The first thing I’m aware of is the blanket over my body and the fact Mia is no longer next to me. The comforting warmth that I fell asleep next to was absent. The second thing I’m aware of is the sound of shuffling in the far corner of the bunker. I try to push the sleep from my mind as I prop myself up on my elbow, turning my head towards the sound.
“What are you doing?” I mutter, groggy, wiping at my eyes with my free hand.
“I’m cleaning up this pig stye of a bunker.”
“Well that was rude,” I grunt as I flop back down onto the mattress.
“Well I can’t even walk three feet without tripping over a cardboard box, so I think I’ve earned it.” Mia grumbles.
“Well at least put them in the corner opposite of the desk, I hardly ever went over there.” I wave one hand dismissively above my head, while rubbing at my other eye.
“I’m the one cleaning, not you.” Mia reprimands.
“Still it’s better than putting them all in our way,” I argue, pulling myself up into a sitting position.
“Apparently, they aren’t in your way,” Mia gripes, setting her handful of boxes in the corner.
“Well, I’m not the one tripping over them all the time am I?”
“I don’t understand why you have to be like this?” Mia mumbles quietly, and, suddenly, I’m not sitting in my bunker anymore.
“I don’t understand why you have to be like this!” My mother yells at me. We’re in the kitchen and she’s paying bills at the island again. Trying to figure out a way for my dad to make his bunker.
“You don’t understand?!” I seethe, running my hand through my hair in frustration, “I don’t understand why you’re letting him spend money that you don’t have on something we will never use!” I finish. My hands making their way to my hips as I stare at my mother.
“It gives him something to be passionate about!” My mother defends, putting her pen down and crossing her arms in front of her chest. “You know what he was like before.”
My hands drop to my sides as my mind flashes back to just a few months ago. “Just because he didn’t have anything to be passionate about doesn’t excuse what he did!” I yell, enraged that she would even defend him.
“I’m not saying it does, but that doesn’t mean you can just come into my home and start yelling at me for the choices I’ve made.” My mother responds level headed.
"Your home? What happened to our home?” I question with my fists clenched.
“This place hasn’t been our home in a while. Not since you left,” My mother answers, her tone growing somber.
“You know very well why I left.” I threaten, jabbing my finger into her sternum, “The fact that you are trying to make me feel bad about my choices speaks volumes.” I let my finger fall from her chest as my anger starts to subside.
“Look,” I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose, “I love you, and I will always love you no matter what.” I pause, looking straight at my mother before I continue, ” Sooner rather than later, you’re going to have to realize that you can’t keep living like this.”
“I just want things to go back to the way they were.” My mother sighs, picking her pen up
“I do too mom. I do too,” I sigh, walking out the door towards my car.
“It’s your fault I’m like this!” I blurt out as my bunker comes back into my view.
“What do you mean, my fault?” Mia questions, curiosity lacing her voice.
“I….I…. It’s…” I sigh before shaking my head,” Never mind, it doesn’t matter. Let’s just forget about it.”
“If it didn’t matter you wouldn’t have said anything in the first place.” Mia argues back, her voice rising.
“Just for once will you let this drop!” I yell, getting to my feet.
“Not when you’re blaming me for something that isn’t my fault!” Mia lashes back at me.
“But it is your fault!” I seethe, my voice filling with anger.
“How!” Mia yells, almost deafeningly loud. “ I didn’t do anything to you! I barely even know you!”
“That’s just the point!” I yell, stalking towards Mia, “To you I’m no one! I’m just the girl you gave your bandana to. I’m just the useless tag along that you feel you’re responsible for!” I rant, bringing in ragged breaths as I continue, “That’s all I will ever be! Regardless of what I want!”
“And what do you want!” Mia yells, hurt lacing her voice.
“I want to be with you!” I blurt, my feelings getting the better of me in the heat of the moment. I freeze. The realization of what I’ve just said hitting me like a slap to the face.
“Wha- what?” Mia stutters flabbergasted.
“What?” My mother murmurs again, unable to process my words.
“I got an apartment,” I state flat out as she struggles to form a sentence.
“No, I heard that part,” She says breathlessly
“I’m moving out, and I won’t be coming back,” I reaffirm.
“You know I’ll always love you but-”
“Yeah I know that,” I interrupt rubbing the back of my neck.
“Then why are you leaving?!” She raises her voice, cutting me off before I can get out my next sentence.
“Because there’s nothing else left for me here! You have to see that,” I plead, picking up my last bag.
“You don’t have to leave!” My mother calls after me as I walk out the door.
“But I do,” I call, making my way to the car. “And the fact that you can’t see that is exactly why I have to,” I finish as I shut my door.
“Come back. Let’s at least talk about this!” My mother calls from the doorway
“I’ve made up my mind!” I call back starting my car. “This is what I want.”
In an instant, Mia’s shocked face is back in front of me, sputtering for a response. I whip around and force my legs to move me forward, unwilling to face what I’ve just said. At my movement, Mia takes a few shuffling steps forward, still unable to say anything.
“Look,” I sigh not looking behind me in fear of meeting her eyes, “Let’s just pretend you didn’t hear anything okay?”
“How- how am I- how am I supposed to respond to that?” Mia stutters weakly.
“You don’t have to, that’s what I’m saying!” I almost yell, my cheeks flaming red.
“Okay….” Mia trails off, leaving us in an awkward silence.
“I shouldn’t have said anything,” I groan putting my head in my hands as I sit back on the mattress, “I wasn’t thinking. I was... distracted by the past.”
“No.. it’s fine- it’s fine. You shouldn’t have to hide your feelings. I mean, what am I going to do, get a restraining order?” Mia jokes, voice strained.
“Let’s just get some food or something,” I huff, raising my head from its spot in my hands.
“Are you going to be able to keep any of it down?” Mia questions, right in front of me.
“What kind of question is that?” I ask perplexed, staring at Mia quizzically.
“Well, you do look like you’re about to throw up,” Mia chides, smirking down at me.
“Oh shut up.” I mumble, flopping back down on the bed again.
“Oh save it. You know you like me.” Mia pauses, taking in her words before a laugh makes its way to my ears, “Hey... for that matter,” she pauses, her laughs getting the better of her, “so do I.”
“Yep. It’s clear now. Telling you was definitely a mistake.” I grumble with a playful tone.
“Oh shut it,” Mia sighs, hitting my arm playfully. “Come on let’s go eat.”
“Oh, gee thanks.” I mutter, getting up off the mattress.
“Keep it up and I’ll leave you here,” Mia threatens unclasping the top of her bag.
“No you won’t. I think we have already gone over that, if you remember,” I point out.
“Oh shut it and get over here,” Mia orders as our conversation fades.
“Well at least she didn’t freak out,” I think to myself as I make my way towards Mia.