Pink Walls

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The News

way past the point of no return

is a crime without a sign

but we all know to play along

it’s just how we’re designed

Mother enjoyed asking Dad how work was and if he had a girlfriend yet even though she knew that she was running his company to the ground with her spending and he was still single.

Dad answered her questions like he always did, with an easy smile and polite words. “The company is fine. And Stephanie is fine too, actually.”

Mother choked on her fish. Her toy passed her a flute of champagne. She slapped his hand away and peered at my father in curiosity. “Stephanie? What is she, your secretary?”

“A wonderful woman,” was all Dad said, leaving me staring at him in disbelief. What was happening today?

“You haven’t mentioned her before,” Mom sipped on the fizzy wine and flashed Mr Toy an apologetic smile. “She must not be anything special.”

“We only started enjoying each other’s company on Wednesday,” Dad wiped his mouth with a paper towel then folded it in a neat triangle and placed it on top of his plate. “The food was delicious.”

I set my fork down and looked at him, wondering what he would do next. Normally he left after the meal but sometimes he took me out for a day and we got to share a giant ice cream cake. The last time he did that was five years ago when he had forgotten my birthday.

“Ah, I forgot to introduce Trevor,” Mother laughed and said just as Dad was straightening his tie and checking his watch.

Both I and Dad looked at her in surprise. She never gave out the names of her playthings and she never told them Dad’s name. It was one of the rules.

“Hi,” Trevor stretched his hand towards Dad. “Trevor McClain, nice to meet you.”

Dad didn’t reach out to complete the handshake, instead he set his hard gaze on his ex-wife. “What are you doing?”

“Today is not like the other Saturdays and Trevor is not like the other men you’ve met,” Mother explained with a stiff smile. “I was hesitant at first but now that I know that you have Stephanie, I feel better about what I’m about to say.”

“Meaning what, exactly?” Dad narrowed his eyes at the pair of lovebirds as they got to their feet. “You two—?”

“We’re getting married,” she announced out of nowhere, stunning me to the point where I accidentally knocked my plate down to the marble floor. Fish and broken ceramic decorated the area around me like abstract art. I paid no attention to it, my mind reeling as it repeated my mother’s words over and over again until I could make sense of it.

She’s getting married? To someone that looks just a few years older than me? This can’t be happening. This isn’t real. This is just a dream. Isn’t it? It has to be.

But everything that was happening had to have been real. I wasn’t asleep, I knew that. I knew my nightmares too well to even begin to trick myself into thinking otherwise. I was getting a step-father. Oh God, please don’t do this to me. Anything but this.

Her head snapped in my direction as though she had only just realized that I was still on the table. “Go to your room Olive. This is something for adults to discuss.”

I shot out of my chair and walked out of the kitchen, ignoring the way Dad tried to make eye contact with me before I left. I didn’t want to see that look again. I didn’t want to have any false hopes despite knowing he had already betrayed me.

My Dad and Mom were starting new families and I wasn’t going to be a part of either. When they got married and had the children they had always wanted what space would there be for me, the unwanted son trapped in between pink walls? Where would they keep me? Where would I live?

I stared blankly at the stairs, still not able to process what I was feeling. I’m going to be homeless.

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