13. This Is It
“Amabel, I know this has been hard for you to go through. It’s been hard for us too, but your father and I have decided... to make the divorce final.”
My moms voice breaks and so does my heart. They can’t do this to me, to us.
“But--you can’t...” I feel tears start to gather in my eyes. “But Tobiah...”
“I know, Amabel, I know... But we have to move on.”
“Move on?” I scream, a tear tumbling down my cheek. “It hasn’t even been that long--do you even freaking care about anything that has happened?”
“Of course we do, Amabel--”
“No!” I shout, not holding anything back any longer. “If you cared, you wouldn’t be tearing our family apart!”
“We think it’d be best for everyone--”
“Shut up,” I say, not caring who’s talking. “The only reason why you’re doing this is because you’re trying to make it look like none of what has happened is affecting you.”
“Am,” my dad says as he sits forward on the couch. “Your mom and I just aren’t happy anymore—”
“Oh, bull,” I spit. “You’ve been cheating on her for four months now, of course you’re unhappy with her, and she’s mad at you for doing what you’re doing, idiot.”
“No, dad. I’m tired of this. I’ve stood by too long, watching each of us fall apart and rip at the seams and I’m tired of doing it. I’m tired of being a stupid Barbie Doll and acting like we’re perfect.”
“Amabel, you were never expected to be perfect.”
“Really, mom? Really?” I exhale, anger boiling inside of me and bursting at the seams. This is it. This is where I explode. This is the moment that could either fix or break everything in my life or that could shatter it forever. This is where I lift the curtain and make them see what’s going on around them.
This is it.
“Do you know how mom found out about you, dad? No, I guess you don’t, since you’ve continued to do it after she did find out. She was coming home in her car. I watched her from the attic. She slowed in front of our house and saw the woman’s car, the woman who sends you inappropriate pictures and calls for you to leave your house, and then she picked up speed and drove off. I’ve never seen her drive so fast.”
“Amabel, we don’t need to talk about this,” My mom says, her blue eyes watering.
“Oh, but we do mom, we really do, considering you never did. And instead of doing so, you ran to a liquid called alcohol. Shocker. And then you would beat me sometimes, you know. But you don’t remember it. You were too drunk to realize what you were doing, and in the morning when you would ask about a bruise or a cut, I’d lie, putting on a smile and laughing about it when it tore me apart inside.” I stand up, looking down at the two of them. “You two disgust me. I’m supposed to want to be like you, and you’re supposed to be my role model—you were supposed to be Tobiah’s role model. And look where that got him. Smoking pot and pushing me down stairs, and then, eventually, he died.”
“Amabel, sit down.”
“Dad—no. You don’t get it, do you?” I say, exasperated. “You don’t get what I’m saying.”
“Yes I do, Amabel, and I don’t appreciate how you’re talking to me.”
“You don’t appreciate—what?” I laugh hysterically through the anger streaming from me. “I’ve had this conversation with you before, remember? At the dinner table with Tobiah high as the clouds and you telling me that you were getting into a divorce? Obviously, you didn’t listen then, and I know you’re not listening now! I would think that you would, considering you only have one kid left!”
“Amabel, we are listening, and I know we’ve made mistakes, but—”
“But what?” I ask, looking at my dad expectantly, and then at my mom. She looks like she’s about to explode with tears at any second, but now is not the time to be soft and sensitive towards them. They need to see what they’re doing to me, to each other. They need to see, and this is the only way. “But what, dad, what? I’m not perfect either, I’ve made mistakes too? Of course I have, parents. But you’re supposed to be my example, you are what I’m supposed to be wanting to be. You’re supposed to be my biggest heroes, but right now, I don’t even know. Right now, I’m exactly like you—a hypocrite, a liar, and a cheat.”
“No, I’m not done,” I say, jabbing my finger in my dad’s face as he stands up. My mom brings her knees up to her chest on the couch, something I got from her. Suddenly, I’m disgusted by the action and the fire is fed and grows bigger inside of me. “I’ve been half-starving myself for I-don’t-know-how-long now, just so I can keep up the image you want me to. I’ve been in dozens of clubs at school and applied to handfuls upon handfuls of colleges just to make you happy. I don’t even know what I want to do, but dad wants me to be a doctor, so that’s was what I was going to do. I’ve thought of killing myself, I’ve had depression for the longest time, and I can’t get out of it. John died, and if that wasn’t hard enough, I was in a wreck, and then was almost murdered by a drunk man at a bowling alley, and I wish it was me instead of Tobiah, but if that happened, then who would be telling you all this now?
“What would it take to make you change your ways? Revelations two twenty-one talks about the time given for someone to change, but they don’t want to change. They’re stuck in their sinful ways, and they refuse to get out. They’re stuck in the ways of the world and they don’t want to get out. So what would it take to get you two out?”
My parents just look at me. I can’t tell what’s going on in their mind, but I know they don’t know what to say. Here I am, their daughter, shouting and yelling at them about their faults and their wrongdoings, and then there’s them, who try to stray from rudeness and from prying. I am going against all they have brought me up to be.
“Amabel,” my dad says quietly and reaches forward to touch my shoulders. I back away, not wanting either of them to touch me, either of them to say anything to me but I’m sorry and we’ve changed our minds. “Amabel, nothing you say will change our decisions.”
My heart shatters and twists into a black hole.
“I’m done.” I say. “That’s it.”
I turn away and ignore them as they call my name and try to follow me. I’m faster.
I go all the way up to the attic, my leg sending pain through my body. I still need my crutches, but I need to walk. I need to get away. Away form them, from all of this… all of it.
I stuff my bag full of random things in my room, although I don’t expect to stay out overnight. I just need the effect. I need them to see what they’re doing. I need to make a statement and make something stick out to them.
I hobble downstairs, my parents waiting on the bottom.
“Where are you going?” My dad asks, looking infuriated.
I push past them, feeling him grab my arm and yank it back towards him. I nearly trip over my crutches.
I glare at him for a moment.
“No. Amabel, you’re going to sit down with us and talk about this in a civilized way.”
“No I’m not,” I say. “I’m done. That’s it.”
I rip my arm away and open the door, my dad following me. I step out into the night and crutch down to the sidewalk. My dad’s footsteps sound from behind me, but I’ve gotten better at working with the crutches. I’m fast.
He falls behind as I turn a corner and another. I don’t know where I am anymore after a few more turns. I don’t recognize it through my tears. But there are so many headlights, so many street lights, so many voices… Too many.