My mom died when I was twelve. I lost half of my heart that day. You’re supposed to have a bond with your mother anyway, but my bond with my mom was so much deeper than that. She was my literal best friend.
I was a weird kid. I didn’t fit in. I only had one friend. I never stuck up for myself and when I finally did, I was reprimanded for being mean and got beaten by the kids outside of school later. I was even labeled a bully but it didn’t stick. No one believe I could be a bully. So that made the bond between my mother and I stronger than ever.
But when I was ten, my father lost his job as a carpenter. He went on a down spiral. He tried to apply for other jobs, but no one would accept him. He turned to alcohol and started to abuse my mom.
Her body became weaker after all the hits she took. The bruises weren’t even bruises anymore. They looked like reducing chickenpox, but without the bump. Broken bones became a regular thing when I was eleven.
I tried so hard to protect my mother. Once, when he was attacking her, I tried to step in. I had a kitchen knife in my right hand. I was nervous but my adrenaline was rushing. I was gonna kill him. Just for my mom.
She saw me and begged me to go away. She wanted me to take the knife back and go hide. She didn’t want me to see how he attacked her or hear his verbal slurs. She tried to protect me, but it was illogical at this point. I heard everything from my room. When I saw her bruises, I already knew how she got them. It didn’t make any sense to me.
Why didn’t she fight back? Was she too tired to do so? Or maybe she just couldn’t. He was the love of her life. She couldn’t have seen that coming that. I mean, no one could.
My dad used to be my angel. I remember everything we used to do together. We went to parks every Saturday morning and then had burgers right after. I remember him pushing me on the swings until I didn’t want to swing anymore. His hands and arms had to be tired, but he did it for me anyway.
I remember getting ice cream after every Sunday dinner. I remember how I dropped my ice cream cone and cried like a baby. He gave me his and I bawled even harder.
“It’s okay, Sarah. I can always buy me another.” That’s what he said.
I felt bad but the way he smiled at me made me forget I even had ice cream. His hazel eyes twinkled when he smiled and that’s how I knew the smile was genuine.
When he lost his job, he lost that image. He became the devil to me. He even cried at her funeral. He cried harder than anyone. I don’t even remember the funeral. It felt like five minutes to me. I saw my mom in her casket and she was so beautiful.
Her blonde hair had been curled and her makeup was subtle but nonetheless gorgeous. She had a light pink lipstick on her lips. I kissed my mom’s cold cheek before the casket was closed. I don’t remember what happened after that. I only remember crying myself to sleep that Saturday night, and even though I was grieving, the sleep I had that night was the best I ever had.
As the years went on, my father forgot about my presence. He only acknowledged me when I had doctor appointments or something of that nature.
I was only glad that my parents already bought this house before I was born because if they didn’t, we’d be homeless. My mother was a nurse and she made ends meets after my father lost his job. I always admired her strength because I know she was worn out, but she worked anyway. She did it just for me.
The only friend I had in high school was Emma Jarner. She reminded me of my mom; I guess that’s why we were best friends. She even looked similar to my mom when my mom was young. A part of me thought that was God’s way of sending me a guardian angel.
She stood up for me. The bullying stopped. I didn’t get beaten anymore. I was happy to have her around. She meant the world to me. As long as I had her, I felt like the world shone a bit brighter.
But she transferred. She moved to California; she left me here in Mississippi by my lonesome. I was sad once again. They didn’t physically bully me now, but they talked loud enough for me to hear. I could hear them snicker at me behind my back when I walked by.
I tried to so hard to be happy. I tried to write her, but she never responded. I was down in the dumps once again. This time I was stuck. I thought I’d be okay but I wasn’t.
I won in the advanced spelling bee when I was a sophomore. We had the event in our auditorium, and when everyone cleared out after the winner was announced, I was ambushed and taken to the dumpster.
They beat me until I had a black eye and a swollen jaw. They laughed while beating me and called me names. The worst thing they ever said to me was, “That’s why your mother is dead.”
I laid there and took the hits. I couldn’t even feel them anymore. I let them beat me; I didn’t fight back. When they were tired, they left me all alone. Bloody, tired and hurt, I still laid there. I could’ve sworn I saw my mom. But when I blinked, she was gone.
I was still on the ground an hour later. I dragged myself home. I must have worried my father because he looked at me with desperation once he saw me walk through the door. This was the first time I’d ever seen him like this since mom died.
He came to my side and aided me. He picked me up and carried me to the kitchen. He sat me on a stool and used the first aid kit on my face and ribs. He had this sad look in his eyes that apologized. He didn’t do it so I don’t know why he looked at me like that.
He surprised me when he kissed my forehead; he held me tight and didn’t let me go. I felt a tear roll onto my head from his chin and before I knew it, I was silently crying.
“It’s gonna be okay,” he soothed me with his words.
I fell asleep in his arms. He placed me in my bed and I stayed asleep while he tucked me into fluffy covers that I never knew existed. I slept for three days and when I awoke, the pain was gone.
I woke up Monday at ten in the morning. For a moment, everything felt like it was okay. I raced downstairs; there’d always be breakfast when I walked downstairs. Then the thundering reality hit me again.
She’s dead, Sarah. There’s no breakfast. You have to make your own. The house was empty. Like always. I thought my dad would change because of last night, but he didn’t. I saw five beer cans in the garbage and my appetite was suddenly gone.
He returned later with an unrecognizable look on his face. He wasn’t my father anymore. His eyes were glazed over and I could tell he’d been drinking. He’d never change, dammit! He looked at me as if he didn’t even know me. I was a stranger to my own father in our house. He didn’t even spare me a second glance.
I couldn’t bear it anymore. I grabbed a knife and went upstairs. I ran some warm water and sat in the tub. I slit both of my wrists and watched myself bleed out into the tub. I briefly looked up at the ceiling and blinked. Time moved so slow and then everything went black. I just wanted to see my mom.
“Bella, are you okay?” someone asked me. It was Jennifer.
I replied, “Yea. Why? Was I daydreaming again?”
“Yes. You scare me when you drift away like that. I don’t think anyone daydreams like that B, especially not here.”
I responded, “People daydream everywhere, Jen. They daydream in New York, Idaho, Texas, everywhere. And especially here in Wisconsin, Jen.”
“Whatever. So are you going to the dance next month? It’ll be really fun. You should go.”
“No way. Not my thing. I’ll see you later. I’m going to math class now.”
“This isn’t over, Bunny. I’m going to pester you about this until you say yes. I’ll see you after I’m finished with my lunch, love.”
“Right. See ya.” I threw away my tray and headed to class. I hated math, but I was so good at it. I take that back. I hated every subject except for math. I was great in all areas but I hated doing so much work.
I must’ve been daydreaming again because I bumped into someone.
“Sorry,” I picked up his book from the floor and handed it to him.
“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you. I was a little distracted,” he replied.
All I saw were a pair of green eyes twinkling back at me.
I responded, “Sure, I have to go now. I kinda have class, you know?”
I walked away and thought about him. He must be new here. He’d be the talk of the school later. He was cute though. He smelled like roses and vanilla.