Divided

"You make sure you're back by six for your dinner, young lady." My mum shouted, as I was on my way out of the door.

"Mum- I told you already. I'm staying at Dad's for dinner. He's bringing me home at eight."

"Is that so? Well, it's nice of you to tell me that now that I've put dinner in the oven."

"I told you last week, when Dad invited me! You know I did!" I sighed, hating the way that my mother always tried to sidetrack me when I was out of the door on my way to Dad's car. I hardly saw him as it was, and every time I had the chance to, Mum got jealous, seeing him as a threat now that they were no longer married.

"You come back here and let me finish talking..." Mum began, as I headed out of the door again.

"Dad's waiting for me, though. Sorry Mum, I have to go. I'll see you later." I shut the door behind me, knowing full well how Mum would be until I got back. She would pace up and down, and not know what to do with herself. Maybe she would cry for a while. Perhaps even have a drink. I would get back, and she would be all apologetic for trying to stop me from going. After almost ten months, I knew the routine. I knew it, and I was sick of it.

At fourteen years old, I was not ready to have my mother rely on me so badly. She needed me there around her all the time, as constant assurance that I wasn't about to up and leave the same as Dad did. Not that I blame him for it. I was mature enough at the time to know that he wasn't leaving because of me, but because of Mum. Their marriage had been difficult ever since I can remember. I was ten when I first recognised that it wasn't the way all families were. Sure, they all argued, but none of my friends' parents seemed to shout at each other the way mine did. Or rather, the way that Mum shouted at Dad.

I think I breathed a big sigh of relief the day that Dad moved out- it meant that I wouldn't have to tiptoe around Mum in case she got angry. And no matter who she was angry with, it had always been Dad who bore the brunt of it. I felt so sorry for him, and I would always be telling him I loved him, just so he knew that I wasn't like Mum was. I took after Dad, and I was glad about that. It's not that I didn't love Mum, of course, because I did- she was just very hard to live with sometimes. Most of the time.

Being an only child made it even worse for me, because I had nobody to talk to. I mean, I had friends who's parents were divorced, but none of them knew what my mother was like, and how hard it was at first to comfort her whilst she cried over my father, knowing full well it was her fault he had gone in the first place. She got over it, slowly. At least, the crying lessened, and she returned to normal. She shouted less though, as if she had now learned her lesson about what a temper could do, things it could ruin.

I got into Dad's car, wishing that there was something more I could do to help my mother. But the only way I could have made her feel better would have been to totally stop seeing my father, and I wasn't about to do that in a hurry. I only saw him once a week, or once a fortnight as it was, because now he lived several miles away instead of in the same house.

To make matters worse, he had a new girlfriend. I was happy for him, because I could see how much he liked her, and I did too. Julia was fresh and pretty- so different from my tired, run-down mother. Sometimes I felt guilty, thinking that I should hate Julia, but I couldn't. She was accepting of me, and I warmed to her right away. Mum didn't know about her though. I didn't know how well Mum would be able to cope with such news, and secretly, I thought it might have killed her completely to find out that Dad was in love again.

"How are you, sweetie?" Dad kissed my cheek as I climbed into the passenger seat and put on my seatbelt.

"Pretty good." I smiled, happy just to see my Dad's face, his dark brown beard, his sparkly green eyes.

"Thought any more about what we talked about on the phone the other evening?"

"Yes. Yes, I have, and I would love to come and live with you."

"That's wonderful, love!" Dad exclaimed, and I could tell that he had been prepared for me to say 'no.' So had I. But before I could stop myself, I said what I really wanted, despite Mum's feelings. How was I ever going to tell Mum this? It was Dad that I wanted to be with, and hopefully, some time alone might help Mum to get back on her feet. That was what I prayed as my dad's car pulled away from Mum's house, where I wasn't going to be staying much longer.

It was two days later when I finally broke the news to Mum. She was heartbroken, and wept solidly for almost three hours, wailing about how I didn't love her either.

"Mum, don't say that." I put my arms around her, feeling uncomfortable. "You and Dad are both putting me in such a hard position here. I miss Dad like crazy though, and I think it might do you some good to be alone for a little while. To sort yourself out, you know..." Mum nodded, understanding what I meant. She dried her eyes on the tissue that I pressed into her hand, and sniffed a couple of times, before saying;

"I suppose it's up to you, Ellie. It always was, anyway. I just assumed that you'd want to be with me, after all, I'm the one who was walked out on."

"Mum, I was walked out on too. Dad left me as well, but he didn't want to. People break up all the time, but I'm young, and I need both my parents. Please let me go and live with Dad. Even just for a few days, to see how it goes? You know you can always call me if you need me, right?"

"It sounds as though you've made your mind up." My mum said, resigned to the fact that I too was leaving her. I flung my arms around her neck and thanked her, then ran off to ring Dad and tell him that Mum had said yes.

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If you liked this, please try reading some of my other short stories. I would really appreciate feedback on them.