Living with my grandma is awful. She's just so spiteful to me all the time. It's nothing major, it's just little comments like telling me I'm wearing too much makeup but then when I don't wear any she tells me I'd "look more decent with a little mascara". She tells me I need to get out of the house more but complains when I even go out for a walk in the park, saying I need to be there for my dad. It's always little things, constantly, just grating on me. I can't talk back to her, I can't do anything against it because at the end of the day, she's helping to take care of dad. We're living here for dad. It's her house, her rules.
A month passes and it doesn't get any better and I start to really miss Alex. Dad's nice to me of course, he's just as caring as always but sometimes he sticks up for Grandma and it's moments like that that make me miss Alex. I miss all of my friends but I speak to them on the phone and on Facebook every day. I miss how caring Alex was towards me. It was sort of a silent agreement that we wouldn't contact each other once I left though and I haven't heard from him in so long but I really need to hear from him now. I go to call him but I realise that's not enough. I need to see him, hear his voice in person.
One day, I go and find Dad in his room before we go to bed. It's one of the only opportunities I get to speak to him without Grandma butting in.
"Dad?" I ask quietly.
"Yes sweetheart?" he says back.
I walk in and sit on the edge of his bed. "I miss my friends. I haven't seen them in a month."
He sighs. "I know sweetheart."
I pause. "Can I go and see them?"
"You mean by yourself?" he asks.
"Yeah." I say. "I'm eighteen in a few months, I'm responsible enough. It's only a couple of hours away, I won't even drive, I can get the train straight there-"
"Sweetheart you don't have to argue your case." he chuckles. "Of course you can go."
I hug him. "Thank you daddy."
Even when I'm on the train on my way to see Alex, I'm kind of down. I should be excited and happy to see him and I am but I'm so exhausted and worn down by living with Grandma that I'm just tired. I don't feel like I'm going to see him because I want to have fun with him, I feel like I'm going to see him because I need to, because he's comforting.
I get to Alex's house at ten pm but I figure I've been here at four am before so it's not too late to knock on his door. But as I get closer to his gates, I can tell he's having one of his huge parties. I pause before going through the gates. Should I try to find him? Should I interrupt his night with all my problems? I decide he'd probably want me too so I go into the house and try and find him.
It takes me twenty minutes to find him. He's stood at the other end of the garden with his main group of friends laughing and having fun. I suddenly feel really vulnerable. I feel like I'm allowed to be vulnerable, now that he's right there in front of me to take care of me again. I don't really know how to approach him though so I just stand awkwardly a couple of feet away, crying and waiting for him to notice me.
He's in mid laugh when he catches my eye. His face drops and he frowns, pushing his way through the people standing between us.
"Kaya?" he calls as he approaches me. "What are you-"
I run up to him and hug him tight, letting myself cry. I haven't let myself cry for the past month and I feel like I'm allowed to with him.
"Kay, babe." he says, stroking my hair. He sounds confused. "What's going on, what's wrong?"
"I'm sorry." I pull away, wiping my eyes. "I'm sorry I just showed up, I should have called you first."
"Don't worry." he shakes his head and starts walking. "Come on, let's go for a drive so we can talk properly."
We get in one of his cars and drive away from his house.
"Shouldn't you stay and take care of the party?" I ask, sniffling.
"It's fine." he says, glancing sideways at me and then back at the road. "What's going on then?"
"I hate living there." I tell him. "My grandma just says spiteful things all the time. It sounds kind of like I'm making a big deal out of nothing but it's all piling up, you know? Her saying mean things, me putting up with it, Dad's getting better but it's still a lot of work and worry, I miss you and everybody else. I guess it all just got a bit too much and I wanted to see you."
He pauses and then says matter-of-factly. "Kaya, you remember your half birthday, right?"
"Yeah." I look at him.
"Remember when I said you made me angry and sad and confused?"
"You're meant to be making me feel better." I complain and he laughs.
"You made me feel like that because you're a pretty stubborn person." he says.
"You're still not helping." I say and he laughs again.
"And you're a pretty stubborn person because you're a pretty strong person." he says, reaching over and poking me. "You've been through some shit and I would know because I was the one who put you through a lot of it. I think you can handle having a bitch of a grandma."
I laugh. It feels so good to have him make me laugh again.
"You're right." I say and then I groan. "Why am I the kind of person who has to travel two hours across the country to have her ex boyfriend tell her something to make her realise it?"
He smiles, taking my hand, squeezing it, and then letting go. "I'm glad you're that kind of person. I was starting to miss you just a little bit."
"Only little bit?" I raise an eyebrow and he laughs.
"You know what I mean." he says and then he pauses. "So are you sticking around or..."
"No." I say before the idea can get into his head. "I think it's best I just head back tonight."
He nods. "So now we forget each other again?"
I smile sadly. "I guess so."
He hesitates and then smiles a little, a glint in his eye. "Can we make a deal?"
"This deal will only be valid if you move back here within a year." he warns. "But the deal is that we don't make conscious decisions to not get over each other but we don't make conscious decisions to move on either. If we move on by the time you move back, then that's fine. But if we don't, then we get back together. Deal?"
I smile at him. "Deal."
He drops me off at the train station and I head back to Grandma's house. I feel like I'm completely refreshed. Alex is right, my grandma is a bitch and I can handle that. I try and see the strong person he sees in myself and I see a glimpse of that person and a glimpse is enough.