See me when you look at me

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The list

-Samantha’s POV

6 months further

Staying home was the best thing for me. I like the routine that I have with my family. Running in the morning, walking the girls to school and then it depended mostly on my mood. I could volunteer at the center or help Gabriel out with the business.

I enrolled in a local community college to take up some business classes. Compared to what I had to do with for the GSEP program, community college was child’s play for me. But I didn’t mind, I was learning useful stuff and I enjoyed going to an actual school.

Since I wanted to contribute at home, I started working in Millie’s dad restaurant. My life was simple and that was fine. I was doing well and I just celebrated six months of sobriety. I was okay, which meant it was time for me to work on my list.

The list that is in the envelope I have been staring at for over a hour, but I’m ready now. I open the envelope and I take the letter out. It was Skylar’s idea to write these letters. She thought it would help us stay close, but also to give us something to hold on to when things were tough.

No time for tears, Samantha. This is a good thing!

With that in mind I open the letter and a smile spreads across my face. Reading the wishes of my friends makes me happy. It’s like they are all here with me. I take a deep breath and I read Damian’s wish out loud for me.

″Run for charity. Don’t run for fame and glory. Don’t run for your idiot sponsors, S. Run for you and help others at the same time. You pick. Just tell me where and when, I will be there.″

This was something I could do! I still love to run, but I do have to think about a charity. There were so many good causes, but I was sure I could find the right charity to run for. On to the next wish and I sigh. This was Skylar, no doubt about it.

″Volunteer for a month at an animal shelter, without adopting all the animals.″

That was unfair! I always said that I wanted to work at an animal shelter, but that I would end up adopting all the animals and that’s why I never did it. Skylar definitely gave me a challenge!

″Hello, sunshine! Since you are always thinking way too much, my wish is simple. Stop thinking and start walking. Finish the Ozark Highlands trails. Live, my beautiful ray of sunshine.″

I look at the star on my hand and smile, before I read Gabriel’s wish.

″Face your fear, S. Go talk to your mom. Get the closure you need to move on. Then go track down that nurse and show her that you made it!″

Of course this would be Gabriel’s wish for me. I hate it. I hate that he makes me do this and I know that I could say that I did it, but Gabriel knows me too well. He would see right trough me and part of me did wanted to do it.

I want closure and move on. Guess I now know what my first task is going to be. Although I’m really not looking forward to it.

Samantha’s POV

″You don’t have to do this, dear. We can still go back and forget about this whole thing!″ aunt Laurel says.

″I don’t want to wander anymore, aunt Laurel. I don’t want to wonder if the woman who gave birth to me, only had me as a way to make money. I want to know the truth, even when I know it’s going to hurt me.″

Aunt Laurel sighs, but nods.

I press on the doorbell and we wait. I hear footsteps and then the door opens. My mother is standing in the doorway. She looks surprised, but there is that smirk of hers.

I try to ignore the smell of alcohol that is coming of her and I walk straight passed her. I’m not having this conversation outside, not that inside was any better. Empty beer cans, empty wine bottles and the house reeks!

It reeks of sweat, of cigarettes, of rotting food and of course pot.

Somethings really never change. This was usually the mess that I would clean up.

″Hello, dear sister! How long has it been and what happened to you? I see that time was not kind to you. Those extra pounds, the grey hairs and all of those wrinkles.″

My mother, ladies and gentlemen.

″Hello, Celeste. It is nice to see you too.″

I walk into the living room, because the smell in the kitchen is making me feel nauseous. My mom looks at me as she pores herself a glass of wine.

″Do you want some, love? This always used to be your favourite, although I do think I still have some of that whiskey you like.″

″No, thank you. I answer coldly.

″Suit yourself, my darling daughter. Laurel, some cookies perhaps? You already let go of yourself, so have...″

″I wanted to talk, mom!″ I cut in. ″All I ask is that you answer my questions honestly, can you do that?″

My mom looks amused at me as she takes a sip of her wine.

″Why did you have me, mom? You were only twenty one years old and you had all those big plans. You wanted to be a model and finish acting school. So, why did you decided to have me? Did you want me or did you just kept me because of my dad?″

My mom reaches for a pack of cigarettes and she lights one up, while she keeps her gaze set on me.

″Does it matter? I had you and I raised you.″

″But you never truly wanted me,″ I sigh. ″I was a way to get money and a way to make your dreams come true.″

″I was twenty one and working at a strip club, love. You were conceived there, because my regular customer told me he loved me. He told me he would get me out of that place and that he would marry me. The great Nathaniel St. Claire promised me the world, but he was a coward!″

″He never had the guts to stand up against his family and then he said that the baby couldn’t be mine. That’s why I kept you, my darling daughter. They would keep paying me as long if you were in my custody and I would keep the secret that could ruin that the almighty St. Claire family!″

You knew the truth was going to hurt, Samantha.

″I got molested and abused by your boyfriends. You got me addicted to alcohol and drugs. You let a grown man rape me when I was thirteen! You let it happen again and again. Everything to ensure I got the best jobs or deals.Why? Because the only thing you care about is money?″

My mom takes a big gulp of her wine and she shakes her head.

″I gave you everything, Samantha. Everything and you don’t even realise it. I tried modelling and they said I was pretty, but not pretty enough. I was never going to make it in the business and it was the same for me with acting.″

″But you could, my beautiful daughter. You had the face, the body and the talent. You excelled at everything and I didn’t wanted you to miss out on anything. I did that so you would never end up in my position!″

″I would never have ended up in that position if you let me stay with aunt Laurel and uncle Thomas. I would never have ended it that position if you were not so obsessed with fame and money. We could have had a good life together, mom!″

″You, me and Emma. The three of us could have had an amazing life together. But you chose men over us. You chose alcohol and drugs over us. Your need for fame almost got me and Emma killed! I drank myself into a coma. I tried to kill myself at the center, because I couldn’t handle life anymore.″

″You almost killed Emma when you gave her too much insulin, because you were on something! I was there in the hospital, mom. I saw what you did to her and I saw how you were acting. Loving all the attention, while your own daughter was fighter for her life! That's why I took Emma with me. Because you would be the death of the both of us!''

It stays quiet for a while and I wait for my mom to say something, anything. She just keeps looking at me, while she smokes her cigarette.

″Why do you lay all the blame on me, Samantha? Your father could have married me. He could have acknowledged you as his child, but he never did. He even refused to sign the birth certificate. He was never there for you, but I was!″

″You weren’t really there, mom,'' I sigh. ''You were either drunk, high or passed out. Then we had the days where you felt good. You would dress up, go out and meet your next soulmate. Then three options remained. You would disappear for days, your new soulmate would move in with us or we would move.″

″So don’t say you were there, you weren’t. Just like my sperm donor was never there or Emma’s dad. I blame all of you, because you were the adults! All of you were supposed to take take care of us, but non of you did.″

I take a few deep breaths and I feel aunt Laurel squeeze my hand reassuringly.

″I’m sorry your dreams never came true, mom. I’m sorry that my dad was a coward. I’m sorry that Emma’s dad wasn’t any better. I’m sorry that your life turned out like this. I hope that one day you will get the help you need and turn your life around.″

″I really hope you do that, but don’t reach out to me or Emma when you do. I will never allow you to screw up her life, like you did mine. I’m saying goodbye for the both of us, mom.″

I stand up and aunt Laurel follows my example.

″You will always be my daughter, Samantha. You and Emma are my daughters. You can’t change genetics. Whether you like it or not, I will always be your mother. Just like you always be Samantha Elizabeth Jones.″

I stand in the doorway and I smile.

″Wrong and wrong. You are just the woman who gave birth to me and Emma, but you were never our mother. It’s also Reed now and not Jones. I can't change genetics, but luckily for me I could change everything else!''

Without saying anything else we leave and it was like déjà vu. Just like when I said goodbye to my sperm donor, I don't wonder if I would ever see my mom again. I said all I needed to say to her and I said goodbye for good.

I was free now and that felt great!

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