Overexposed

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Chapter 20

I got lunch on my way home. I also called my insurance card to find a therapist I could see tomorrow. They were able to find one rather quickly, and I have an appointment early tomorrow morning and I was nervous.

As I pulled into my driveway, I saw someone sitting on the stairs in front of my apartment. I thought it was Hope. It looked like her from the back and from this distance. At least it did until the woman turned around, she was older than my last memory of her, I guess that’s what time does to you.

I turned off my car. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. She was completely alone, there was no sign of Ian anywhere.

Fear takes over my heart. It’s like I’m ten years old again. I always did my best to stay far away from them, but they were the only thing keeping me alive. I dreaded having to ask them for anything. A ten year old should never feel like that, like a burden. They brought me into the world, I didn’t have a choice.

After a few minutes, I open my car door. I get out, my body feels really heavy, like I’m being weighed down. I grabbed my food and made my way over to her, stopping ten feet away from her. If just walking past her was an option, I would.

Her eyes were brown. I got my green eyes from my father, the lighter skin, too. The curviness to my body was because my mother is Mexican. My ability to tan was also because of her. We also had the same brown hair.

“Hanna.” I feel like a hot searing knife is being pressed into my heart when she says my name. It’s been almost twenty years since I’ve seen her, or talked to her, or heard her voice.

“You don’t get to say my name.” I didn’t care how I sounded to her. She didn’t deserve kindness from me when she let me down as my parent. I almost died because of them.

She sighs.

“What are you doing here?” My face was composed while talking to her, my attitude was clear, but inside I was shaking.

“I came because of Hope, your sister.”

“How long after did you have her?” I needed to know.

“When I was arrested, they did a blood and urine test. I didn’t know I was pregnant, Hope came six months after.” That means that she was pregnant while she was drinking, while she was high, while they locked me in a closet for a whole weekend because they didn’t feel like taking care of me.

“And they let you keep her after what you did to me?” Hope should never have been in their care.

“I was given an ultimatum, I had to stay clean for a full year after her birth. They put her in a foster family while I served the rest of my time, then when I got out I got to have supervised visits. Also had to do parenting school. Then I got to take her home. I haven’t drank or done drugs since that day, you should know that.” I shake my head and try not to laugh. This was ridiculous.

“How long did you serve time?” This was details I never got because I was too young. By the time I got old enough to know, I didn’t care. I guess I was still curious because I was asking the questions.

“A year. Ian got three.” She got off easy.

“I’m assuming Hope doesn’t know any of this?” I ask. “Does she know that her mother and father were so addicted to drugs and alcohol that they almost killed their first daughter?” I saw the tears in Isabela’s eyes. I was hurting her, but I didn’t care. I hurt for a long time, she doesn’t deserve for her suffering to end ever.

“Hope doesn’t know. Which is why I came here today. I wanted to thank you for not telling her the other day.” Unbelievable.

“I didn’t do it for either of you. I did it for her. I shouldn’t be the one to tell her that her parents are monsters.” Isabela looks down. “Are you and Ian still together?” I was worried that he would show up next at my apartment. I don’t know how she found where I live.

“No. I’m married to a wonderful man, and Ian is married to a great woman. We do coparent Hope. He’s a motivational speaker now, and he also hasn’t touched drugs or alcohol since that day.”

“Glad to know that horrible act has made you into wonderful people.” I felt so much anger. I wanted her to leave.

“Hanna, I’m only telling you this because I need you to believe that we are changed people. Hope is a happy eighteen year old, she’s in community college right now, and she wants to get to know her big sister that she’s missed out on.” I snap at her for that last part of her sentence.

“And whose fault is that? Not mine. It’s yours and Ian’s. You could have told her about me, but you two chose not to.”

“Hanna, all I’m ask-”

“You don’t get to ask me for anything, Isabela. You don’t get to abuse me as a child and then ask me for stuff. I’m not going to lie to her for you. She doesn’t deserve to be lied to. If she somehow finds out why she didn’t know about me, I’m not going to deny it. She missed out on a big sister because you two chose drugs and alcohol over me, your daughter. You have no excuse.” Isabela was crying now.

“You’re right.”

“If she wants to get to know me, I’d be happy to get to know her. Just her. I don’t want to know about you or Ian or your great and wonderful spouses. I don’t want to hear about your lives now because you two died in my mind on that day.” Isabela nods and wipes her tears that aren’t stopping. “Now leave my property. Don’t ever come back here.”

Isabela takes off to the street. I’m assuming her car is parked over there. I have trouble opening my door because my hands are shaking.

Once inside, I run to the bathroom and start throwing up. I feel so sick. I start to cry. What the hell just happened?

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