Day 23

Skye has been falling for a long time, but she's fed up of it. She knows it's going to be hard, but she's determined to pull her life back from the brink.
But when Chris gets involved, well, things start going differently to how she planned.
"Why aren't you fighting back goddammit?"
"Because you, Skye Monroe, know nothing about me, about why."

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8. Day Seven

Day seven:

I woke up early in the morning, disturbed by the sound of other people moving about in the house. I’d forgotten that Pansy was an early riser, just like the rest of the family. It was just me who behaved like a normal teenager and slept in for as long as I could. I could hear spoons scraping against bowls downstairs and cups clinking as they knocked into each other, accompanied by the soft murmur of breakfast conversation. I pulled myself from my sleepy stupor and checked that I was decent before I went to the bathroom for my shower. That was the thing about having guests in the house; you couldn’t go anywhere in just your pyjamas, not even just down the hall to the bathroom, in case you met your guest.

I dressed quickly and contemplated just staying upstairs all day. I was scared of what my mother would say after my disappearing act yesterday, but I was starving, and needed breakfast, so I plucked up all my courage and made my way quietly downstairs, trying not to make too much noise, as if that would make any difference.

I tentatively made my way into the kitchen, and was largely ignored, until I got to the cupboard with the breakfast cereal in.

“Skye, your father and I need a word with you,” Mum said, her voice as hard as nails.

I could feel her death glare stripping away the flesh on the back of my neck, so I turned around, avoiding eye contact and sat at the kitchen table, waiting for the yelling to commence.

“Skye…” my father began, slightly worriedly. He didn’t like confrontations, and especially not when my mother was standing over him waiting for as harsh treatment as she would have given. I think most people in the family were scared of my mum.

“Go on,” Mum urged.

“We’re not very happy with you for leaving the house yesterday without our permission, and especially not when we had guests. You understand where we’re coming from, don’t you?”

I bowed my head, hoping that my mother wasn’t going to get involved. Unfortunately, she was.

“That’s a complete understatement, dear. We’re absolutely furious with you for sneaking out of the house not only after I expressly told you not to go, but also when we had guests.” She spoke every word like it was an effort not to get really mad at me.

“But you told me I could go!” (Sort of.)

“I did not tell you that you could go!” Mum argued. Maybe she was putting more emphasis on the ‘no’ part of what she said. “And anyway, that is not the worst bit. It was bad enough that you left without permission, but the worst bit is that you left when we had guests. You were supposed to be looking after them and making them feel welcome, but instead you sneaked off somewhere and made them feel like you didn’t want to spend time with them, with your own sister!” Her voice rose.

“Come on Jack, I’ll take you to see the town,” Pansy said, ushering Jack out. “You can come too Rhys.”

“I want to stay here!” he whined.

“Tough, you’re coming,” Pansy said definitely.

“Is it too hard for you to contemplate my feelings in all of this?” I yelled, jumping to my feet. “Is it impossible for you to see that I needed some time out of the house, some space?”

“Well surely you can suppress your moody teenager behaviour while your sister is visiting. Is it too much to ask that you act like a civil human being while we have guests in the house?” Mum shouted, and I faintly heard the front door slam behind Pansy, Jack and Rhys.

“This is precisely why I needed to get out! I know you care more about Pansy, I know that. I’m not as pretty as her, or as clever, or as freaking perfect, and besides, I’m here all the time so it’s not that big a deal, but that doesn’t mean that when Pansy comes to visit you have to discard me like I’m not related to you! I’m your daughter too!” I shouted, as loud as I could.

“Well if you behave like this then I don’t think I want to be related to you!”

There was a shocked silence, and Dad looked up from the table in horror. Finally we were hearing what my mother really thought, and it wasn’t pretty.

Mum glanced at her feet, then back at me. “I’m so sorry, Skye. I didn’t mean it.”

“Oh you meant it, Mum. You meant it all right,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady.

I shoved some shoes on my feet and grabbed the spare keys from the hook before storming out. I got as far as the end of the road before I doubled over in tears. I sat on the curb and sobbed, the loud kind of crying that envelops your whole body and you can’t seem to stop, even if you want to. I curled up in a ball and cried and cried and cried, letting it all out. I knew my mother didn’t like me as much as she liked my brother and sister, it was always obvious in the way she treated us, but to hear her say it, to hear her say, of her own accord, that she’d rather she wasn’t related to me, that broke my heart. She may not have fully meant it, but she said it, and you don’t say something like that unless a little bit of you means it.

Your mother is the one who is supposed to love you unconditionally, and I know I’ve always had a rocky relationship with my mother, but it never got as bad as this, her disowning me. And I knew Dad would never stand up for me. He was a spineless as a jellyfish.

I was overcome with too much of everything. There was too much fighting, and too much stress, and too much had happened, or not happened, in the last week. I knew what I wanted to do, what I needed to do, and I knew it would make me feel better, but I wouldn’t let myself. It had only been a week. I was only getting more and more agitated sitting still. Too many thoughts were running around in my head, and there was too much silence out of my head. There was just too much, and I couldn’t deal with it without smashing my head against the curb to stop everything, so I got up quickly and ran to the ponds, tears still clouding my vision and running uncontrollably down my face. I wasn’t hungry any more, I just felt sick from crying.

I ran towards my bench, stopping at the last minute when I realised that there was someone already there. It took me a while to recognise him as Chris, because he was crying, his body shuddering with sobs. It broke me, somewhere deep inside to see someone else, someone I might care about, so unhappy. I took another step towards the bench.

He looked up at the sound of the grass rustling, and brushed the tears from his cheeks. He patted the bench next to him, and I sat down beside him.

“I’m being a bit of an idiot, crying over nothing really. Don’t tell anyone you saw me crying, will you? I’ll lose my heard earned reputation,” he joked. Even when he was so obviously unhappy he tried to pretend he was fine for my sake. I recognised that as one of my own habits. “Are you okay?”

I brushed my own tears from my face before replying, in as cheery a voice as I could manage, “Yeah, of course.” I looked at my hands, twisting around in my lap, and tried to still them. It was easier than making eye contact.

There was a moment of silence, then Chris reached out and put his arm around my shoulders. I stiffened. I hated physical contact, or hugs, or signs of affection.

“Sorry,” he said, lifting his arm slightly.

“No, it’s fine,” I said, and tentatively leaned my head against his shoulder. I breathed in his scent of lemons and sugar, and closed my eyes, tired of everything. I wanted to stay in that moment forever, I didn’t have the energy for anything else. I just wanted to give up on everything, except that second.

“Something must be wrong if you’re letting me hug you,” Chris said, in a light tone, but with sadness infiltrating his voice. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“Do you?” I replied, sniffing.

Chris chuckled darkly. “We’ll just sit here in mutual misery then.”

There is nothing as bonding as a shared sad moment, when your soul in bared for the other and the darkest of your feelings are out there. Equally as important is there reaction. Some people would ridicule you, but when they know to be kind, patient and gentle, you know that they have experienced the same sadness as you, and that ties you together, gives you something in common to hang onto. It is only when you’ve seen a person’s worst moment that you can begin to love them.  

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