While I watch him drive away, staring blindly at the red tail-lights until they disappear around the corner, I have an epiphany. I realize this is why love never lasts, because girls always choose the exhilarating and heady relationship over the safe and secure one.
I turn toward my front door determinately and decide I have just learned the most important life lesson I might ever need to learn. This is the answer I have been looking for, as I realize love never got lost between my mom and dad, it was just never really there. It was an imaginary, weak in the knees kind of love. I will never make the same mistake of choosing wrong because the initial excitement will fade as life is filled with other things like work and babies, but safe and secure will always be there.
The week following up to the visit with my dad passes uneventfully. I dismiss the idea of witches and magic as silly superstition. I convince myself I did not really hear the crunch of metal and I did not feel the car knock into Kieran when he saved me. It was only my vivid imagination.
Every morning on the train, I stand closely next to Kieran and he twirls his arm in mine and then wraps my fingers through his. At school, we spend every possible moment together, we give each other suggestive looks whenever we glance at each other, and we smile at each other meaningfully. After school on the train, I sit snuggled in closely under his arm as he drapes it over my shoulders. I tell him about my apprehension about going to see my dad, and he convinces me I will be okay, that it will probably turn out to be a fun weekend. He persuades me that my dad loves me, although deep down I have to wonder if he really does.
The optometrist tells me my eyes are perfect. I have twenty-twenty vision. Yet, the shadows which are starting to surround me on a permanent basis, become darker and nearer. No longer do I only see them in my peripheral vision. I can see them straight on, face-to-face. I think about suggesting to my mother that I go see our GP, but I do not want to worry her unnecessarily, she has enough problems at the moment.
I try not to think about Jayden. I do not know why it bothers me that he could be, probably is, upset with me. It should not be troubling me at all.
On Friday, my mom and I are standing in the kitchen, and she smiles at me reassuringly when she says something rather profound, “Remember, everybody is looking for that one thing to make them happy.”
I look up at her with a puckered brow.
She continues, “Your dad and I thought we found that something with each other, but it wasn’t something we could cherish forever and we were never willing to fight for it. Although your dad found somebody else, it was not entirely his fault.”
“Yes, but how can you stop loving each other? I thought when you told somebody you loved him, it is supposed to be forever and you cannot tell just any boy you love him. You have to feel it deep inside of you.”
She smiles sadly as she agrees, “That’s true, but sometimes it isn’t so easy. Your father and I had a whirlwind relationship.” She grins as she recalls a memory. “I suppose we did love each other in the beginning, and we probably got too serious too soon. Besides.” She smiles at me. “How could we not have loved each other when we created you?” She hesitates for a moment. “Your dad and I stopped loving each other a long time ago, although I must admit he did, in a way, break my heart when he said there was someone else, he had met another who he thought he could be happy with. A tiny, little piece of me was still relieved it was eventually over, but there will always be another tiny part of me that will always love him.”
“I suppose when I’m older, I’ll get it.”
She laughs nervously. “Just remember, your dad is still trying to find his feet in his new relationship, so do not be ugly to Shirley.”
How can she accept everything so easily? I exclaim, “Shirley! Is that her name?” I could have added a few four-letter adjectives, but my mom does not tolerate foul language.
My mom gives me a look. A look I know well—one of those looks which require no words.
Seven o’clock sharp, I see my dad’s car headlights glare through my lounge window curtains.
I sigh deeply. “He’s here. Unbelievably he isn’t late—the one time I actually wanted him to be late.”
She moves toward me as I move closer to her. She hugs me tightly to her. I take after her, she is not very tall, but I am still a head taller than she is.
When I let her go, she smiles encouragingly. “You’ll be okay.”
“Are you walking me to the door?”
“Not tonight.” I look at her and I can see something that almost looks like fear in her eyes.
“Okay, Mom. Please do not sleep in front of the TV every night and look after yourself.”
She laughs humorously. “Yes, dear.”
I pull my bag from the kitchen counter, and I feel sad leaving her at home all by herself. Before I walk out of the kitchen, I say, “I love you, Mommy.”
She rushes to me and gives me another quick hug. “I love you too, Heather.” She smooths her hand over my hair, as she says, “You are not going away forever and I will see you on Sunday.”
I walk out the door and then turn back to make sure the lock is latched.