I loved her.
At least that's what I kept telling myself as I made my way down the road. I left with her because I loved her.
We had moved away together. It was in the end of my junior year, I was 17. She was 19, going off to collage and I couldn't be without her so…I went with her. Then a year and 3 months later she left me, via a note on the fridge that read:
I'm so sorry, I can't do this anymore. Please don't hate me, but I have to go. I love you, I really do.
I never knew what it was like to have your heart ripped out until that moment. A year relationship and she breaks up with me, with a note stuck to the fridge by a Magic Mountain magnet.
I waited for her for a while, clinging to the hope that she might come back, she never did. I couldn't make the house payments on the house all by myself, so I was forced to leave. So there I was, 18 ½ and with no home except for the one I left all those months ago.
I hadn't called or written to them at all that time. When I left with Rachel I just up and left, dropped out of high school and left. The only person I had told I was leaving was my sister, Lilly, but that was an accident.
I had come home to pack up my stuff and just as I was walking off the porch I saw her standing there.
"You ever coming back?" She asked. She wouldn't even look at me.
"I don't know…"
I wanted to lean in and hug her, tell her I loved her and I was going to miss her, but I didn't have any right.
She walks passed me to the door, like I'm not even there at all.
"I love you." I call back in one last desperate attempt to get her to look at me.
"You love her," she shouts, and slams the door.
I think she's the reason no one really came looking for me. For a while after we left I expected a call at 2am from my sobbing mother begging me to come back home, or at the very least a birthday card, but nothing ever came, I was forgotten.
They say one of the hardest things in the world is going back home. There is nothing so true. I had half expect them to of moved or something, or that I had perhaps forgotten where my old home was was, but the second my car came into town it was as though I had never left, the way it all came back to me.
My mind runs over memories as I pass the high school. Kids were everywhere, on cars, in cars, walking. The whole thing made me feel very old. Then I saw her, I don't know how I recognized her, but somehow I did. She was standing in the back of some black truck screaming something to someone across the street. She flipps them the bird, and then laughs. I pulled up my car up behind the truck she was standing in. The huge car made mine look like a HotWheels.
She stood there wearing a mini jean skirt and sleeveless shirt that read 'Steve Miller'. Looking at her like that, it finally hit me how long I had been gone. I felt my hands grip the steering wheel as I see a boy grab her arm and pull her over the side of the car. She doesn't scream though, she looks bored, if anything. The boy catches her no problem, but my heart it seems, is still trying to climb out of my throat.
"Lilly!" I step out of the car, she looks at me.
I don't know what I want her to say, but it was definitely nowhere near what she says, she says, as though I am a stranger: "why are you here?"
Why was I here? Why had I come back? Of all the places to come running back to, and I come here.
"It's my home…" I whisper, more to myself than anyone.
She looks at me for a few seconds before turning around to grab her bag and waves her friends off.
She slides into my car with far too much grace.
"That guy your boyfriend?"
"It's your first left."
"I wouldn't mind."
"In case you forgot."
"I'm just curious."
"Because you were gone so long." I shut my mouth after that. She had no reason to tell me who that guy was to her.
"Your room wasn't your room for a while," she comments, currently digging through my glove compartment.
"What'd you mean?"
"Mom", she pulls out the pack of cigarettes I leave in there. "About three months after you left she stripped the walls of your room and painted them light brown."
"Then she put all your stuff back in its original place and said 'just in case'" she lights up the cigarette and takes a drag.
"How long have you smoked?" I ask.
"How long have you?"
"I don't know," I look around the corner before turning, "a while I guess…"
"I don't know either." That's the first time she's answered one of my questions.
We walk into the old house, old house, I guess that's what I'm calling it now.
"This place has changed." I can't take my eyes of the purple rug.
"Stop saying that!" she yells from halfway up the stairs.
"Stop saying what?" I ask, following her, I have nowhere else to go.
"How much things have changed," she huffs. "Things change, ok?"
"I'm sorry." I feel awful. She was right, she kept being right about everything.
"I didn't leave to hurt you," I whisper almost to myself.
I follow her up the stairs and into her room; she's lost the 'Steve Miller' shirt and is currently digging around in her dresser.
"I didn't-" I start, stammering over the lump in my throat, "leave to hurt you."
She whips her head around to face me. I thought there would be anger in her eyes, but there isn't, they are dull, very dull.
"Does that really matter now?" She grabs a long sleeve shirt from off the ground.
"I missed you the most," I take a step closer to her.
"Stop it!" She yells, halfway though her shirt.
Step, "I missed you the most."
"Shut up!" Her small body tenses all over. "Stop saying that to me! I hate it! Stop it. Just…stop."
She looks so defeated now, she looks old and tired. I want to pull her into my arms and hold her as tightly as I can.
"I need to go." She passes by me, succeeding in not touching me at all as she slips past me. I hear the front door slam shut, and then all is silent.
My mom screams when she sees me lying on the couch. She yells at me for leaving, and cries at me for coming home. She doesn't ask why I had come back, the one thing I wanted her to ask me. I want her to ask why I had come back and I want to tell her about how Rachel had left me. I want to cry and have her hold me and call me her baby, and to tell me everything is going to be okay. But she doesn't.
Falling asleep in your old bed is hard; it doesn't feel familiar, just weird. It took me a long time to fall asleep in it, but even still I never heard when Lilly came home.
The next morning I wake up alone, mom and Lilly both gone. The note from my mother on the fridge makes me cringe.
Pick up your sister after school, I'll see you around 7
I don't know how I feel about the letter, happy, sad, frustrated. Since coming home I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel about anything. It's as though life was…back, every once in a while I would forget that I had left for a year, it was, at times, as though I had never left at all.
It took me three convincing commands of: 'It's my house!" to get up the audacity to go into the kitchen and make myself breakfast. This place was my home, but it was also not my home at the same time.
After breakfast I decided to watch TV. I thought about going someplace at one point, but I was too scared. What would happen if I ran into someone I used to know, what would I say to them? What the hell would I say to them if they asked me why I had come back? I would cry, that's what I'd do, but I didn't want to cry to just anyone, I wanted Lilly to make me cry. She's the one I wanted to hold me, be there for me, love me.
I went to where I had seen Lilly the day before to pick her up. She's lying on the grass when I get there, under the boy she claims is not her boyfriend. I honk the horn, because if I step out of the car I would thrash the boy on top of my sister. She has the nerve to give me an annoyed look. She grabs her backpack and literally crawls out from under him.
"I thought you said he wasn't your boyfriend?" I ask as she closes the door.
"You ask a lot of questions." I have to resist the urge of pushing her head into the dash board.
"Don't do that!" I fume.
"Avoid my questions." She leans in and opens my glove compartment. I swipe the cigarettes from out of her fingers.
"No, Ok, no," she finally answers, making a grab for the cigarettes but I push, them to my chest.
"So you're a whore?" I didn't expect a slap in the face.
She leans into the window, trying to get as far away from me as the car will allow her.
"Go to hell."
"Stop it…just stop…" I hate the way she says that, it makes me want to cry.
She walks into the bathroom, turning the shower on. I wander in after her a few minutes later and sit down on the sink leaning against the wall.
"What?" she asks from behind the curtain.
"Don't be mad at me…" I'm trying not to cry. She doesn't say anything back to me, I pull me knees to my chest, my feet are in the sink. "I missed you the most."
"I missed you too..." I can barely hear her. I turn my head to look at the shower curtain, it has dolphins on it.
"The boy…" I muse half out loud. "I don't mind you know? I don't mind anything…"
"I don't mind you either." She says, "I don't mind that you left, I mean, you were in love, right?"
I felt tears in my eyes, "you're not mad?"
"I was," she declares, "I mean, don't get me wrong, of course I was mad for a while, but then I stopped being mad, so you should stop being sorry, because I'm not mad."
Tears are falling from my eyes, my fingers are trembling. I almost wish I could see my broken form in the mirror, but it's all fogged up.
"I should be mad at you, you know? I have every right to be." I can hardly hear her over the water. "The thing about hating you was it would make me sad, then I decided to just...not care."
"Do you still not care?" My voice chokes over itself.
"Sometimes, but not now." I can't stand that she still hates me.
"How-how long until you don't hate me at all?"
"I told you, I don't hate you."
I cringe, "but-"
"I don't hate you." I can't choke back the whimper that makes it's way out of my throat. Out of all the people in my life the one person I want to love me was her.
"I'm sorry," I sob into the sink. "Please, I'm so sorry."
"Stop it!" She snaps.
"I-I can't," I push my face deeper into my arms as I hear the shower turn off. I gasp violently when I feel my head being jerked up by my hair. I look to where my head is directed, right into Lilly's eyes.
"Don't you get it yet you stupid idiot?!" she screams.
"I loved you the most!" she pulls at my hair even harder, this time turning my head away from her. "I loved you the most…" she repeats in a dull whisper.
She lets go of my hair and walks away. I can't move, all I can do is burry myself deeper into the sink and plummet down the drain.