Chapter 4: Libby
“You’re doing what?”
This is not the reply I was expecting. “Um,” I say, knowing this isn’t the answer they’re looking for. “I’m going to New York? By myself?”
I stare at my parents as they sit at their spots in the living room, staring at me as if I were going mad. Dad speaks first, sitting up straighter in his recliner and lying his paper down in his lap. “Uh, well sweetie...” He sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose as if he can just feel the headache coming on. “That’s very unexpected.”
“Tomorrow,” I add, and their heads snap back up at me in alarm.
"What?” they repeat, and this time it’s my turn to sigh. “Why are you doing this, hon? And where are you getting this money?”
Aware that I’m about to be stepping into a war-zone, I reply cautiously, “Liv’s parents are pitching in a bit.”
“Oh, God, would y’all stop that already?” I ask exasperatedly, taking my short hair into fistfuls and sitting on the couch across from them. “And would you actually listen if I tell you my plan?” They look at each other, and then at me, and nod in unison. Thank God, I sigh internally, smiling at the chance they’re giving me to explain myself. “Alright, so here’s what’s happened:
“Yesterday after I left the cemetery I went upstairs and looked through some old photo boxes I kept when I was younger. Ones when Liv was still alive.” Their eyes soften at the sound of Liv’s name on my lips, and I find that telling them this just might be easier than I thought. “Anyways, in the box, I found photographs I had taken when Liv and I were making bucket lists, and I also found in the box... I found Liv’s bucket list.
“There are forty-nine things on that list, guys,” I say, looking at them earnestly and hoping to whoever is up there that they’re keeping an open mind. “And I’m going to complete them.”
Mom nods, but Dad doesn’t respond. “Sweetie,” Mom says hesitantly, taking her husband’s hand in her own and squeezing it. “We understand. But do you really need to go all the way to New York to complete this?”
I laugh. “Where else am I going to read a book in Central Park?”
Mom gives Dad a look, as if to say, say something! and he grumbles something inaudible as he struggles to sit back up in his seat. “Libby...” he starts. “Libby. I - I mean we - don’t think that a young girl like you should be going all by yourself to a big state such as New York by yourself. It’s not safe... at all.”
I groan, slouching in my spot and veering my gaze to the ceiling. “I can’t believe this.”
“Believe what, honey?” Mom asks, ever-so caring.
Slamming my hands on either side of me on the couch, I sit back up in one big rush and give myself a small headache in the process but I say anyways, “That y’all won’t let me go all by myself! I am an adult - eighteen friggin’ years old - and you won’t let me go? I didn’t want to play this card earlier, but may I remind you that I can just leave whenever I want to? That I can just pack my bags and leave this house forever?”
“Don’t start this, Elizabeth,” Dad cautions, slowly pushing his recliner down. “You don’t know where you’re taking this.”
“But Dad, it’s already started! How can I go back? For five freaking years I’ve felt like Liv’s death was a burden on me, and then I realized that I was a burden on Liv’s death. That I should do something in memory of her; that I should do something to keep her spirit alive. And that’s only something I can do by myself, Dad. I’m the only one who can do this.”
I sigh, and when I brush my short bangs from my face, something wet lands on my arm. Shit, I think. I’m crying.
“She was my best friend, Dad. I don’t know what else to say.”
Dad grumbles and stands up from his spot, giving me a tiny heart attack as he walks over to me and holds his arms out. “Get up,” he commands. “And give your old pop a hug.”
Wiping my cheek with the back of my hand, I say, “Wha-What? Why?”
He looks at me as if I were stupid. What a dick. “Cause I’m gonna miss you, kiddo.”
It takes me a couple seconds to comprehend his words, but when I do, I cry out in and jump into his arms. “Dad, Dad, Dad thank you so much! Oh my God I can’t believe I’m going to fucking New York!”
“Libby!” my parents yell.
“Sorry, sorry,” I laugh, stepping away from Dad’s embrace and wiping away the stupid tears from my face. “Agh, but thank you!” I look at Mom and she smiles at me and I immediately walk over to her and give her a hug as well. “Y’all are the best. Seriously.”
“There’s only one condition,” Dad says behind me, and I call out a “what” over my shoulder as Mom squeezes the life out of me. “No boys.
I laugh, backing away from Mom and looking Dad dead in the eye. “Wouldn’t dream of it.”