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It Wasn't Worth It
Her eyes glimmered with hope as she spoke to me with soft, careful words. I knew she was trying her best not to break something that was already broken, but that was nearly impossible, considering my skill to turn anything anyone said to me around so that it seemed like they were intentionally insulting me. At the time, it seemed like something I had to do before they really did try to tear me down. It was a technique I used to prevent myself from getting hurt again. In this case, I blocked my own mother out of my world so I could keep the pain withheld inside of me yet again.
"I know he can be a bit of a nuisance at times, but you have to learn to deal with it. There's not much I can do to help at this point," She glanced at me in the rear view mirror briefly before returning her attention to traffic.
I stared out my window at the blur of city lights and cars and tried to pretend like I could care less what my father did. "Whatever," I muttered under my breath as we drove under a bridge. "I just think it's pathetic how his 15 year old daughter knows how to deal with life better than he does." That was a lie, but no one in the car had to know that, right? They didn't see the scars hidden under my jacket, so as far as they could tell, I was handling life better than my alcoholic dad. Too bad I was struggling with an ongoing addiction as well--the thing I hated the most about my father was his addiction, yet here I was, being hypocritical to my own habit(s).
"Terra," Mom sighed, digging through her purse for her ringing phone with one hand and steering with the other. "Everyone handles stress differently."
I smirked. "Looks to me like he's not handling his stress at all."
"Terra." She repeated my name again, only this time it was irritated instead of gentle. I waited for her to say something, but instead, she flicked open her phone and answered with a peppy "Hello!", as if she wasn't just defending her husband's disgusting habits.
While she was talking to whoever had called her--mostly listening though...I didn't hear her say much to the person on the other end--I let my thoughts drift away from my family. I reminded myself of the project due tomorrow for World History and all those dreadful exams coming up next week at school. I scanned my cell phone's calendar and counted how many days until my Sweet 16 birthday. Soon I was daydreaming about the perfect party full of people I knew that would be waiting for me at the banquet hall the following Saturday. I imagined, in great detail, what my birthday cake would look like and how perfect my dress would fit on me. As soon as my mom ended her call, my thoughts were interrupted.
"Get out of the car." She said, her voice shaky.
"...what?" I was shocked. Was she doing this because I confronted her about dad?
Mom pulled to the side of the street and turned off the car. "I said, get out of the car! Walk home! You might as well find a place to stay for a few days, because I'm not ready for you to come into my house again,"
My eyes welled up with tears. "You're kicking me out? Why?!"
She glared at the phone still in her hand. "That was Officer Williams. You stole 3 cases of beer last night when I thought you were at your friend's house? And just minutes ago you were making fun of your dad because he drinks...pathetic. Just pathetic,"
I couldn't believe what was happening. My father called me at one in the morning while I was watching Jersey Shore with Lindsay. He made me get him beer from the liquor store. He told me I wouldn't get in trouble for it, and if I did, that he would take the blame. I refused at first, but once he threatened me a few times I decided I didn't want to risk another hit from him. So I tiptoed past my best friend when she fell asleep and crawled out the window, wearing an all black ensemble over my pajamas, to fulfill my dad's request. I was scared at the after effects of my task, but I knew it had to be done or he would hurt me again when I was home alone. As soon as I set the beer on the front porch and tapped lightly on my front door, I began to feel guilty at what I had done, but it was too late. The past isn't erasable, and neither are the consequences for it.
Presently, I opened the car door and hopped onto the sidewalk in the pouring rain. The knot in my throat seemed to get bigger by the second. Before searching around for a telephone booth, I took one last hopeful glance at the dark blue Honda that was quickly driving away. "Why me!" I exclaimed aloud to anyone who could hear me. I couldn't tell if the water droplets on my face was from the rain or the tears that streamed down. As I sat on the curb on that stormy September afternoon, all I could think about was how much I let down everyone--especially myself.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
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"Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."
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"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world."