“Hey, before you leave. . .” he starts.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“I was wondering if you wanted to go with me and travel the world. I’m hoping to never come back here ever again. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I found some people with a church that I sometimes visit and they know me pretty well, but they said that they have enough money to pay for me and someone else to go around the world. They are leaving next year though around Christmas. If you’re willing to come, let me know.”
“How could you say that? I can never leave my family. Plus, my dad would never let me go. It’s impossible.” I shake my head and my eyes go dizzy. “Thank you for trying to help, but no thanks. I have to get back home. I’ll see you later.”
“Stella!” he shouts and I look towards him, but still not in his eyes. “Just promise me that you’ll think about it.”
“I will, but I won’t change my answer,” I say before I walk the long way back to my “home”.
I spend all Monday searching for food so we can sort of survive the week. With Sunday still on my mind, I can barely stay focused long enough to grab food and run out of the store. I managed to get two bananas, three water bottles, and an orange. It’s always easier to steal fruit; at least for me. So that’s what I do. After stealing four apples and stashing all the food in a ditch at the end of an alley, I make my way to the next grocery store when I see Ace. And he sees me. I turn really fast and start walking in a random direction, as long as it’s away from him. I make it about fifteen feet before I hear my name and nineteen feet before I feel his hand on my shoulder, but I shrug it off, hoping to give him the hint that I want to be alone. I walk fast again and he doesn’t grab me again, but still keeps pace with me, walking with no limp while I feel pain in my feet.
“Stella, stop! You’re going to hurt yourself. Please.” I don’t say anything and I wait for him to explain why he would dare tell me to leave my family. “Say something, please,” he begs. “Okay, fine. I’ve obviously ruined our relationship. So I’m going to say something while I can. He looks at the sky and mutters under his breath, “I can do this”, before he looks back to me. “So I wanted to say that—”
“No,” I say, interrupting him. “I can’t talk right now.” When I realized that the sky had gotten a darker shade of blue, I knew I had to leave, right then. I had no way to break that to him, but to say “no”, so I really hope there’s no hard feelings. “I have to get home,” I say. “Tell me later.”
When I get far enough away to barely hear his hard breathing breath, I hear him say to himself, “I won’t have the guts to say it to her later.”
I become super curious now and I almost start running towards the ditch, to get away from Ace and trying to get away from my feelings. Why does life always have to be this way? Why can’t I have a normal life with two happy parents that really love me? When I’m far enough away from Ace, I start to blame God. It comes to me slow at first, but then I start crying and shoving my fists to kingdom come. I shout and yell and bicker. I don’t let God get away with anything. I scream that I hate him and even put in a few curses. I pointedly said his name in vain, trying to make him angry. Who knows? Maybe he’ll start rain and strike me down like lightning. At least I could be with mom.
As I think this, I grab the food and run home, my train of thought changing when I look up to Heaven. Instead of seeing his huge face spread across the sky and looking angry, I see stars. I love to stargaze for no particular reason. Just looking at something bright in the dark sky makes me think about how beauty and light can shine through grotesque, unthinkable things. The stars stand out of the blackness and make the whole sky full of wonder and charm.
I run faster and faster, but then some unnatural force guides me along at an impossible speed and my legs are moving like lightning. I look around and find myself passing cars on the road going sixty or seventy. I don’t know how to stop myself so I just think about stopping and I jolt to a stop. I stare at my legs in amazement and look around me noticing that I went far past where I live. I try to do what I did again, but towards home and it doesn’t work. I have no idea how I did that, but it’s going to be a long journey home.
When I get home dad is already asleep so I put the food next to his feet and step outside for some air. I lay on the dirt and continue my thoughts when I hear crunching sand behind me. I’m on my feet and in a fighting position within two seconds when I see a gorgeous face in front of me.