for.
The next cell phone store we walked into had something different posted on the front window, instead of saying “authorized retailer,” it just said the title of the company, and so we went with it. As we walked in, people all around the store stopped what they were doing, made eye contact with us and greeted us.
We looked all around the store for the cell phones we had attempted to buy before. Once we found them, we rang them up at the cash register. My father asked if there would be a transferring fee because we had just recently moved, the man behind the cash register chuckled and said, “Transferring Fee? Why you only have to pay those if you move to China overnight, there is no such thing in the U.S. called a transferring fee. Whoever told you there was one ripped you off majorly with a large scam.” My father nodded to these words and explained what had happened at the last store we had been to. Then he also noted that it had said “authorized retailer” in the store window. When he explained what had happened, my father and I looked at each other, for a long wide stare, both thinking that we were incredibly stupid.
The man gave us a discount because apparently we were the only customers who had come in all day and that we wanted us to come back soon because he would give us a special discount off of everything, and it was just for us. The man there was much nice than the lady at the “authorized retailer” store.
The next hardest thing was unpacking everything that I had brought with me. First came the clothes, and then came the bathroom utilities such as my hair combs, brushes, hair ties, headbands and items like those. Then I unpacked all of the rest of my little “toys” that I had saved up, from my little “Buggy Ally” pillow to my nail polish.
Buggy Ally was my favorite TV show when I was a child. I would watch it daily and hog up the TV, but the show was not the reason I was obsessed with it, it was because of the really catchy song that came along with it, it went something like, “I’m a buggy ally yes, you’re a buggy ally yes, we were all buggy allies yes in this big buggy ally world, buggy ally buggy ally…” I think you get the point, but I would sing it all the time when I was little. My dad became so tired of me singing the song that he finally bought me a little play version of the TV show, the closest thing he could find was a buggy ally pillow. Once my dad gave me that, I started this thing, because I would bring my Buggy Ally pillow to school every day and play it 24/7. All of the kids began to wonder what it was that I was playing with, once I told them; they all went home to beg their parents for one. Soon enough, the store was sold out of Buggy Ally pillows. And here is something you might not know about me, about a week after the stores were all sold out, I was sent a letter in the mail (do not ask me how they knew my address at the time because I have no idea) asking for me to be in a commercial for Buggy Ally. Of course, I jumped up and said yes, and so I was in a commercial, but it was on an “adult channel” when I was a child so none of my friends were ever able to see it.
Once I finished unpacking, I heard another knock on the door. I ran down the stairs, expecting to scream at the old lady again because this time I really had not done anything to her. It turned out to be a girl my age in a striped navy blue and white dress. She we wearing blue ballet flats that curled just like ballet shoes with a navy blue flower at the toes. Her hair was neatly put into a braid, and her necklace had a silver heart stringed to it which barely hit the top of her dress, her hair was blonde, long and straight.
“Hi, I am Christen; I heard you were new to the neighborhood so I wanted to welcome you.” She said this with a modest smiled and looked at me from head to toe, as if inspecting me.
“Oh hi, yes, I am new, my name is Ashley, but you can call me Ash.” I shook out my hand, and she took a hold of it and shook it.
“Ash, that is a nice name,” this was all she could say, so she obviously did not like my clothes, did not like my necklace or my shoes, and most certainly had nothing to talk about but my nick name.
“Would you like to come in? Things are a little messy because we are still in the progress of moving in.” I said this in a polite matter; I did not actually want her coming into my home.
“Oh, no thank-you, I am allergic to dust.” I was confused at first, what a lame lie. She really did not want to come into my house that badly?
“Are you sure? We have homemade brownies, and there is no dust.” I said this as if I were at an auction, not by the way my voice said it but by the way it was my last offer. It was going for the third time, and if she did not grab a hold on to the opportunity, I would have no choice but to close the door on her.
“Oh, okay, I guess I have to come in now, at least my mother’s homemade brownies are delicious. Are yours’ too?” I looked down at the ground when she asked me this, I didn’t know whether or not my mother’s brownies we good. I had never gained the chance to taste them, but I just answered yes.
“They are amazing, but you should try my fathers’ because he is literally a natural cook.” I winked at my dad and he smiled, accepting the compliment as if it were a fact.
“Well, my father never cooks.” She just walked up, grabbed a brownie, smiled at my dad, without even saying hi or anything, ate it, and walked out the door. I shrugged,
“People here are a little strange don’t you think?” I said this in the nicest way possible, but we both knew it was true.
“Honey, your mother was an awful cook; she could not tell the difference between salt and sugar.” This was a quote he often used, but I think he was actually serious this time.
I just smiled at this and walked up the stairs, it was hard for me to think bout my mother being chained up daily, all the time, because she was crazy. It was hard to think that my father had to go through this pain and act as if it was fine with him. I knew deep down inside that we were both hurting from the pain of not having a mom around the house to clean and cook, but my dad was the ultimate package, he was a two in one, and he honestly knew salt from sugar. He was always home for dinner, because he did have to work even though he had sold his company, and he did have to cook and clean, but my mother was never home by even eleven o’clock, she was always out in the club, or she had just gotten stuck on a side walk and had lost her sense of direction.
I blasted my music up on my computer again, I did not want to think about this, and as I was doing so, I was making up come backs to give to the old lady who would soon be making a visit.
By the time I unpacked everything, I was time to go to school the next day. I spent that entire day going school shopping for supplies, and made sure it did not have the sign, “authorized retailer” on it. I walked in; bought everything I needed, and was out in about an hour or so. I was rushed, then I drove back home as quickly as I could and put all of my school supplies together. Yes, it was a difficult process, and I am a new driver, so you could say I may have ran a light or so, but besides that, I was a totally safe driver.
I was finished putting all of my school supplies together by eight o’clock that night, it was a rush to get finished then too, and then I ate my dinner and took a shower. I just relaxed until about ten thirty when I figured I should sleep.
The next day was a little hard, figuring out where I was and which classes belonged where. Luckily, Christen showed me around or else I would have been completely lost for the next four days. She showed me exactly where all of my classes belonged.
School was not interesting at all, not one thing in that science class amused me, and except for how the teacher’s beard moved up and down every single time he talked. It made me laugh for half a second in class and I kept smiling every time I looked at his beard, my eyes just would not go off of his beard until he called on me,
“And how does sublimation occur with ice on a snowy mountain in Lake Tahoe and how does this compare to condensation of water vapor when you get out of the shower?” I had no idea what he was talking about. I just made a random guess,
“The ice will melt because it observes the energy around it, and condensation happens when the atoms and molecules are taken enough energy away from themselves that they turn into
more of a liquid than anything.” I tried to sound as smart as possible, smiling and I acted as if I knew it was the right answer
“Correct!” I was really surprised when that word came out from above his beard. I liked the word because it looked even funnier when he was saying it, his r made his lips go into an oval shape, and it also made him seem like a pirate.
At home, I did my homework in complete silence for one of the first times in a while. It was completely silent though, no dogs barking, no texts, no music, no old ladies pounding on my door, no wasted ice cream truck men, no crying children, no teens my age coming up to the door, complete silence, and then I reconsidered that fact when I heard a knock on the door, again.
I walked down the stairs with a huff and puff in each step, my dad called it pouting, but I just called it being annoyed. Christen was at the door again, and she wanted to talk to me upstairs in my room. It seemed like it was urgent, so I allowed her access to it.
“Ok so, wait-“She walked over to my desk and picked up my paper that I had been doing notes on for science, “you actually take notes in science class? You know Mr. Humphrey literally says the entire book in a class period, and he repeats everything every single class.” She picked up the papers that contained my notes and read them to her, her lips mouthing each word she was reading,
“I don’t really need them; I’m just practicing my handwriting is all.” I snatched the papers from her and threw them in the trash.
“Well, you have bad handwriting, I can only imagine what it looked like before you were practicing, and do you have any gum?” Christen turned out to be really annoying and obnoxious.
“First of all, why did you come to my house in the first place?” I picked up my purse and scavenged through it in hopes to find some gum to shut her up,
“I just wanted to tell you something real quick.” She walked over to me, whispered really lightly, snatched the gum as well, and walked downstairs, to the door and outside back to her house.
I put the words together, put she was not really good at whispering, I heard something like,
“I’m min-get” and that did not make any sense what so ever. I kept trying to put the pieces together and then realized what she had said, and it was something quite disturbing, but what she had meant to say was,
“I am a lesbian.” No wonder she was in such a rush to get out of my house so quickly. No wonder she had snatched the gum and whispered in my ear, I always thought something was up with her, but my biggest fear out of them all was that she liked me.
The next day at school, I confirmed what she had said, and she didn’t deny it. Then I asked her if she had liked me, crossing my fingers behind my back to pray to God that she didn’t. And those crossing of the fingers worked, because she didn’t, or at least I hoped she hadn’t lied. Do girls do that to girls just like girls do it to guys? I just went with no, because it was high school and no immature person lied about who they liked, because the faster you admit it, the more lifetimes you have to decide who you truly want to be with.
I remembered a story about this girl once and her entire life, she denied that she had ever liked anyone, she just straight up denied it. She went through her entire life with guys asking her out, because she was told in the story to be a really beautiful girl. She denied everyone of liking anyone, until one day when she turned fifty years old, a man came up to her and asked to marry her, and she accepted. It turned out that he had been her soul mate for life, and it got me to wondering that maybe you should wait until you are fifty to find your soul mate. Maybe you really shouldn’t ever admit to liking someone, but if that was true, then I was long past expired. I had had three boyfriends in the past.
You could say I felt bad about crossing my fingers and hoping that she didn’t like me, because don’t you always want someone to like you? For me I view it as a video game, and every person that likes you, you gain bonus points and you can use them, not the person but the points, I would flirt with them and then see what they were like when they liked me, I got a kick out of it until I realized it was wrong to do so at the end of seventh grade, because people actually thought that I had liked them back and that their fairy tale ending would end with me dating them for the rest of their lives, but I only have one life, at least only one life that I know about right now, so I have to make the right moves with the right people.
I decided to walk around my neighborhood so that people could look at me and acknowledge me as the new girl in the neighborhood, but instead, everyone was too busy on their own with planting seeds in their garden or chasing down their kid so that a car didn’t run over them, or talking on the phone or doing anything but just relaxing. I decided to finish by running back to my house when a small child came up to me and gave me a hug. I couldn’t figure out why he had done so until I realized that it was the small boy I had given the ten dollars to.
My father made his delicious meat loaf with a side of vegetables; it is my favorite meal that he makes me by far. He always adds a tint of a pile of salt on the side because he knows that I love it, and whenever he adds the salt he says,
“At least I can tell the difference between salt and sugar.”
If you haven’t figured it out by now, that is his catch phrase, and it has taught me a lot ever since I was a small child. It taught me the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, and the difference between my mom and my dad, my mom, who was crazy, and my dad, who was a two in one package, I could ask him about anything and he could tell me advice and he knew practically everything because he earned a master’s degree in science. He was always telling me about the molecules in liquids VS solids VS gases. Now that I think of it, that was just how I answered the question my science teacher, Mr. Humphrey asked me.
I had asked my dad many times before if I could be homeschooled, and each time he told me no. These were his reasons why: because he would have to pay for all of my books, I would not make any new friends over the years, I would only gain the knowledge that he contained (which I honestly think is more than all of my teachers combined), and because he did not have the time.
I asked him again that night at the dinner table, but he said no because I had apparently made a new life and he wanted me to try it out, and if I really didn’t like it, then I had to promise to maintain all of my friendships, but I had to be the most popular person in school in order to be home schooled, so that option was completely taken out of my wants. How could you be the most popular person at school if you didn’t even go to the school?
My dad was full of little mysteries like these. But his salt and sugar story was his famous one, he made it more interesting because I know the difference between good and bad, but you can’t actually tell which one is which until you try it. This is what my dad taught me, that I need to be careful, so that I don’t have to be already skin deep in the relationship when I realize they are the salt. Even though my dad knows I love salt, compared to sugar, salt it a burdened, and even I know that.
My father also taught me that at the end of the day, you could tell the salts from the sugars because the sugars still remained, the salts were those “friends” who took advantage of you, and when you told them who you liked at school, they would tell everyone, then you would be left with either denying it or moving along with the day and ending up going out with them, but the more people who know, the worse the situation gets.
I had tried doing it once in the kitchen, taking salt and sugar and mixing them together, only if you looked really closely could you see the salts because they were clear, and you could easily move through them, but the good people in life were hard to get through, it was the same with deaths, when someone died that was not a good person, you hardly see it, but when a white grain of sugar kind of person passes away, you will always see it in your life, and it will never really disappear. I tried mixing them together and then tasting it, it had two tastes, sugary and salty, and reminded me of a chocolate pretzel, but it also reminded me of at school how you can have to different views, sometimes it can be a really sweet view, and sometimes a salty one. They are all mixed together and each person takes on the two different flavors differently, they either only focus on the sugar or only focus on the salt, the ones who focus on the sugar are always much happier.
This was a main lesson in life that my dad had tried to teach me, because it worked in practically every situation, the sweet and the salty, and it actually helped me solve a lot of problems in my life the correct way.
Anyways, as I was about to sleep that night, that was what was on my mind. And you know how you dream of what you had been talking about the day before, and that dreams are a direct reflection of your mind? At least this is what my dad had told me, but I had a dream that two white blobs had walked up to me, one of them slapped me, and another hugged me, it was a strange dream in deed, but it was so incredibly easy to figure out, just like me.
Walking into school the next day, I tried to figure out who was the salt and who was the sugar. Someone held open the door for me as I walked into the science room of Mr. Humphrey; it was a boy my age named Grayson. I caught up with him after class, not to bring back the small memory of him opening the door for me and smiling, but to bring back the smile of the time, the sugar.
“Oh hey, I’m Grayson, I can see you are the new girl huh?” He opened his locker with his pin and smiled as he did so,
“Yes, I’m Ashley, just moved here from Wyoming.” That was the first time I had ever missed Wyoming, missed walking into the large toothpaste factory that my father had once owned, missed smelling the freshness, missed watching the blue-green goo come from the machines, missed the sounds.
“Wyoming, it’s a small world down there, very-“
“Poor, I know, but we were the higher end of it, which explains why we are here now.” I said this looking at him eye to eye, closely.
“Right, well, welcome La Jolla.” He said this with a sweet smile, I couldn’t tell if I was actually starting to like him or not. He had blonde hair that was like Justin Bieber’s, but not the hair that made him famous, the hair that he had after that, and the shorter hair. He had bright blue eyes that were to die for, he was a gentleman, and I was pretty sure he was single.
I sort of day dreamed about him that day I have to say, with his bright blue eyes and adorable blonde hair, I didn’t pay much attention to his outfit, I was just stoked that some guy was actually man enough to come up and talk to me. Well, I kind of talked to him, but still.
The next day at school, I searched for him, when I found him, I came up behind him and “scared him” by putting my hands on his smooth face from behind and saying,
“Guess who?” I didn’t want to sound like I had been moving too fast with the relationship but he completely did something different, in fact, after he turned around, guessed Ashley and smiled, we had three seconds of eye contact, and that was when I knew, he just had to like me back.
We walked to Mr. Humphrey’s class again and he opened the door for me like a gentleman, I sat down in my chair and became amused once again by his beard. But this is the boring part of my time with Grayson; let me tell you what happened.
When we got out of science class, he walked me to my locker and we talked, and we had enough eye contact again that I thought we were going to kiss, but then I realized that I had just met him yesterday and to take things slowly.
He asked for my phone number the next day, and we texted for about an hour straight, I learned that he loves gummy bears, chocolate, and sugar, he has only had three girlfriends in the past, like me (except mine were called boyfriends) and that he loves music. He was not obsessed with music, he just loved listening to music, like I did, when I asked him if he liked salt, he smiled and said,
“How could I not?”
After I had known him for about a month, he asked me out, and on our first date we went to a Chinese restraunt named “P.F. Chan’s” At least it sounded something like that, he walked me in and we sat down at a booth across from each other. He was really sweet and we talked for three hours just sitting across from each other, he asked me out four days later again, and soon enough, he was considered my boyfriend, my fourth boyfriend.
He helped me with all of my homework, showed me around town, and we were like inseparable best friends, except for the fact that we were in love with each other. We didn’t do any of the nasty stuff on TV like lose our virginity to a guy in a truck after you have known him for a month and a half, no; we just took it steady and slowly.
Anyways, my love life was really working out, and it was all because of the sugar, I then had to find out who was the salt, because if I didn’t find out, it would cause me a lot of trouble in the future. I caught two blondes dumping a poor nerd down a trash can, those were the salt, and the poor nerd was the sugar. When I explained this to Grayson, he smiled, kissed me on the cheek, and then we both made up a past time game where we would find out which people were who. When Grayson called me sugar one day, it meant a lot more than just “babe,” it meant that I was a beautiful white grain of sweetness that would forever be remembered in his life. Can you see why I loved him so much now?
While I was sleeping, I heard a loud noise coming from my window, a loud pounding noise, then I realized it was a rock, someone was throwing rocks at my window, when I looked down, I saw Grayson, smiling wide as ever, handsome as ever, amazing as ever, and he told me to come down. I did. We walked to the park nearby and he told me that he loved me, I was his sugar and when he said that, I looked down at the ground and smiled. He kissed me on the cheek and then we pulled me up and asked me if I wanted to jump in the pool with him, it was against the park rules, not because it was dirty, but because it closed at about nine o’clock every night.
I jumped in and Grayson followed, and we both went underwater and smiled at each other, when we got up for air, things fell perfectly together and I kissed him. He walked me home after words, and that was when I knew that I could trust him, not with my virginity, o dear no, but with my heart, I knew he wasn’t going to break it any time soon and I could fall for him.
The next day at school he picked me up and gave me a huge hug after kissing me on the cheek. We walked to science together and then I walked to my history class. This whole relationship went on for about six more months, I did not lose my virginity to him, and no, I did not do anything that I regret doing with him. We split not because we didn’t like each other, but because we weren’t really in love anymore, and it wasn’t really a split either, we just weren’t kissing anymore, but he was one of my best friends. Occasionally, he would give me a friendly kiss on the cheek, but for my new home, that was the only relationship I got.
That was the funnies part of my journey in La Jolla. The next part was just heartbreaking, but not at first. At first, it was the most amazing thing in the world that had ever happened to me.
The phone rang down stairs; my dad picked it up, said a few fragments, and called me down the stairs. He had a smile to wide on his face that Wyoming could have probably seen it, if the new owner was looking at the perfect angle out of the window in his office, the one that was cracked, he could have seen my dad smiling.
“Carly is out of the hospital.” He started crying because he was so happy, Carly was my mom’s real name, and he only used it when it was something serious or happy to be talked about.
“Finally, where is she going now?” I asked this in a way that I hoped I knew the answer to, but I didn’t. I still sounded excited when I said the words though.
“Home,” I didn’t know if this meant Wyoming home or here home, so I just stood there with a blank expression
“Here.” I smiled so wide in those next few hours that I don’t think anything else really could have possibly smiled more than me, I smiled like sugar.
Grayson texted me asking if I wanted to meet up at the park again, I responded with a confirmation that I would meet him there, I was going to tell him about my mother.
He was sitting in the grass, smiling when I walked up to him, he had brought me a turkey sandwich and cookies, and he sipped on his Coca Cola.
“Hey, I have some food for you, thought you might be hungry.” He stood up and shrugged off the leaves and grass that had been on him to give me a hug.
“I have something to tell you,”
“Oh no, you aren’t pregnant are you?”
“That’s impossible, how can a virgin be pregnant?’
“Oh, never mind. What was it you were going to tell me?” He stood there, with his serious I’m listening face and waited for me to say it.
“You know how you have never met my mother?”
“Did she die?” He said this in a sad voice
“No, but there is a reason why I haven’t seen her since I was five,” I looked down at my hands
“Sit next to me and tell me,” he patted the blanket next to him after he sat down and said this in an offering voice, one that said I can cheer you up. I sat down next to him and told him, the entire time he was listening, he looked surprised, and when I was done saying everything, he told me that he couldn’t wait to see me, he also reached his arm around mine and kissed me on the cheek, “It’s going to be okay.” He said this in a comforting voice.
We ate the rest of the meal giggling about silly things around the park and we played the salt and sugar game. We spotted two young children playing on a see-saw and one fell off and began to cry because the one on the other end went down up too fast and crushed the pool child’s feet, so when the see-saw on his side went up again, he fell off in pain. I asked Grayson if we should go over and help him, but soon enough, the parents rushed over to help him, the child on the other end was secretly a salt but on the outside, a sugar. That day was when I realized that not all people are pure salt or pure sugar, some can be a mix, which can cause you to be reeled in by their “kindness,” but one second you feel that you can trust them enough to tell them something that you don’t want anyone else to know about, they will betray you, and they can betray you whenever they feel like it. The whole thing is that only salts have the capacity of evil to let the feeling of guiltiness just pass by as a small side effect. On the other hand, sugars cannot go through it without apologizing and at times, creating their own embarrassment as an apology to what they have done wrong.
Grayson always said I was a sugar, inside and out, and I did not want to copy what he had said to me, so I just repeated it in the most different way I could think of, “You are sweet like sugar too,” and that seemed to put a smile on his face and make him reach over to kiss me on the cheek.
Soon enough, I was introduced to Grayson’s new girlfriend, at first, I was incredibly jealous, and I tried to hide it, which meant that I still liked him to some extent, but later on I found that she actually was becoming my best friend. And, soon enough, I was invited to almost every date Grayson and her went on, and we were so incredibly close to each other that I felt as if I could tell her anything, the thing that made me start to become jealous of her was the fact that Grayson never called her a sugar, anything but sugar was what he called her, because sugar was our deal. One day, Grayson broke up with her because he said she was “secretly a salt underneath” and he asked me out again.
When he asked me out for the second time in the years I had known him, I asked him honestly if the only reason he wanted to go out with me was to forget her, and to get over her. He told me that every time he looked into her eyes, she reminded him of me, and he could never call her sugar because he missed me too much. So, of course, I said yes because I also did secretly like him again.
It was the same as before, except for he didn’t hesitate as much to kiss me on the cheek, and he kissed me on the lips more often, and he called me sugar again. It felt right to be with him, because I didn’t want to be with anyone else but him.
When his ex-girlfriend and my best friend found out that we were together again, she became really mad and said we were no longer friends. I just shrugged, because being with him was the best feeling in the world compared to being with that girl, she was just a friend, but he made me feel on top of the world, and nothing else but that.
When I got home the very next day, I asked my dad when Carly would be coming home, he told me in about a month, because they had to keep her under surveillance cameras to make completely sure that she was ready to come back so, only one more month to go.
I waited anxiously around the house, walking back and forth, pacing up and down the stairs, waiting, just waiting for my mom to come in that bright yellow taxi cab and see me for the first time, my father said that she had resurrected out of her possessed body and that she had become normal again, but we had to make sure she took her medicine, because if she did not, she would go crazy again. He also mentioned that she might not remember us the first second she sees us and that she might not even know where she is but we have to tell her the whole story without mentioning the part that she is crazy, and that I could not say the word “crazy” around the house anymore. This was going to be hard, but my mother resurrecting was the best thing that ever happened, and it was worth everything.
I finally heard a knock on the door and sprang up off of the couch; I had been reading a seventeen magazine that my father had subscribed me to. I fluffed my skirt, the pillows, fixed my hair, and was ready to say hello to my mother for the first time.
It was Grayson, and he said he had come to help me through this period of time, and also to keep me company, I just smiled a slight smile, he knew that I thought he had been my mother, but he came in anyways and wanted to make me less tense and actually ready for when she came.
He read my magazine with me, and pointed out a couple of things that his older sister always talked about, his older sister was in college but they had once been extremely close to each other.
My dad walked down the stairs and jumped at the sight of Grayson, he scratched his neck,
“Holy cow, sonny, I didn’t see you there.” I had never heard him talk like this before, I think it was because my mother used to talk like that, and he was practicing for her. All this waiting was messing us up and tearing us apart and jolting us in every which way opposite direction.
“Oh, sorry about that Mr. Canopy,” yes, it is about time you have learned me last name, Canopy, like what you would lay down in under the bright shining sun of Wyoming and read your brand new book from the new book store down the street with. It was the kind of last name that reminded me a lot of Wyoming.
“It’s fine, don’t worry about it, I’m just really tense about Carly coming home and all.”
“Don’t worry sir; I am sure everything will turn out just fine.” He smiled at me, looked down, and kissed my cheek again, and then we went back to reading the magazine.
“I miss my Carly,” My father said this right after Grayson kissed me on the cheek. I felt awful, because I knew that he used to kiss Carly on the cheek all the time.
“She is coming soon,” Was all Grayson could say, I could tell this was a little bit awkward for him to be talking about so we went back to reading the magazine again.
“I want to buy a dog, I will be right back.” He threw on his fleece brown jacket off of the only coat hanger that I knew had still existed in the houses of La Jolla and opened the door.
“Dad, just wait, she is coming, and be patient.” I said this right before he stepped out the door, he looked to me, looked to the door, and then looked back to me, as if he were making a huge decision, like on those game shows, where you don’t know which answer to choose, but one will win you one million dollars.
He opened the door all the way and walked out without even closing the door, he knew he had just made the wrong decision, but I knew that he needed some time to catch his breath. I told Grayson I would be right back and chased after my father in my short dress, leggings and ballet flats, as you can tell, a lot of people wear ballet flats these days.
I chased after my father, I chased after him as fast as I possibly could, but he had gotten a thirty second head start, he would have to be in the pet store for at least thirty minutes before choosing a dog anyways, but I still jogged the mile to get to the pet store, my dad was beginning to go crazy.
I finally landed right before the pet store, bent over, breathing heavily, trying to catch my breath, and almost sweating. It had been at least fifty degrees outside but it certainly was not warm, it felt like sixty nine.
I walked into the pet store after I had caught my breath and found my dad. He was crying, looking at a puppy. I tapped him on the shoulder; he turned around and said,
“I can’t do this, what if she really is crazy again and kills us all? What if she’s dead and has been dead for a while and we are just getting a phony of her?” He had been crying for the first time in my life,
“Dad, Carly is going to be okay, it might take some time to get used to her, but it might be just like raising a newborn, we have to teach it everything first and then once it gets used to everything, we will be one big family again.” I felt a tear roll down my eye and hoped my mascara was not bleeding out.
“I trust you, and I hope you are right,” I took his hand after he said this and walked him back to the house. I felt a buzz in my pocket when we were about five minutes away from the house, it said,
“I think Carly’s cab is here, but I am not sure if it knows which house is yours.”
I ran back to the house, which took about two minutes, and then I washed myself off really quickly, we caught our breaths and we were all ready to greet Carly.
Carly walked in through the door, she looked confused, she had brown, short hair, just like mine, and she was wearing a long dress with heels. She had with him a large suite case, but only one. A yellow sun hat was held in her hair that went along just perfectly with her peach dress. She saw me, me, and she smiled.
“Ashley?” She smiled so incredibly wide and cried, I ran up to her
“Mom, you remember me?” Our hug lasted for at least two minutes, and my dad stood there, awkwardly hoping that my mom would remember him.
I let go of the hug, I saw a large black smudge from the side of my nose, and my mascara was ruined. I went to the restroom to fix it, but it took about two seconds, when I came out, my father was still standing there, hoping my mom remembered him. She looked at him, confused, but then all of a sudden, a light bulb went on in her head, and she smiled,
“William?” This was my dad’s name, he did not like it at all, but when Carly said this, my dad smiled as wide as I have ever seen him smile before, and they cried and hugged each other for about five minutes.
“I missed you,” She said, and they let go of the hug.
Grayson stood there; he was standing awkwardly, smiling. He was confusing my mom.
“Oh dear, did I have two children dear?” Carly looked worried,
“I am Ashley’s boyfriend.” He smiled
“Oh, very nice to meet you young man,” They shook hands
We sat on the couch together for the next five hours discussing what had happened. She looked confusing during some of the parts, but she then remembered them later on. My dad was the happiest I had seen him for ten years, or more. The thing that both my dad and I had hoped was that my mother would stay this way.
My mother tucked me into bed that night, oh how happy I was to have her there. To have her no longer crazy, I was so incredibly happy.
The next morning, she had prepared us breakfast, but it was not very good, like my father had said, “She didn’t know the difference between salt and sugar.”
All things were going well with my mother for about a month and a half, until one day she came back from her new job, and not only was she stoned, but she was drunk as well.
She slammed open the door, smiled, fell on the ground, and then walked into the kitchen, she smelt awful.
“Hey honey boo,” She either meant to say her nick name for my dad which was honey boo or she meant to scare my father and say hey honey. I was scared of her, but most of all, I feared me father’s disappointment. If she became crazy again, I was afraid my dad would practically commit suicide, literally, if he found that my mother had turned crazy again.
I watched from a peek in the stair well on top of the stairs, so that they couldn’t see or hear me but I could both see and hear them.
“Guess what?” My mother messily grabbed my father’s front part of his jeans, if you know what I mean, he looked surprised, and pulled her hand away, he knew what was happening.
“Honey, now is not the time, I have to make dinner.” He said this in the kindest way possible
“But I wanted to do it tonight.” I stuck out my tongue, this was disgusting. My father smiled and said,
“Maybe tomorrow,” He didn’t want her because she was drunk, she wanted her because he had only loved her, and he wanted her when she actually wanted him, and it was not because of the alcohol.
“But I wore my special undies tonight.” Carly took off her jeans right in the middle of the kitchen, she was wearing lace panties. My father looked down at her and repeated what he had said, “But I even brought protection!” Carly screamed
My dad was scared, and he knew it was either have “fun” with her or watches her go crazy, so, after I went to bed that night, as they thought I had gone to bed, I watched from the stairwell or what they were really doing.
He actually had “fun” with her, but it was not because he loved her this time, it was because it was this or let her go crazy. I walked back up to my room after I saw what they were doing, and I didn’t want to describe any of it, even though I was eighteen.
I went to sleep that night feeling guilty for my father. My poor father, he had loved Carly so much, but the next morning I found out that Carly had gotten an STD from someone in the crazy home, and that my father now had it. I felt so horrible for him, so incredibly horrible for him, I could not bear it. I had to kick my mother out of my house, she had to leave, now, she was ruining my life, and my father’s.
She got home that night with a wide smile on her face, and she was even more drunk and stoned than she was the night before. She wanted to do it again with my father, but right as she was asking, I ran down the stairs. I knew what I had to do.
“Mom, get out of here, you are half stoned to death and wasted out of your minds, my father loves you, not he drugs and alcohol, get out of here” I said this in a much different way, my father told me later, but this is what I remember saying.
“You,” The rest of the sentence was all cussing words, and she came over to me, slapped me across the face, pushed me to the ground, and left, just like that. She had no cab, no cell phone, no money, and no clothes in a suite case, but my father would bring it to the hotel in which she said she was staying at tomorrow.
“Thank-You,” my father said this in way that I could not tell was sarcasm or not, but I knew that he would not be able to tell Carly himself, so I had to do it for him.
“You’re Welcome,” this was the only thing I could say to that.
It turned out that my mother was never meant to live with us, and also that my dad could never have “fun” again in his life because of my selfish mother. I hated her for the rest of my life; she was the only salty family member.
Grayson cheered me up, and he also told me that he could see it in her eyes the first seconds that he met her, but he felt I had to figure it out on my own.
My father found someone else later on, but they never did anything nasty, they were just there for each other, and they each had an STD so that they could to it, but it would only do badly for each of them. We all ended up living together as a family, and Grayson and I never broke up, but to this day, he hasn’t asked me to marry him, I don’t know where things will lead us, I know I am on the right track, but for now, I am a sugar, Grayson is a sugar, I am surrounded by sugars, and at least I know the difference between salt and sugar.