I took one last look out at the crowd after the principal had called my name. Despite everything I had managed to graduate and on time. I made it through even though every part of me wanted to die. People who have never spoken a single word to me and believed all the nasty rumors were cheering and praising me as if we had always been the best of friends.
It disgusted me.
My dad sat there, alone, with a smile on his face and tear stained cheeks. He was beaming with pride as I forced a small smile and waved at him. I was doing this for him and only him. If it had been up to me, I’d be somewhere else and they could just mail me my diploma. This didn’t feel like a celebration to me. It didn’t like I’d gotten through high school with my head held high. It felt exactly like what it was. My last time seeing the people who made my life hell and Dave.
“Hurry up slow poke!” he teased yelling at me from the top of the escalator. I rolled my eyes shaking my head and pretending to ignore him. He had to much energy for someone just getting over a cold. For some reason he ran up the escalator skipping two or three steps at a time.
“It defeats the purpose of taking this thing if you’re just going to run up them.” I laughed finally standing on the side of him again. “Why so much energy Mickey?”
“After three days without my one true love because I was all germy and contagious, I’m just happy to have my queen by my side again.” I snorted as he actually bowed.
“Someone’s dramatic today.” I teased. He’d called me as soon as ten hit. It was one of the times where he was the alarm before the dogs were. He yelled he was free and then practically demanded that we go to the mall, and now here we were. He was being annoying, but I admit that I missed him and his dramatics.
“Well I’m-” he stopped talking and walking and stared at something on the kiosk we were passing. “We have to get those.” he gasped. I raised my eyebrow at him curious. He just rolled his eyes before facing me in the direction he was looking and pointing to the object of his desire. I gasped myself feeling his smug smiled directed towards me. “They’re perfect for us.” I couldn’t deny it. There was matching necklace/bracelet set that had little butterfly and heart charms. In the center was a decent size butterfly that said his. Sitting alongside it was a matching chain and watch set that said hers. Both sets were a blend of silver and rose-gold.
“They’re for couples.” I sighed. I really liked them and I wanted them, but it wasn’t like that for us.
“They’re for people in relationships. Doesn’t specify the kind. You’re my best relationship right now and I’m buying it.” he smiled as he twirled me around. “I’m yours Maria! Now brand me!” he teased as I rolled my eyes before caving. I couldn’t deny what he said. They were perfect for us.
He stood there cheering for me, but even I could see the sadness in his eyes. Our happiest day seemed so far behind us. Tears itched the corners of my eyes as the light caught the chain around his neck. Instantly my hand went to the bracelet on my arm and I felt like a horrible person. I hadn’t spoken to him since what happened at his house. I left him a note after I woke up saying that I thought the friendship was over and if the feeling ever changed, he’d be the first to know. I doubt that they will though. He hurt me deep and a part of me still wanted to make him feel as lifeless and disappointed as I felt; but another part of me loved that he still wore his chain around his neck claiming him as mine.
I was already sick to my stomach with grief and wanting my vengeance and didn’t need conflicting feelings to add too it. I knew that nothing good would come from any of it. It would only hurt me further, because I just wasn’t that girl. I wasn’t the girl that could still be around you constantly and just pretend and ignore like everything hadn’t happened. I wasn’t there girl that could push away the memories when I was surrounded by the places they were created. I wasn’t that girl anymore.
I couldn’t be.
My mother wasn’t here, but that wasn’t a surprise. She too believed Clarissa and her lies and when the truth came out she packed a bag and disappeared. We didn’t make up, didn’t give us the chance too. She didn’t even come to apologize. Everything was out in the open now and she never once came to see if I was okay. She just up and left without so much as a good-bye. I know that she checks in with my dad here and there, but that’s about it. I know we are better off without her, at least for now. At least until she came admit she’s an alcoholic and try to change. I know she’ll come back to him when I’m off for college. I’m the one she doesn’t want around. She still loves him. She never wanted a daughter like me. She was another reason that I knew I was doing the right thing by going away to college.
I wasn’t going too far away, but it was still a couple of hours of driving. My dad had made me promise that I’d stay and spend at least a month of the summer with him when he found out my plans and I caved. He knew that I’d do anything for him, but once this month was over, I was leaving this place and everything that reminded me of it. I’m not even sure I want to come back for the holidays and I wasn’t caving on that.
As I walked back down the aisle I could feel everyone’s eyes on me. I could hear the whispers and the accusations that I was the one who turned them in. The students were torned. Some felt like Clarissa and John had only gotten a slap on the wrist after all they’d done. They believed they deserved more than five years in a correctional facility. I agreed. They could have at least gone to prison, but then again I was biased. Others felt like the judge was too harsh on them. Again I was biased, drugging and blackmail just seemed like something that shouldn’t be taken lightly at all.
As I had been doing for the rest of the year, I tried to ignore the looks and whispers. I held in my whimpers and tears until I was sure I couldn’t be seen. Before I knew it, I was running down the aisle and out of the building. My chest was tightly constricting, cutting off my airway. I could hear both Dave and my father calling after me, but it wasn’t only making it worse. I couldn’t wait to say good-bye. I had to get away and I had to do it now. I needed to be alone. I needed to be away from this place and everything it reminded me of. I needed to be away from Dave. I was barely in my car before the tears started running down my cheeks. I didn’t want to drive in the midst of a panic attack, but I had no choice.
I had to run.
Like mother, like daughter I guess.
I’m so fucking sorry dad, but I just can’t anymore. I can’t pretend like I’m okay when I’m not.