I hate perfect, spotless carpet. Why are there no stains? How is it even possible to keep white carpet perfectly cleanse? Just looking at it gives me anxiety. My right hand shook slightly as I imagined the transparent glass clutched in my palm falling and spilling it’s dark liquid contents everywhere; leaving a blotted splotch of red to sink and soak itself into the recesses of the pure white carpet. Everything about my dad and his girlfriend Karen’s house was perfect. Spotless. Untarnished. Unlike me.
“Lilly? Will you play dollies with me?” Looking down, I see a pair of cute brown eyes and a radiant smile. Frankie, Karen’s daughter, was the only good thing about this place. She reminded me of a calmer, better time in my life. When I was a little girl and roped anyone I possibly could into playing with me. She has blonde, curly hair with freckles dotting each of her cheeks like tiny kisses, and her front two teeth were missing. She was absolutely adorable.
“Sure,” I respond quietly, giving her a small smile that was vacuous in comparison to hers.
“Yay! Come on, follow me,” She escorted me to a large loft room, that had a bountiful amount of toys strewn everywhere. There were dollhouses set around strategically, each placed in specific corners of the room. Toy cars and limousines were parked beside each. All kinds of clothes for the dolls were sat in a large pile in another spot of the room. There was pretty much anything ranging from dresses, skirts, slacks, and shoes for them. That’s not to mention the overwhelming amount of dolls crowding up the large space. This would be my six year old self’s nirvana. Crouching down to entertain Frankie with whatever she pleased, I was interrupted by a voice calling up to us.
“Lilly, can you come downstairs for a second? We’d like to speak to you.” The sound of my father’s voice causes me to stiffen. I don’t want to speak to him. And I especially don’t want to talk to her. Walking down the stairs as slowly as I can, it’s not long before I enter the living room where my dad and Karen are sitting together side by side on their burgundy couch.
Karen is everything that my mom isn’t. She’s blonde haired, blue eyed, and overly peppy. She’s this large burst of energy in the room that I tend to stray from. She demands attention, and her smile is eye-catching. She was the type of beautiful that slapped you in the face. I’m not saying that my mother isn’t beautiful, because honestly she is stunning.
But her beauty is more hidden, lurking within the depths of her caramel brown eyes that I inherited, and her smile, though rare, would take your breath away if you were special enough to witness it. My mother had inky black hair, and a dark sort of aura surrounding her. Despite her harsh exterior, my mom had the biggest heart and was fiercely loyal. When dad left, it was as if he took her spirit with him. The once strong and beautiful woman I looked up to as a child became a disheveled shell of her former self. Ever since dad betrayed us, she hasn’t been the same. And quite frankly, neither have I. And I don’t think I will ever forgive him for that.
“Oh Lillian! You don’t know how happy I am that you’re here! Your father and I have been dying to show you the house and the room we set up for you!” Karen has perfect, straight, and blindingly white teeth. I watch as her cherry red lips continue to open and close as she expresses her gratitude for my presence in their oh so wonderful home. What a load of crap.
“I’m only here because my actual mother forced me to. And quite frankly I’m sorry you wasted your time decorating a bedroom for me when the last thing I’d want to do is stay in your spotless house with the family you stole from me,” I spit, feeling fury clog my veins. Even though I felt horrible for saying those words, they felt so good. It felt amazing to finally be honest about my feelings.
Karen’s pretty lips fell open in astonishment before twisting in a sad frown. Glancing at my father, I watched as his facial features contorted into anger. I had awoken the beast.
“Lillian Ann Alvarado, how dare you speak to Karen that way! Apologize immediately!” He boomed, causing me to jump at the sheer anger and incredulity in his tone. But then I remembered all the nights I’d listen to him speak to my mother the exact same way. Stand back as he continued to scream at her. Well not anymore. That ends right here, right now.
“I’ll apologize to her when you say you’re sorry to me for ruining mine and mom’s lives. I’ll apologize when you make up all those nights I had to sit in my bedroom and listen to my mom sob when you left! So don’t fucking tell me to apologize when you’ve never been sorry for a single thing you’ve ever done!” I shout, feeling all those repressed emotions spilling out of me. I had been silent during their divorce. I faded into the background and stopped caring about everything. My opinion didn’t matter to them anymore, so my voice would make no difference. But my silence has now been broken. And it felt damn good.
They both stood in stunned silence as I left the room quickly. Stomping up the stairs, I snatched up my bag and phone as I began to furiously punch in my mom’s number. Before I could go back downstairs I heard Frankie call out to me.
“Are you leaving already?” Those innocent eyes. All I could focus on was her sweet eyes and little frown. How could Karen, a woman I had spent countless nights blaming for my father’s departure, have such a sweet child? It seemed wrong somehow. It tugged at my emotions how Frankie had already claimed for herself a place in my heart. But it could never fill the hole my father left.
“Yes. I’ll see you soon okay?” I lied, running down the stairs out of the front door. If I could help it I wouldn’t ever come back here. The only regret I would have about it would be not seeing Frankie. Undoubtedly, I could see myself considering Frankie as my sibling. I don’t know if that’s due to the fact that the last few years of my life were hell, my father sucks, or that I can’t see my actual sibling at all. All these factors contributed to my crappy life.
And that’s just something I’m forced to deal with.