Across an Ocean: Part One
“Natalie, I have to tell you something.”
The last words I wanted to hear. Somehow, I had known this was coming… but I couldn’t bring myself to want to know what he had to say.
And then he said it. I didn’t want to believe it but I knew I had to. It felt like the walls were closing in and I was in the center of the room… alone. But I wasn’t alone. Cameron was here… but he wouldn’t be for long….
When I woke up, I felt like I had been hit by a train, and I really wasn’t sure if I was in one piece.
I tried to remember my name… oh yeah, Natalie.
I knew I shouldn’t have gotten drunk at the party last night and quite honestly I really shouldn’t have even been there. But after how I was feeling right now, I doubted I would ever go again. I brushed my teeth and turned the shower on after idly eating a cold waffle.
Who would be stupid enough to have a party on a Tuesday night? I wondered, thinking of school. I had gotten used to walking downstairs the morning after getting drunk and seeing my father. He would be furious, and he hit me. I cringed as I walked down the stairs, bracing myself for the impact of the all too familiar blow. I wondered where the bruise would end up this time. I hoped it would be somewhere clothes could cover, because people already asked enough questions.
When I turned the corner at the bottom of the stairs my father wasn’t there. Only my mother, sitting at the kitchen table with her head in her hands, crying.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, uncomfortable.
“Your father’s gone.” She said, her head still resting in the palms of her hands. “He left last night. He was high again, and he said he wasn’t coming back this time.”
She looked up at me, and I saw that her whole face was covered in blue and purple bruises, and she had multiple cuts on her arms. I was relieved that I wouldn’t go to school with one more bruise than I had yesterday, but sad for my mother.
“It’ll be okay mom. It always has been before.”
“But he’s always come back before.”
“He’s gonna come back. He says he won’t every time, but he always ends up without a place to stay and comes back here. Besides, if he didn’t come back… things might be… better.”
“Natalie we need him. I don’t have a good enough job to pay the bills, and neither do you.”
She was referring to my job at Aeropostale, a clothes store at the mall. And she was right, we couldn’t pay the bills.
“we’ll find a way.” I walked over to sit next to her and gave her a hug.
“go get dressed for school”
I walked back up the stairs, ecstatic and terrified at the same time. My abusive father was hopefully gone for good, but how would we pay the bills? I started getting dressed for school. I put on a purple long sleeve shirt, even though it was spring, to cover up the bruises and scrapes from yesterday. Maybe in a few days I would be able to wear short sleeves.
I walked into school with a new confidence that I didn’t usually have. The old bruises covering my face were light enough now to be completely covered by makeup. I said hi to all my friends as I walked to my locker in the Junior hallway of Franklin High School.
Five minutes later I was walking into pre calc and sitting at my desk at the back of the room. The class went by quickly because I was trying to figure out how to earn money to help my family. Normally, everything I earned at my job I got to keep, and I usually put it into the bank account that held the money I had been saving up to buy a used car. I could use the money I had saved to help, but then I would never be able to afford a car. I could try to get another job, but when would I have time for homework? No matter what I thought of I just couldn’t make it work out. And if I couldn’t do it in my head, it would be a disaster if I actually tried it.