I Hate YouDays passed and Grace and Jack became a couple. They would hold hands and put their arms around each other only by themselves and around Scott and myself. At first they were very adorable but soon they became stuck to each other. They couldn’t go anywhere without the other and it became very annoying. I started to become the sad person I had been when I’d arrived. I did things by myself and spent time with the animals. Every once-in-a-while, I would bike into town and buy things for my nana. I became very lonely and often cried myself to sleep. I kept remembering the first day they met, when we had gone to the beach and they had acted all adult like. I should have known what would happen, wasn’t it obvious? Not really, but all the same I wished I had listened to Scott and let them figure things out themselves.
I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about my problem. Nobody knew but Scott and I, and Scott just thought they were adorable. I had to act as if I was happy around everyone so I started to spend my time in the barn where I could be my sad self. The little piglet, the runt, soon became my best friend and she knew all my secrets. It was funny because sometimes, I felt as though she was listening.
One day, I was sitting on the couch watching television when the phone rang. I didn’t think anything of this because the phone rang quite often so I just had learned to focus on what I was doing. I kept watching television until I heard my nana yell Jack and my names. I turned off the television and made my way through the house. I ran into the front hall but Jack had beaten me there. He stood with the phone next to his ear and he was crying. Grace, my nana, and Julie stood around watching him and I couldn’t see their faces but I was sure that they were very sad.
“What happened?” I asked not sure that I wanted to hear the answer.
My nana turned around she was smiling. Why would she be smiling when Jack was crying? I didn’t understand.
“It’s your mom,” she said, looking like she was about to cry, except that she was still smiling and almost laughing.
I stared at her and then collapsed into sobs. I didn’t even need to hear the rest of what my nana was going to say to know what had happened. Strong arms wrapped themselves around my chest and pulled me up from the floor. I saw through my tears that my nana was looking very worried. She held me at arm’s length then pulled me into a hug and stroked my hair. Someone said my name and I turned my head slightly. Jack stood holding the phone out to me, he was still crying but he was also laughing. I was so confused. Why was everyone happy? What was happy about what had happened? I took the phone and put it to my ear.
“Hello?” I said sniffling.
“Lex?” said a weak voice from the other end. “Lex, its mom.”
At this point I almost fainted.
“Mom?” I managed.
I saw my Nana motion for everyone to leave me alone and I walked upstairs into my bedroom, bringing the phone with me.
“Yes Lex, it’s me.” I looked at the picture on my bedside table. The one of my whole family, my mom, my dad, Jack and I just a month before my mom left. Everyone had looked so happy, so unready for what was going to change our lives only a month later. That was the last time I had seen my mom. All these memories that I guess I had been storing somewhere in my head came rushing back. I remembered eating ice cream on our front porch, going to my grandparent’s house and how my mom would always climb up into the tree house with Jack and me. I remembered when my mom ran a half marathon and at the end she picked me and Jack up a hugged us, and how my dad had dumped a whole water cooler filled with water on us while we hugged. I remember all of us crying together when my old dog Jojo got hit by a car and lost two legs so he had to be put to sleep. I remember when my parents would wake Jack and me up in the middle of the night to see the stars or once an eclipse and I remember how my mom told me so often how much she loved me, I had forgotten that.
I also remembered when she had left us. The morning when I woke up and went downstairs to see my mom’s car packed and with her and Jack’s stuff. At first I thought they were going on a trip and so I asked why I wasn’t going. Then my dad told me that my mom was going on a long trip and that I wouldn’t get to see her for a couple years. He said that Jack was going with her and so I would finally get the daddy time that I wanted. I remembered the day when I realized what had happened and why I hadn’t seen or even talked to my mom in so many years. After my mom and Jack left I remember watching my dad suffer. I didn’t understand then but I know that he was so upset because he had just lost his son the love of his life. I’m not sure how my parents decided that Jack was going with my mom but I remember, once I was older, crying for hours because I felt rejected. My mom had chosen Jack over me and that hurt, a lot.
“Lex?” said my mom.
“Yeah,” I said wiping tears from my eyes.
“How are you?”
“How am I?” I asked. All of my feelings started to hit me, the good and the bad, but mostly the bad.
“How am I?” I almost yelled. “Well I’m doing just great if you don’t count the fact that my mom left me and took my brother, split up my family, when I was five. And the fact that I grew up without a mother figure. And the fact that I had to watch my dad suffer so much because you left him. And the fact that the first time I saw my brother after seven years was because you were in the hospital. And the fact that dad and I had been planning a trip to Europe for a whole friggin’ year that had to be cancelled at five o’clock in the morning because the woman who had hated my dad so much that she had to move to the other side of the country and steal his son, was in the hospital. And when you finally call, you ask how I am. Like you didn’t know.” I was crying by now but I didn’t care. This woman had ruined my life and she expected me to be happy that she was alive.
“Honey, you don’t understand what I’ve been through—“ said my mom
“No, you don’t understand what I’ve been through. You made the decision and you can’t expect me to pity you. Me? I was just thrown into this situation without warning.”
“Yes, I know, and I’m sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t cut it. Sorry doesn’t erase all those years, and there were seven which, by the way, is more than half of my life.”
“No you don’t. Stop pretending that your still my mom ‘cause you’re not and I wish you were dead. I wish you hadn’t gotten better. I hate you!” I screamed and then I hung up the phone.
I lay down on my bed and cried harder than I had ever cried before. After a little while someone came in and started rubbing my back. I kept crying and eventually I ran out of tears. I sniffled and turned over to see who had been comforting me. It was Jack. He smiled when he saw me.
“Can I ask you something?”
“D’you know why mom got better?”
“Because she had good Doctors?” I guessed.
Jack shook his head. “She got better because she wanted to apologize to you.”
“Well that’s stupid.”
“Lex. It might seem like she doesn’t love you anymore but that’s not the case. Mom loves you a lot.”
“If she loves me so much than how come I don’t know? How come she’s never told me?”
“That’s a good question and I really don’t know. But I do know that she missed you a lot. The holiday cards that you sent us are hanging all over the house, and so are your pieces of art.”
“How?” I asked. As far as I knew, my dad hadn’t wanted to have any contact with my mom after she left him so I didn’t see how my artwork and holiday cards could be hanging in her house.
“Every year Dad would send Mom a photocopy of your report card and some of your artwork and we always got your holiday card. Mom was so proud of you, she just didn’t know how to tell you.”
“Right,” I said skeptically.
“Believe me,” said Jack, and he pulled me into a hug. I took a few deep breathes and then Jack released me.
“And Lex? I want you to know that I love you.”
“I love you too.”
The phone rang but I let it be, not wanting to ruin the calmness and strength that Jack had just given to me.
“Lexi?” called my Nana.
“Pick up the phone. It’s your dad.” I looked at Jack, not ready to get yelled at by my father.
“Just stay calm and remember that he loves you.” Jack stood up and left the room to give me privacy.
I nodded and picked up the phone.
“Hey sweet pea. How are you?” asked my dad.
“I’m okay,” I said.
“I’m really sorry about everything.”
“I have some news for you though. You wanna hear it?” asked my Dad.
“Sure,” I said, wondering what the news could be.
“Your mom is getting better and she’ll probably be released in a few days. This morning Steven, her boyfriend, proposed to her and they’re getting married.”
“Dad, are you okay with that?” I asked.
“For a while I was upset and hurt because of what your mom had done. Now though, I’m okay and I’m just happy for both of them. There’s another piece of news too. Your mom, Steven and Jack are moving back to Philly. They’re moving a few blocks away from us because your mom and Steven both thought that it would be better if you and Jack got to know each other better. They’re gonna be moving within the next month because they’ve already bought the house and they just need to go home and pack. Here’s our plan for the next week or so: You and Jack are going to stay with Nana and Popop until your mom gets released, then I’ll come home and pick you guys up. Jack will be staying with us until your mom and Steven move in.”
“Really?” I asked. I was so excited about Jack moving close to us and I had mixed feelings about my mom. On one hand I really didn’t want to see my mom because that would bring about some weird feelings and I would have to apologize to her and it would just be awkward. On the other hand she was my mom and I still loved her a little bit. She had given birth to me and that was a task that no one else could’ve done. Right now I didn’t have a say in this all so I would just have to live with this consequences and try to enjoy everything.
“Yes. Steven and mom can get job transfers, because Steven is a teacher and mom is still a lawyer so that part is worked out. We haven’t really worked this part out but I think it would be good if you lived with mom and Steven and Jack lived with me for the rest of the summer. I really want to get to know my son and I think you should get to know your mom and your soon to be step-dad even if you don’t want to. They will become a part of your life and you need to at least meet them. At the moment we don’t know all of the details of everything but I’ll call a few days before I’m coming to let you know so you can pack. Alright?”
I wanted to ask what was going to happen with our trip but I also wanted to seem grateful, which I most definitely was, for everything. In the deepest part of my heart though, I was still a little bit upset about the canceled trip.
“Oh and Lex?”
“Yeah?” I managed.
“Next year, when your mom and Steven have their honeymoon, I was thinking that you, me and Jack could go to Europe. I figure that even though we were gonna go by ourselves we should include Jack. Is that okay with you?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Great. See you soon sweet pea. Love ya, bye!”
“Love you too. Bye.” I hung up the phone and just sat on my bed so I could digest all of the information. I couldn’t believe what had happened. My mom was healthy now and she was going to live down the street from us. I was going to be able to spend time and even live with her and Jack. My parents weren’t getting back together but they were friends now, or at least they were friendly and my mom was getting married. I lay back on my bed with my knees sticking up, my hands on my stomach and I thought. I was probably the happiest person in the world. Even though we hadn’t gone on the trip that my dad and I had been planning for over a year, my parents were happy. Nothing in the world mattered to me except that I was almost overflowing with happiness. About ten minutes later someone knocked on the door.
“Yeah? Who is it?” I asked.
“Come in,” I said.
Jack opened the door slightly and stuck his head through.
“So what’s happening?”
I let out a big breathe and smiled.
“We’re going home.”