Struck Me

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Chapter Nine

My grandmother arrived home around noon and forced me to go out to eat with her. I wasn't necessarily upset because I hadn't eaten much the past two days and didn't realize how hungry I was until she mentioned food.

We ended up at a small cafe that sold mostly coffee and sandwiches. The place was filled with people when we walked inside, instantly making my heart race. I could feel my face heating up and my palms begin to sweat.

It's not that crowds of people usually make me anxious, I just wondered if these people could read me. Could they see how horrible I felt on the inside?

Could they read me well enough to know that my mother was dead and I feel like I am falling apart every moment that I continue to live without her?

No one was looking at me but I feared they would. I feared that Leah or Justin might have told more people and those people just happened to be at this cafe with me today.

"I believe the funeral will be this Tuesday. I was able to plan a lot this morning. Alone. It's ridiculous. I stopped by Heather's house and no one was home. Not to mention her house was a complete mess! Has Eileen seen her recently?" My grandmother asks.

"No. We haven't seen her in a really long time," I lie.

"That's so typical of Eileen. Your mom didn't want to have any connections with anyone in the family."

"Well why didn't you ever bother to visit us?" I don't know if I should have asked because I don't want her to cause a scene, but I figured she wouldn't let herself look stupid in public.

"Oliver, did your mom not ever make you dress appropriately? You're basically in your pajamas and it looks ridiculous!" She says, trying to change the subject.

"Sorry I didn't feel like dressing up and going out to talk shit about my mom just a day after I found out she died."

She rolls her eyes at me.

"What?" I ask. "Why do you hate her? I'm trying my best not to raise my voice in fear of causing more conflict.

"Why would you think I hate my own daughter? I don't hate her. I tried time after time to reach out but she never wanted to talk to me or Heather after your dad left."

"Do..do you know where my dad is? Is he alive?"

"Hell if I know. He moved out of Washington a long time ago and none of us ever heard from him since. Eileen had no way of contacting him."

"Why did he leave?"

"Jesus, Oliver. Did your mom not tell you anything? She left me to do that too I guess."

I stare at her impatiently waiting for an explanation. I wonder if this is what my mom was supposed to talk to me about.

"Well I'm certainly in no position to tell you, Oliver so don't look at me."

"Who's supposed to tell me then? I want to know why my dad left and I think my mom was going to tell me the day she passed. She said she had something to talk to me about."

"That could mean anything."

"No, I really think she was. She wanted to talk about Heather."

"Why?"

"Because-" Crap. I don't know why I bother talking if I can't ever keep my mouth shut.

"I don't know." I cut myself off and sink into my chair, hoping she wouldn't want to talk about this anymore.

My grandmother looks at me suspiciously. "We should get home."

For once I agree.

We get into the car and the ride home is driven in complete silence.


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