Leaving

She stood there in the fading sunlight of the setting sun, hot tears rolling down her face. Only a few minutes ago, she’d argued with her mother and left the house with a hastily packed backpack in a fit of anger. She knew about her mother’s affair with the neighbour’s brother. She’d read the texts between them and once even caught him sneaking into her house through the backdoor.

So at dinner, when her mother started doubting her father for being seen in a restaurant with a girl she knew was just his old friend, she burst. She shouted about how she knew her mother was cheating on her father with the neighbour’s very friendly brother and about how she was blaming her father of adultery when she knew he wouldn’t ever do that. She knew she was breaking her father’s heart. She could see his face slowly falling with every harsh word lashed at her mother. But she couldn’t stop. It just kept coming out. When she was done, her father got up and left the kitchen without saying a word. She stared at his retreating back, shame creeping in as she realised what she’d done. And then her mother spoke up from her place at the table, not having reacted yet to her outburst. In a deathly calm voice saturated with anger, she said,”Get out.”

She could only stare at her mother, her mouth falling open in shock.”I’m sorry, what?”

“Get the hell out of my house.”she repeated in the same deathly voice.

She gaped at her. How dare she?”Do you even feel guilty about what you did to him?”

“I said, get out.”

She got up in anger.”Fine, I think I will, you bitch.”

She ran up the stairs to her room, pulling out a backpack and throwing the stuff she could get her hands on, into it. Her clothes, her phone, her notebook, her pocket money and more. When the bag couldn’t fit any more things, she zipped it shut, slung it over a shoulder and walked out of her room, passing her parents’ room. She peeped in to see her father sitting on the edge of his bed, holding a picture frame and looking at it, tears welling out. She sadly smiled at him, whispering an apology and she walked downstairs. She headed towards the front door, passing her mother who was now sitting in the living room, a wineglass in one hand, her face not betraying any emotion.”I’m leaving then, mother.” she called out, injecting as much venom as she could and slipping out, closing the door behind her loudly, making sure that the neighbours could hear it.

She walked down the pathway, her eyes stinging with tears as what she’d done caught up to her. She’d ruined her parents’ lives. She knew she had. Maybe it was better that she was leaving, both for her and them. She came to a stop at the end of the pathway, where it met the sidewalk. She stared down at the road in front of her, her face hard, her eyes shining with tears. Her shadow was growing longer and longer as the sun set, leaving a rosy glow on her face. The street was empty, the houses’ windows lit up as families sat down for dinner, laughing about stories of the day. She bitterly chuckled, knowing none of the happiness would last. Each family had its own secrets and none ever survived the aftermath. She broke down into sobs, her shoulders shaking. She couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t move. Hot tears rolled down her face as she gasped for air, her bag lying forgotten on the sidewalk. Her heart was racing and she just wanted to curl up into a ball and die. Her mother clearly despised her, her father was never going to talk to her and her younger sister was at her prom, cluelessly partying the night away. Where was she going to go? What was she going to do? Her life was screwing up in front of her eyes and it was all her fault.

Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out.

She took a deep breath and let it out through her mouth, whistling as it blew between her teeth. She repeated and repeated, her heartbeat slowing down. She took off her blue rectangular glasses, wiping them with her sweashirt. She needed to go about it rationally. First things first, she needed to get out of there. She couldn’t stay another minute without either going into a homicidal rage or breaking down into hysterical sobs and she would do anything to eliminate those options. She wandered down the street aimlessly, thinking of places to go and things to do. She looked up from the sidewalk, surprised to find herself a few yards away from her sister’s high school. She could hear the beats of the music playing inside and teenagers stumbling in and out of the brick building, clearly drunk out of their minds. She rolled her eyes, taking a step forward.

She heard heavy footsteps behind her and she froze midstep, her eyes widening in fear. They were coming closer and her heartbeat quickened.

“Bro!”

She turned around and sighed in relief to see a tipsy senior, his hand raised, calling out for a fellow student, his ‘bro.’ She needed to say goodbye to her sister, she needed to let her know what had happened and where she was going. If she tried to come with her, she’d stop her and tell her to stay where she’d be safe. She walked in, swerving out of the paths of the drunken seniors. After finding the gymnasium and her sister in it, she filled her in. Her sister reluctantly let her go, giving her her car keys to help her along the way. They teared up and she hugged and kissed her goodbye, fleeing as the DJ changed the song to a slow love song.

She searched for the Jeep, finding it in the far corner of the vast high school parking lot. She ran towards it, unlocking it and getting into the driver’s seat, driving away as the first notes of Thinking Out Loud sounded out.

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