Today is Wednesday, I’ve finished the paper but I’m late going downstairs to help Mom with the organizing the books. She gave me a lot of work to do today. Shakely, I stand up and put my contacts and glasses on then head downstairs. I take a deep calming breath when I get to the swinging door. When I open the door I see mom working on setting the cash register up. She looks up at me immediately at the sound of the door closing. She looks down at her watch, I watch as her face slowly changes one of anger and flinch. This won’t be good. She slowly stalks her way to me. Knowing better I do not move and move my head down.
“You stupid, usless girl!” She yells as the back of her hand swings across my face. This, this is why I hate her teaching me. I don’t move a muscle and try to tune her out as she throws insults at me. That is until I hear something of value. “I threw away everything for you! I was going to be a lawyer!” This time however it isn’t the back of her hand that comes down its her fist. It slams my into the corner of my right eye before I even notice she moved her hand. Immediately, it knocks me onto the floor. Shocked, I move my hand to the spot and see blood on my fingers. Tears escape my eyes as I register the sharp pain from her hands and her hatred for me.
Just when she is about to kick Dad walks into the shop through the back door. He immediately runs over and pulls her away from me then rushes over and lifts me up from the floor. “My Bella,” he whispers my nickname sadly while lifting my face. “Get her out of here, I don’t want to see her!” Screams Mom, Dad is quick to help me upstairs into the bathroom.
“She hates me Dad.” I tell him sadly while tears rush down my face. He shushes me and gets the first aid kit.
“No she doesn’t she loves you, just sometimes she misses her old life, sweetie.” He tells me while cleaning the cut, he sighs. “You are going to have a bruise.” He then grabs the ice pack that you shake to make cold and puts it on my face. “What set her off this time?”
“I took too long, I just got down to the store right before you came home. She gave me a lot of assignments today and they took longer than I thought they would. I didn’t even have time for lunch and I started right after you left.” I tell him brokenly. The last few months of her homeschooling me last time this happened on a regular basis at one point she nearly broke my arm. I tried to defend myself but I am not as good as she is and it just made it worse. One time when she was teaching me Romainian I couldn’t properly pronounce a few words, I was still a kid and struggled with my speech at times. She grabbed a ruler and would hit my hands with it everytime I would pronounce it wrong. By the end of the day both of my hands were black and blue and it hurt to even lift a pencil. Dad grabs a cloth and wets it with warm water and runs it over my face to get the tears away. He kisses my forehead then opens the door to my room. He comes back with one of his shirts that I used to steal all the time when this would happen and some comfortable pajama shorts.
“Why don’t you take a shower, I’ll make dinner and have it in your room when you get done.” He then leaves the bathroom and closes the door behind him. I sigh and put the ice pack on the counter. I am careful to not look at myself in the mirror as I take the contacts out. I hate wearing them, my green eyes are so much better than any color we use. What’s crazy is I don’t even know my Mom’s natural hair color. She changes it so often, sometimes when she doesn’t want to cut it she will get a wig. Whenever she does that I know we won’t be staying at that place very long.
The worst place we ever lived was Russia but only because Mom never allowed me to leave the house. I didn’t know Russian and I couldn’t hide my French accent yet was her reasoning. When she would come home she would be so angry and just send me to my room. I spent most of my time alone. Even now I am alone at least that’s how it feels. When we were there I was eight and we stayed for a year shortly after moving there I stopped speaking. I still do that sometimes, go days without saying anything.
I sigh when I realize I have used up all the hot water. I get out and dry off using my light pink towel. Mom has burgundy towels and Dad had the fluffy black ones. I can hear Dad arguing with Mom about what she did today. Later tonight though it’ll be like nothing happened and they will have makeup sex. In the morning Mom will apologize with a fake gentle smile with Dad’s hand somewhere on her body, depending on if they are sitting or standing. I unlock the bathroom doors then lay down on my bed, ignoring the food. Apollo whines at the foot of my bed, I pick him up and place him next to me. He curls up into a ball on the pillow next to mine and looks at me. I gently pet his head as I allow a few more tears to come out.
I must have fallen asleep at some point because when I wake up again my alarm clock reads 12:23 a.m. I sigh and roll over to see Apollo has moved. He now lays under one of the blankets. I sit up as I hear my mom’s moans and grab my computer to turn on music. We once lived in a place where the master bedroom was sound proof, that was amazing and I slept much better. I am a really light sleeper, the smallest sounds wake me up. I turn the music on and grab a book, my shifting wakes up Apollo and he jumps up wagging his tail. Probably thinking it’s playtime, I pull him next to me and gently pet him until he calms back down while I read. It’s in Spanish about a young girl who runs away from her family to be with a stranger she met online. Stupid girl. An hour later I notice it’s gotten quiet so I turn my light off and music to try and sleep again.
“Let me help you, Arabella.” a deep man’s voice says with a hand reaching towards my face. It seems that I am on the ground. I look down and see I am only in my bra and panties. I look back up and still can only see the hand, nothing else. Tentatively I take the hand and allow myself to be pulled onto my feet. He guides me through the tall grass to a beautiful lake. The moon glistens off the water. I put my feet in the water but I don’t feel anything. I look up at where the man stood and see nothing but the grassy field.
“BEEP, beep,” my alarm wakes me from my weird dream. I reach over and turn it off. I set it earlier, 6:00 am now. I get up and find a gray knitted sweater and some light blue skinny jeans. I then head to the bathroom and do my business before putting my contacts and glasses on. When I get back to my room I pick up Apollo and the uneaten plate of food. Nobody is in the kitchen when I come out so I quickly trash the food, rinse the plate and put it in the dishwasher. Apollo whines from my hands and I quickly make my way down the stairs before he has an accident. As soon as I set him down outside he rushes off to his favorite spot to go. I look down at my hands and see I have marks from what looks like my nails on my palms. That’s weird I don’t remember doing that.
I look over as I hear Apollo coming, a small laugh escapes me as I see him. He’s got a stick bigger than he is and is trying to run with it. He suddenly falls over and then gets back up and shakes himself. I call for him to come here but now he’s chewing on the stick and distracted. I need to give him his medicine and food. I walk over there and pick him up with the stick still hanging from his mouth. Quickly I take it out and throw it before heading upstairs. Dad’s in the kitchen with the coffee pot going, I can hear the shower on. Must be Mom, I put Apollo down and start putting his food in his bowl and refill his water bowl.
“Your mom put your instructions for the day on your desk. You don’t need to help her in the store today.” Dad tells me as he puts his cereal in a bowl. I just nod my head and set Apollo’s bowls down then head into the office. Dad sighs, “you need to eat something. Come sit, I’ll get you a bowl of cereal.” He puts another bowl down and fills it with my favorite cereal with almond milk. I’m not allergic to cow’s milk, I just don’t like it. As I am nearly done with the bowl Mom comes out of their room with her hair in a braid. She silently makes a cup of coffee until Dad touches her back and nods his head to her.
She grumbles about not even having coffee yet then turns towards me with a fake smile on her face. “I’m sorry, Violet, that was uncalled for yesterday.” I look away from them both and garbage the rest of the food and load the bowl in the dishwasher. “And silent she goes…” Mom mutters as I leave the room. “She’s such a…” Dad must have given her a look because she doesn’t finish the sentence.