Everyone handles complications and the stress that ensues in their own weird ways. My mother ran away from her problems. My father chose to absorb himself in work, ignoring everything not associated with the business world— including his children. My twin brother became the perfect child, the golden-boy of our school, desperately trying to please our father.
I went out and came home with a tattoo.
“Dad is going to kill you when he sees that,” Elliot, my twin brother, says, smirking at the bandage wrapped around my wrist.
“Yeah, because he’s totally going to notice,” I scoff sarcastically, rolling my eyes. Our father still isn’t aware that my belly button is pierced, and I had that done months ago. I doubt he would notice the minuscule ink I had etched onto my skin.
“He never pays attention to us, besides, it’s not like I got a tramp stamp or anything,” I state, closing my eyes and resuming my prior position relaxing on the couch.
“Come on Em, don’t be like that; you know he loves us, he’s just a busy man,” Elliot insists, sitting down in the chair across from me.
“Don’t you dare try to tell me he actually cares when he hasn’t been here for us at all,” I snap, sitting up abruptly and glaring at my twin.
“Stop defending him, Elliot!” I cut him off, furious.
“If he wasn’t here for us before, what makes you think he gives a crap about us now?” I continue, nearly shaking with fury.
Elliot opens his mouth to speak, but stops when the front door opens, causing both of our heads to snap towards the front entrance. My father walks through the door, drops his suitcase on the table, and mutters a hello, all the while his gaze never leaving his stack of papers.
“Unbelievable,” I mutter to myself, my anger increasing. In the back of my mind, however, I know that this situation is in no way unbelievable, seeing as this is how he comes home every night— if he even bothers to come home, that is.
Without another word to anybody I storm out of the house, slam the door shut behind me, and run down the driveway, my eyes burning. My heart pounds in my chest as my feet slap the pavement, and without realizing it I have started to cry, hot tears blurring my vision. I’m not quite sure where I’m going, but I’m certain that I won’t be able to last another second in there with him. A heavy sob escapes my throat, but I refuse to stop sprinting. Without thinking, I let my feet guide me to my safe-haven; the only place where I can truly feel at ease. The door opens and I’m pulled into a familiar embrace, warmth instantly enveloping my shaking body as I enter the cozy, cottage-like home.
“Miss Adelaide,” I cry, burrowing my head into the old woman’s frail shoulder.
Miss Adelaide was my brother and I’s nanny when we were younger, and now that we’ve outgrown her, I made it a priority of mine to visit her frequently—yet I haven’t been to visit her since the incident. I was determined to see her again, though. She cared for Elliot and I like we were her own; she was my only mother-like figure as a child, and since then I’ve grown quite fond of her. Our bond is special to me; she is the only person I allow myself to fully open up to. I don’t have to put up an act and seem tough around her, I can be myself. Or at least, be the me I was before I was broken. I’ve changed now, but around Miss Adelaide I can feel like an innocent child again. Like none of my problems exist.
“Emerald, dear, what’s the matter?”
“My father,” I state, simply, knowing she would understand.
She nods and leads me to her worn-down couch, a couch I have sat on many times whenever I went through a tough spot with my family. Which was often. Disappearing around the corner, Miss Adelaide quickly reappears with a teacup in her hand, and I know that my favorite tea is in there.
“Thank you,” I say, gratefully, grabbing the cup and taking a sip of the heated beverage.
Miss Adelaide says nothing, but smiles gently at me, allowing me to collect my thoughts and calm down in the comforting silence of her welcoming abode. Taking another sip of tea, I wipe my eyes free of tears with my open hand, and manage a shaky smile in return.
“I have something for you,” Miss Adelaide says thoughtfully, leaving the room before motioning for me to follow her up the stairs. She leads me down a hallway and stops at a door with the name Kaylen etched onto the smooth white surface of the wood.
“It’s been untouched since she left,” Miss Adelaide recounts with a sad smile on her face, slowly pushing the door open and gingerly entering the room.
"Sometimes it’s hard to believe she’s not here anymore,” she adds, looking around the room where everything is exactly as her daughter left it. There are still clothes scattered and strewn throughout the room and a stack of her favorite books on the bedside table, markers sticking out of the various novels. Kaylen always loved to read; she was especially fond of classics, as the bookshelf in the corner of the room shows.
“Why are we in here?” I ask hoarsely, my throat closing as I desperately try to keep my tears at bay.
“She would have wanted you to have this; she trusted you more than anyone,” Miss Adelaide whispers, handing me Kaylen’s box full of her most prized possessions. Speechless, I quickly grab the small chest and turn around, walking briskly down the stairs.
“Thank you for having me over, Miss Adelaide, but I’m afraid I have to go now,” I nearly sob out, pushing out of the front door and running, clutching the chest to my chest.
It seems as if all I ever do is run.
I am weak.
I am broken.
I am afraid.
But I will never admit it.