Chapter Twenty Two. Did I just give the devil another chance?
Song for this chapter: Kesha-Praying
They say when the people we love most are in pain our natural instinct is to look after them and not let them out of sight until we can tell they are okay. Us humans were set out to help one another, not bring each other down and abandon anyone when they show their true feelings for once in their lives.
Help is a word known to many but it is a word so many people don’t want to say because they are afraid of being labelled as damaged, as sensitive, as hurt. But those three traits are all what make us human. I’m not going to say to everyone that every second of your life you are going to be happy, that you are going to be so excited for something the next day that your body won’t allow you to sleep, that your life will always be filled with rainbows and unicorns-because that’s just not the truth.
There are going to be times in your lives where you just break down and you feel as if the world is ending, maybe you might only experience that once in your lives and if you do, know you are one of the lucky few who have the privilege to only have been broken once-Take pride in it because the rest of us humans will get hurt ten times more often.
We will fall to our knees with tears streaming down our faces, our shoulders will shake as our tears escape, we will feel hollow inside and feel as if we are drowning in a metaphorical ocean that is getting deeper and deeper with each tear.
We will feel as if nothing will ever be back to ‘normal’ again, but what is normal? Normal is simply a word to describe how we all should be, how we should act and what we should do. It is a word that has no meaning to me because there is no such thing as ‘normal’ in a life like this. Us humans simply live life and just go with the flow, not knowing what that day has to offer.
There is no need for a word such as normal because no one is ‘normal’. I think the word normal strives for the perfect human being and so many people try to live up to it but end up breaking down because it is too far up and not within human reach.
No human can reach that ‘normal’ because it is not within our world, it is in another galaxy and will remain there for all of eternity. It was designed for us humans to simply look at, to be inspired by, to try be a better person because of, it was not designed to be replicated.
Because each one of humans were designed differently, we all like different things, we all have different traits from our neighbors, we all don’t wear the same clothing and we all don’t look alike because we are not perfect and normal is simply yet another word for perfect. But humans aren’t perfect, we’re not perfect because we are humans and not because we cry or laugh, but because we are all different from one another.
All we can have is people who make us feel perfect, because to them we are and to us they are. It’s just a matter of finding that person. It might take a month, a year, a week or even a lifetime but that perfect someone for you is out there somewhere waiting ,you just have to look deep and hard enough.
I knew now holding a sleeping Grayson in my arms that there was no other way I would want to have life because he was that person, he was that person that made me want to be a better person, not only for him but for myself. He was the person that made me feel perfect even though I wasn’t. I have flaws, I have imperfections, I have bad days, but I’m human and that’s what comes with life.
The way his mouth was parted open just a little bit as he snored lightly on my lap, the way his short brown hair felt as soft as cotton as I ran my fingers through it gently, the way each and every feature of his face looked so perfect to me that it was hard to believe that he had just broken down in front of me not so long ago.
But he was human and he trusted me and I trusted him and trust was something not many people had but I was so blessed to have Grayson’s and for him to know he has not only my trust, but without knowing it he had every piece of my heart along with it.
Watching him break down broke my heart into a million pieces and watching him cry pained me more than it would hurt to be hurt myself and that’s how I knew I wholeheartedly loved him. When his pain hurt me more than my own pain and when his smiles and laughs and eyes made my heart warm and made me feel light inside, that’s how I knew I loved him.
I never wanted to leave him in this moment, there was no other place on this earth where I would rather be other than with Grayson asleep in my lap as he caught up with the hours of sleep he missed last night. He looked so perfect in this moment, it was hard to believe he was hurting on the inside but I wanted to try make that pain go away, to show him I was there for him and I as long as i’m breathing, I always will be.
He stirred in his sleep but he did not yet wake up, I rubbed his face gently going over every feature as he slept almost soundlessly. My heart was torn in two just watching him knowing that when he wakes up he’ll be hurt and there’s nothing I could possibly to do to prevent that.
I furrowed my brows at the sound of the front door opening and since I closed the living room door I couldn’t tell who it was. It was more than likely Jackson coming home from Olivia’s, but I couldn’t help but feel as if it weren’t.
Not wanting to wake up Grayson and letting him continue to sleep, I gently lifted his head off my lap and placed a pillow under his head slowly as I stood up and quietly tip toed out of the living room, careful not to make the wooden door creak.
I gently closed the door behind me as I walked to kitchen where I could hear rustling coming from. ″Jack-″ I began to whisper yell, but my eyes widened and my heartbeat quickened at who was now in front of me.
She always comes at the wrong time, why can’t she just catch a bus to Indiana with all her alcohol money she stole from us and never return. We don’t need her anymore, we gave her countless amount of times to change, but she still disappoints us to a point where we just stopped caring a long, long time ago.
″Elizabeth″ I seethed making her jerk from her spot, she turned around and faced me. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, we did have similar features, her dark brown hair was like mine, her slim figure was like mine but I couldn’t tell if it were the lack of food doing it to me and the alcohol doing it to her.
But I had Dad’s eyes, I was the only one of the three kids to have them. I remember Dad’s eyes as clear as day. They were always warm and bright filled with laughter and love, everything mine lacked at this moment.
″Elizabeth″ She mimicked, her voice slightly slurry from the alcohol but her old voice was still there hidden underneath all of it.
″That is not my name″I spat, crossing my arms over my chest. ″What are you doing here?″.
She laughed, it was filled was falseness and even made me flinch. ″That’s the name I gave you, that’s what is on your birth certificate. Your name is Elizabeth Johnson and that’s what it will always be″.
I took in deep breaths and let them out, trying to push away my anger and not rip her head off right here. ″No″ I laughed back, ″My name is Libby, but I guess you wouldn’t know that since you abandoned your family!″ I spat. Anger was laced in my words, but that wasn’t the height of it, I could do so much worse but I wasn’t going to because I wasn’t that person anymore.
She eyed me and up and down like dirt then chuckled menacingly, ″You are nothing but a younger me, Elizabeth. Getting into fights, drinking all the time, going out partying with your friends″ She accused but oh how she was so wrong, because I was nothing like her. I didn’t do any of those things in a long time and I didn’t plan to again either.
I’ve changed, unlike some people.
″How would you know that, you’re never around!″ I spat through gritted teeth, not wanting to be too loud as Grayson was asleep not too far away and the last thing I wanted was for him to wake and see...her.
″Because unlike you, Elizabeth″ I said her name in a harsh tone, I being the one to eye her up and down, ″I’ve changed, I’ve become a better person, I have been the one raising Gabriela while you go out and waste our money on alcohol so if you think you can come in here and take that money you’re wrong because I have it hid where you’ll never find it″.
She shook her head at me, her lips tight lipped, her eyes underlined with fury. Once again she laughed like the crazy person she is, ″Oh Elizabeth, you’ll never change. This is who you are now and there’s nothing you can do about it″.
She really thought I didn’t know? I knew exactly what she was hinting at, she was saying I was now a bad person because of the crash. Oh how I was going to shock her.
I shook my head at her a small, knowing smile on my face. ″Oh what, you thought I wouldn’t know? I mean you can’t be that dumb can you? But then again you did abandon your entire family so you must be that dumb″ I spoke with a high pitched voice like I was that dumb plastic from mean girls. Karen Samuel’s?
Her mouth opened slightly, probably thinking in that small brain of hers how I would ever possibly find out, ″I have no idea what you’re talking about″ She lied straight through her once white teeth that are now stained a bit of yellow from the numerous amount of alcohol intake.
I shook my disappointingly at her, you think she would stop lying at this point but of course she had to play dumb. But was she even acting? I think her brain got fried from the alcohol and is actually dumb now. Would not be surprised to be honest.
″Oh really?″ I remarked sarcastically, ″So you don’t happen to know what i’m talking about when I say the words: Blake, snow day, car crash, coma?″. I quirked a brow at her, her face faltered, her eyes showing something I couldn’t quite decipher.
″How do you know about that?″ She whispered out, her voice shocked. Oh please I’ve seen better acting in one of those little cartoons you’re shown during sex ed class.
She can’t fool me anymore, I know her tricks. ″Stop playing dumb already. It was actually very easy to find out, I mean it took a few years but once I found out from a guy who I thought I never met before named Blake and I questioned Jackson about it, the truth came out of his mouth in a matter of minutes″ I shrugged, my voice monotone and sarcastic.
She looked like she just wanted the floor to just open up and swallow her whole, I second that. ″You know everything?″ She questioned, her eyes looking everywhere but at me.
I nodded my head even though she wasn’t looking at me, shame really my own biological mother can’t look her daughter in the eyes. She’s dead to me anyways.
″I know. Every.Little.Detail.″ I seethed, saying each word slowly. ″I know how you felt as if you lost two in that crash, how you didn’t just feel as if Dad died but I did too. But I didn’t because i’m still here. So why did you leave! Why did you leave Gabriela? Even if you thought you lost me why didn’t you stay for her? She’s just a child!″ I spat, angry tears starting to build up in my eyes.
All these years of Elizabeth leaving us, I had never once confronted her on why she left and didn’t at least stay for Gabriela. She was innocent in all of this, she needed her Mother but I was the one that had to step up to the plate and do that for her and I shouldn’t have to do that. I should have been living my life, not raising a child.
″It was too hard!″ She shouted, if there any pictures hanging on the walls i’m sure they would have shook by the nails. It was too hard? She can’t be serious right now. This has to be all a big joke.
I pursed my lips and narrowed my eyes at her, ″You have got to be kidding me!, it was too hard for you?″ I spat. ″Did you even ever think about anyone other about yourself? Did you ever think of how hard it was for me to lose both parents and yet have to raise a three year old at the age of thirteen? I had no clue what I was doing!″ I harshly brushed away the angry tears leaving my eyes, she didn’t deserve to see me cry with anger.
I couldn’t believe I had once called this fowl person in front of me my Mother. Now she was nothing but a memory I would spend all of my life trying to erase, she didn’t deserve to be remembered. If I had kids when I was older I would tell them the great stories of my Dad and that Elizabeth died giving birth to Gabriela.
″I couldn’t stand by and watch as you changed into a bad person, Elizabeth. I couldn’t stand by and watch as you became my younger self, I thought if I left it would be easier for everyone″ She admitted, her eyes becoming glossy with tears.
Good let her cry, she deserves it.
She had to be on some level of high right now, ‘easier for everyone’. Yeah right, she is a selfish human being who deserves to be behind bars for child neglect.
″Pathetic″ I shook my head, my voice filled with venom.″Admit it,you left because you were only thinking about yourself. How in your right mind did you think it would be easier for a three year old to be left with no parents? Huh?″ I barked out, anger pulsing through my veins but I was holding myself back.
″Okay″ She croaked out, ″I admit it, I left because I was being selfish. I couldn’t stand knowing I didn’t have my husband or my little girl anymore. I spent everything we had on alcohol and I was cruel. But I want to change, Elizabeth. I want to be back in your life, all of your lives″.
My eyes slightly widened at her statement, she had to be fucking with me. There was no way I or anyone was letting her back into our lives anymore. She had her multiple shots but she took them and ran and instead took vodka shots at a bar at all hours of the night.
″No″ I shook my head strictly, ″We all gave you chance after chance to come back into our lives and how did you repay us? You took our money we needed for food for alcohol and god knows what else by now. Gabriela wouldn’t even recognize you if she saw you. She doesn’t remember who you are!″ I shouted at her, but my voice not as loud as it could go.
She was a fool to think that we would just welcome her back with open arms like we were all in an episode of fucking Barney and we would sing ‘i love you, you love me ,were a big happy family’ together by a camp fire melting marshmallows on a stick. She was on la la land.
″I want to change, Elizabeth. I want to become clean, I want to be there for all of you again. I want Gabriela to remember her Mother. I want to pay you all back for everything I have done to you″ She begged, her voice still sluggish but her eyes held something I hadn’t seen in many, many years. Regret.
It would take a whole lot more other than regret for her to come running back into our lives again. It would take a fucking unicorn and that’s something she could never get which means she can never come back. She had her chances and now her time is up.
″How many times do I have to tell you, Elizabeth. I’m nothing like you, my name is Libby″ I huffed, rolling my eyes. ″I am the closest thing Gabriela has to a Mother so don’t you think you can come back here and expect for me to greet you with open arms when I know you will be drunk within three hours using our money we need for food″.
She bent her head down ashamed at her actions, she should feel all the guilt in the world. She deserves all the bad luck in the world for what she did to me, to Jackson and Gabriela. Dad would be anything but proud of her.
″Please, Libby″ She begged, the way my name rolled of her tongue made me cringe back, ″Gabriela needs a mother in her life, not a teenager who needs to live her life. You have to admit it El-Libby that you can’t look after her much longer. You can’t afford to″ She stated, her voice almost in a whisper like how she would talk to me when I was a child when I fell and she was cleaning up the small gash.
″Oh and you do?″ I laughed in sarcasm, this woman had the audacity to come in here wanting her kids back and yet she is a alcoholic who had way too many chances and will probably never chance and by tomorrow will be suffering with a hungover if she isn’t immune to them by now and will be taking back every single one of her words.
″I have a job actually″ She stated. Okay, to say I wasn’t shocked wouldn’t be a lie. How did an alcoholic manage to get a job anywhere in this small town amazes me.
″At a bar″. Shouldn’t be surprised at that one, at least they know she’ll never be late. She probably lives there by now.
″I got my first paycheck today, I was giving it to you. I wasn’t trying to take any money″ She admitted, her voice low and starting to sound more like her old self but the alcohol has changed it to be more husky.
″I mean can you blame for thinking you were? You do it every week leaving us with barely anything! We had to fend for ourselves for four years, Jackson only got a job a while ago because this town is too small and there’s barely anywhere to work. But that’s far from the point, the point is that you were so selfish that you took most of our money that we desperately needed. The money you left us would only do Gabriela for a week let alone three of us for two weeks!″.
I got angry again remembering just how bad of a person she was, leaving three ‘kids’ underage to fend for themselves, even Judge Judy would be ashamed of her.
″I know what I did was terrible and I can’t expect you to ever forgive me for that, but please just give me a chance to be there. If not for you, please think about Gabriela. She needs a mother who can support her, I can support all three of you along side your Father’s life insurance money, he left enough money for all of us. I took it but I didn’t touch a penny out of it. If you just give me one more chance I promise I won’t ever let any of you down, not again″. Her voice was sad and pained and was like the Elizabeth I remembered from when I was a child, not the sad and pained part but just how honest she sounded like she would die for you.
Snap out of it, Libby!
She’s lying to you!
She’s your mother, forgive her.
Give her another shot, it can’t hurt to try!
Who do I listen to? My heart was telling me one thing whilst my head was saying another. But I knew I had to choose what my Dad would have wanted and he would have wanted his family whole again if even only for three minutes.
″I’m giving you one change″ I sighed, her eyes lit up and her smile broadened, ″Under these conditions″.
Did I just give the devil another chance?