There were those days smiling was all she could do to forget her reality and then there were those days that she became too tired to smile, reality too overpowering to be forgotten, as if reality itself didn’t want to be disappeared amongst all other things.
Today was one of those days, those days when reality tested how long her boundaries lasted.
Props to reality really – it chose one of the worst days to test her. It was burning hot, humid and suffocating. There was sweat running down her back and there was makeup running down her face, but she was too busy to actually complain.
Or rather register it.
All she could hear was the series of honks and people roaring out of their windows as if they were caged inside their cars. She was losing her levelheadedness from the panic and the anxiousness but thankfully, she didn’t lose her focus on the matter on hand. Not as if focusing on the matter helped much either; her mother just wouldn’t step out of the cab and the cab driver wasn’t too pleased with her trying to take his customer away.
“Mom, could you please just come out? Please,” Aria beseeched. Her mother wasn’t even listening to her, too determined in trying to close the door.
“Hurry up, young lady! I have places to be,” the cab driver shouted, watching his rearview mirror in dread. “Do you see the traffic you’re causing right now?”
Fuck this, she thought. Aria was using force and though she was pretty short compared to women her age, there was no doubt she was much stronger than her mother’s frail frame. She grabbed her mother by the arm, hauled her out of the car and shut the taxi door all at the same time.
The taxi driver whizzed past them in nanoseconds without any hesitation as she dragged her screaming mother to the direction of the sidewalk. She was never good with crossing roads and just seeing the cars that were speeding by both her sides was only making her falter. With half her attention on her mother who was trying to escape her hold and the other half on the blaring beeps of the cars whenever they tried to cross the road, she was petrified.
It took her a while, and only because her heartbeats were much louder than the honks that it actually calmed her down, but she was ultimately able to cross the road.
The moment they safely arrived to the sidewalk, she was met with the unexpected. Her mother’s slap on her left cheek had her ears ringing and at that very second, fury climbed its way through her. She was too close to doing something she had wanted to do for a very long time but she held back, like she always did. She held back as the same old justifications resonated in her head.
“Let’s talk at home,” Aria muttered through her gritted teeth.
She should have known her mother wasn’t going to go easy on her after what she had done. She should have anticipated the worst. But she didn’t prepare for it. Thus, when her mother seized her by the hair readily, she could only yelp out in pain.
“How dare you treat me like this?” her mother shrieked. “Is this how you pay me back for raising you? Why did I ever give birth to you?”
Aria knew her mother was still firing all sorts of rhetorical questions but now all she could think about was how every single passerby was watching them absorbedly and how she was going to break away from her mother’s grip. She was embarrassed beyond words and all she wanted to do was cry right now.