The Boy That Hates Books

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Chapter 29: Opening Old Wounds

Maybe the only way to see someone who’s run away again, is to run after them.

But if you do that, won’t the reason they ran away in the first place catch up to you too?

This is what Kirsten learns when she decides to find her sister. And she learns the hard way.

If we could see the mess we’d made, maybe we’d feel guilty. But then again, maybe not.

The smell of broken eggs, milk and intoxicating spray paint filled the air, having coated most of the walls. Our faces were hot as we pulled the scarves off from around our mouths because even though there were no cameras, I’d insisted to put them on for effect and to add to the experience.

As we left the Highway Cafe behind, no longer in the authentic but presentable condition it was last in, I felt as if some kind of weight had been taken off my shoulders. I had finally gotten revenge on the boy who made my sister leave me behind.

Maybe that’s what fuelled the idea that had kindled inside my head as we headed back onto the highway, driving underneath the moonlight on our little adventure. It’d been lingering in the back of my mind for awhile now, but it had never managed to get to the forefront. And now it had, I couldn’t shake it.

How could I not tell Nala that Vixen had gotten what he’d deserved? I mean, it might not seem like a big deal, but that was Vixen’s only source of making money. He had zero contact with his parents, which meant he was completely alone financially. This would destroy him.

Was it cruel to feel proud of myself?

“I want to find my sister.”

The Boy That Hates Books looked shocked, splatters of multicoloured spray paint on his slightly freckled cheeks.

“Well your wish is my command. But uh-how the hell are we going to find her?”

“I’ll phone my mum and ask her for the address.”

Whether she’d tell me or not, I really didn’t know. Part of me wondered why we hadn’t been to see her all this time. Maybe mum didn’t know where she was, but I had a feeling she did.

“If she knew then wouldn’t she of told you by now?” The Boy That Hates Books voiced my concern aloud.

“Maybe. Or maybe the pain of going to see her would be too much.”

“That’s her decision to make. It doesn’t seem like she ever gave you a chance to make yours. I think you should ask for your sister’s phone number instead, then you can ask her for yourself.”

I nodded slowly, tears pricking my eyes. I swallowed hard, wishing I could swallow away my doubts along with it.

“You know what, that’s actually a good idea.”

Glancing at the time, I worried that my mum would be asleep. For some reason, I had this desperation to see Nala tonight and not wait any longer. The fact that it was almost 11pm didn’t get in the way.

Pressing my phone against my ear, I listened as it rang once, twice, three times, before someone picked up.

“Mum?”

“Kirsten? Are you okay?” Her voice was thick with worry, and sounded tired.

“Yes, I’m fine. I didn’t expect you to be awake.”

And I didn’t. She went to sleep early and woke up late, so this was unusual for her.

“I didn’t expect to be either...I’m just worried about you.”

The pain in her voice made me flinch, a sudden feeling of guilt taking over.

“I’m sorry mum I-”

“Don’t be. Sooner or later I am going to have to let you go. Two days is nothing compared to a lifetime.”

I decided to cut to the point before I gave in and made The Boy That Hates Books turn around and drive me home. My mum didn’t deserve this, not after everything she’d been through. But she couldn’t drag me down with her.

“What’s Nala’s phone number?”

I awaited an answer but it never came.

“Mum? I know she got a new phone when she left so the number I have on mine is useless. I was wondering if you could give her new one to me?”

“Why?” Her voice was shaky, filled with doubt and unanswered questions.

“Because I haven’t spoken to my sister in over a year. I want to catch up with her.” I tried not to sound bitter, but I couldn’t help it. Asking why was stupid. Wasn’t it obvious?

“I’m not sure that’s a good idea Kris.”

“And why the hell not?” My voice rose, unintended.

“Because you’re going to open up old wounds. Your sister is happy now. She ran away for a reason.”

“But what about me? What if my wounds never healed mum. Don’t I get the choice?!”

“Okay Kirsten.” Her voice sounded distant now, wobbly.

“Are you crying?” I couldn’t understand why she was acting like this.

“No. I’ll give you her number. But don’t blame me if you don’t get the fairy tale reunion you’re imagining.”

She gave me the number before hanging up, and not even bothering to say I love you.

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