by Emily R Mazza
It all started last summer.
It all started last summer. Dad and mom declared a divorce that not only had they been wishing for but I too had been praying for.
Ever since I could remember mom and dad would scream and bicker over the little things that they always say in the movies are supposed to be the “joys of marriage”.
Mom and dad enjoyed none of the “joys of marriage”. Infact, I can only really recall two or three times that I saw them genuinely laugh with each other, and none of them being sober.
Growing up in a broken home is dreaded, but for me, it's just normal. I expect no sympathy and honestly, it's always just been normal for me to have arguing parents.
I remember in 6th grade, my mother and my bestfriend Crystals mother set us up for a playdate for a Saturday afternoon and when Crystal actual came over,
dad punched a hole through his and mom's door after an argument over dad showing up home late and Crystal called her mom begging to come home, it scared her shitless.
Dad always showed up late, one of the main reasons him and mom would always be bickering.
Other women had never crossed my mind because to an adolescent, mommy and daddy were supposed to be in love and cheating hardly even ran through my naive mind unless it had to do with Monopoly.
As I got older, issues between them got a lot more noticeable and the reasons as to why they would argue became more understandable;
dad comes home 4 hours later than he's supposed to. Mom yells and hides herself in her room. I knock to come in and sit in her lap and play in her hair, reminding her how beautiful she was.
Mom was so beautiful.
I remember the way her blonde hair curled perfectly away from her face and how when she smiled her eyes looked like a campfire, burning and warm.
But she was jaded too, I remember when her blonde hairs started growing gray and how her front, left tooth had a tiny chip in it from one of her and dad's fights.
Lifes hardships began taking a noticeable toll on her youthful beauty.
And at that moment, when I realized the pain my mom endured due to my father, I began to pray every night that mommy and daddy would split up.
I prayed for my mother the hardest, I loved my mother and missed her smile.
I remember my thirteenth birthday like it was yesterday. Infact, when I close my eyes I still can hear the screams and see the blood.
With the stress of trying to please their now “teenage” daughter, mom and dad were back arguing, but this time it was different. Mom was angry this time. No, mom was not angry-- mom was furious.
Her eyes were red and puffy and beginning to bruise and I remember hearing her scream louder than any time before. And with that, the battle took flight;
plates and punches thrown, forks tossed, names called, and all the in between.
I cried that day.
After that, mom left.
I haven’t seen mom in three years, but I love her each and everyday. I can't blame her for leaving us, dad hurt her and all I could do was pet her hair and call her beautiful.
I miss her with every inch of my soul.
That brings me to today.
t's been three years, which also means that on this day I am officially turning sixteen years old. For most girls it's the best day of their life. Presents, permitted driving, huge parties.
But for me, it's just a reminder of the day that I lost the most important person I could ever love.
Dad tried pleasing me as if I don't blame him everyday for the loss of my mother. He constantly tries buying my love, my happiness, my gratitude, but not everybody has a price--
and I sure as hell don’t.
But for some odd reason, he found it appropriate on this day, to surprise me. “Happy Birthday!” what an oxymoron, huh?
When I walked in the house from my after school study group, I saw all the remaining family that stayed in contact with me and my father once my mom left.
But one thing was off… There was an unfamiliar woman here I did not recognize and for some odd reason she gave me an uncomfortable vibe.
Who was she? Why was she at a “celebration” for my 16th birthday?
I shrugged it off for the time being, I figured the quicker I faked a smile and pretended to be overwhelmed with joy and eat my cake and dinner then the quicker everyone would be gone,
Dinner rolled around and everyone was seated in a bunch of fold out chairs and tables, stuffing their mongrel faces with the steak my father made them all.
I hate steak, mom knew that.
My father came outside to join us, and to my surprise, the unfamiliar woman followed. They both walked toward the center of the tables and stood as if they were preparing to announce something.
My father dared to say, and I quote him on these words;
“As you all know and I’m sure you’re all curious, this woman has never been here before. Her name is Julia, and she has been a good friend of mine for almost 8 years now. Me and Julia...
for the past 4 years have had to hide the relationship that we have due to saving the feelings of my daughter Livy. But, Livy!
You are 16 years old officially and I think that at this point of your life you are now mature enough to be happy to see your old pops happy with a new woman..”
After that I blanked.
The wench smiled at me. I could almost feel the vomit building up in my throat and the only place I wanted to let it out was directly on the woman's face.
It all made sense now.
The arguing, the fighting, the secrets, the tears. My dad ruined my mother and I could never at this point ever blame her for leaving us.
I stared him blank in the face for the rest of his cowardly speech and when he came to the end, and the family had all roared in excitement and cheered to a new beginning,
I replied to him with a simple goodnight and walked calmly to my bedroom where I began to punch holes in every single wall, picture frame and mirror in my room. How dare he. How dare she.
Anger overpowered me and I began to pack, no clue where for but just like my mother, I planned to flee.Running away from the man who wrecked us. And just like that I am now gone.
Four shirts, jeans, pajama shorts, $16 and a tooth brush.
And I am walking. It's been three days of walking and I’m still not sure where I’m going but I’m in the center of the huge city neighbouring the suburbs where I once lived.
I’m sure my father and the law enforcement are searching for me everywhere, but I will not go home.
I came up to a hotdog stand in the middle of Center St. being that I hadn't eaten since I left. As I was being handed my food, I felt a bee buzzing near my ear and flung myself in a tiny panic.
In the midst of it I made eye contact with a familiar woman.
Her hair was curled perfectly away from her face, and the eye contact stung me harder than any wasp.