The detention room was very bland and bleak. The walls barred no posters, the desks were rhythmically placed, and the mere atmosphere was boring and dull as hell. The teacher who was in charge of watching over us ‘delinquents’ was currently screaming at everyone to stop talking and to ‘think about what we’ve done’. I’m not sure if I’d prefer to be here or at home. Both places take the life out of me.
“Psst,” Someone whispers, jabbing my back with their pencil. I turn around to face a boy twirling a blue mechanical pencil between his fingers. I don’t say anything to him as he stares at me, slightly bewildered at my silence.
“Are you new here? Or just in a different year? I’m pretty sure I know all the seniors in my year.” Turning to face him more clearly, I notice just how attractive he actually is. He had green attentive eyes, with swooping brown hair that fell into before said eyes. I’d probably watched him sweep his hair back at least five times since our conversation started. More like a one-sided conversation anyways.
“I’ve been going to the same school as you since middle,” I reply simply, not sparing him another glance before turning back around in my seat. Justin Grey was the type of person who liked to know everything and everyone. He was actually highly intelligent, but he tended to have no filter. It often happened in class that when he’d correct a teacher during a lesson, or refuse to back down when someone disputed his opinion. Hence him being in detention hall.
“Can you at least tell me your name?” He pleads. I don’t know why I was surprised that he didn’t know who I was. Hardly anyone did.
“My name is simply a word construed of letters that were put together to mean something, or to have a purpose. I’d like to think my identity can be worth more than seven letters scrawled onto a certificate when I was born into this world. Is it possible to be more than what people identify you as?” He just stares at me and says nothing. I don’t speak to him anymore after that, and ponder over how I’ve said more words to Justin than I have anyone else in this building in the past few years.
Glasses against lips; forks scraping plates. These were the things that dinner that night consisted of, two people gathered around a table trying to force a normality that no longer existed.
The absence of the other people who were supposed to also be sat at this very table was almost haunting. My mom forced me to sit here and have dinner with her every night. It was the one rule we had; dinner time was dysfunctional family time. She always grasped at straws when it came to conversations, and often asked about school although we both knew I hardly participated in class. The phone calls crowding our receiver of fed up teachers was proof of that.
“Your dad called,” She says at last, setting down her glass and trying to get me to meet her eyes. Instead, I stared at the swirling liquid of the contents in her glass cup. My mom didn’t care much for coffee, and preferred sweetened tea over coffee’s bitter taste.
“What did he say?” I ask at last, knowing I couldn’t prolong this conversation any longer.
“He wants to see you.”
“No,” I say immediately, standing up to collect our plates and discard them into the sink. My mom’s glare warned me to stay seated. I reluctantly sat back down in my chair.
“Lillian, I understand that you’re upset with your father. He understands that. But you are still his daughter. You can’t hate him forever,” She tries to reason with me, but I’d heard quite enough from this conversation since we’ve had it multiple times.
“I don’t want to see him. I don’t want anything to do with him. I hate how much you guys try to force me to forgive him. May I please be excused?” I say impatiently, watching as her shoulders slumped in defeat as she waves me away. Setting the dishes in the sink, I pad up the stairs and enter my bedroom.
Retrieving my bag from where I had sat it after school, I pull out my notebook and flip to a clean page. Then, I begin writing.
Something newer, shinier
Something new comes along, and we are all left in the dust
Bitter, so bitter is the taste
To realize you’re another mistake
We’re just old toys left behind
In your brighter, lighter life
No need for broken toys
Long gone from repair
Because there’s nothing of value there
Picturesque is the new
No time to choose
Crush the lives of the old
And embrace the new
For we had no choice or option to choose
For once left behind
There’s no taking back
what once was mine.
My father could play house and embrace his new family; but it didn’t mean that I would.