I woke up to my parents yelling at each other from downstairs. Again.
I groaned, tucking my head under my pillow. My headphones squashed my ears, but I didn't care. Why couldn't summer be over yet?
They started fighting after my older sister died of a drug overdose three years ago. Diana was a bitch. Always selfish, always vain. Call me a terrible sister but I don't miss her.
My parents think I'll turn out like her. Sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. Plus the occasional cigarette or two and you got Diana at her best. Or should I say worse?
I want nothing to do with it. My life consists of a refined schedule. Wake up at 5:30. Run until 6:15. Shower until 6:20. Pack a bag and eat breakfast. Feed dog at 6:30. Let dog out at 6:32.
Answer mail and text messages until 6:38. Brush teeth, hair, and put on shoes. Leave house at 6:40. Arrive at school at 6:45. Tutor people until 7:10. Attend classes until 3:30.
Run cross country until 5:30. Walk home. Let dog out at 5:45. Do homework until 6. Eat frozen dinner till 6:25. Finish homework or clean until 7. Shower till 7:20. Head to work at 7:40.
Work until 10:40. Arrive home at 11. Sleep. Rinse and repeat.
I don’t mind though. It allows me to be away from the house as much as possible.
And then summer had to come along and ruin my beautiful schedule. For the most part, this is how I live. I hadn't always been this way. I used to party like there was no tomorrow.
That is until my dad forgot about me. He was too busy fighting with my mom, who was struggling to cope with the fact that her daughter died.
Neither of them noticed the fourteen-year-old girl in the corner of the room, wondering why her sister hadn't left the world sooner.
Eventually, my mom retreated into a nook in her brain, not coming out for anything. My dad constantly left the house, claiming to go to "work" but came back with red marks on his neck.
And that girl in the corner? I've been taking care of myself since. It's harder to pay the bills because I have to pitch in my own money, but I manage.
This year, I'll be going into senior year at the local high school. According to everyone, it's going to be the best year of my life. I don't have my hopes up too high.
I don’t like other people. I have a few close friends but for the most part, everyone knows me as ‘the girl whose sister died from an od’
As I looked at my clock to check the time (7:12), I noticed something odd outside my window. For a minute, I thought there weren't any cars outside in the streets.
I blinked again and they were back. As I swung my legs over my bed I told myself I was just tired.
I put on my fuzzy grey slippers, brushed my long honey brown hair and headed downstairs to find my parents sitting at the table as if they were expecting me.
"Aspen," my father said, "We need to talk."
I sat down, studying the man who provided the sperm to make me. "Your mother and I think it would be a good idea to get a divorce." He started to say something else and then paused.
"Great," I said, not being sarcastic in the slightest, "you leave, I'll stay with Mom." When he looked at me in shock, I explained.
"Honestly, did you really think I didn't know you were going to do this?
You guys have been fighting for so long, it'll be nice to have some peace and quiet for once, as well as a properly cooked meal."
My dad looked at my mom and I had a sinking feeling that I was wrong.
"Actually, your mom and I think it would be a good idea for her to have some time alone with a counselor."
"What?" Nope. Not accepting it.
"You are going to live with me until the doctor says Sandi's stable."
I hadn't heard my dad use my mom's first name since Diana died. It was always ‘woman’ or just ‘you’
"This is a joke, right?" I laughed nervously. I was not for the idea of moving.
"No, Aspen," my dad said with a sigh, running his hand through his brown hair streaked with grey, "it's not a joke. We leave in two weeks. Make your preparations now."
And on that happy note, he got up and left the room.
I looked at my mother who had become even frailer than I had remembered.
“It’ll be a good change, sweety. You work too hard as it is and you need a break. Besides, I’m well taken care of with the doctor” She winked at me and made a quick succession of vulgar gestures.
I snorted into my shirt, trying to conceal my laughter. A glimmer of the woman my mother once was peaked through the shell she had encased herself in.
“Come, Aspen Olivia Davis, let’s make us some dinner.”