"Somebody Loved"

I was in third period when they told me. I was stuck in between Hank Phillip who had bad B.O. and Lori Wilkins who sniffled a lot. Together we were enjoying a lecture on the literary value of Tarzan. This was not my favorite class. So when Mrs. Carnegie came and pulled me out, I wasn't bothered by the pity in her eyes, instead I was just glad to be out of there.

She waited until we were almost to the guidance counselor's to tell me. I guess she didn't want me breaking down in the middle of the hallway, where she would be stranded with my hysterics until help could arrive. Really she shouldn't have worried, because I didn't feel upset at all; why would I? Mrs. Carnegie sniffled and blew her nose on a Kleenex that I swear appeared out of thin air. She told me it was such a shame and it broke her heart to tell me. My mother had been hospitalized and had passed away about an hour ago. She added a lot of pomp and circumstance to her explanation, but the solid fact was the same. My mother was dead. I didn't even cry, and I only felt guilty was because I felt maybe I should cry a little, so Mrs. Carnegie didn't have to cry so much for me.

There was a police officer in the guidance counselor's office. He was there to make sure I had family to stay with. I told him I would be eighteen next week, but had to assure him I would go stay with my grandmother before he would let me go. The office administrators told me I didn't need to stay to finish my classes, and the guidance counselor set up an appointment with me for the next day. I was easy and agreeable about everything because I had no plan of being around to follow through with any of it anyways.

I walked out to the parking lot and sat on the hood of my friend Nathan's car. I smoked a cigarette while I waited for him to finish up in class and come out for lunch. Fifteen minutes later he sauntered out, without a word as to why I was out of class so early, and we drove to my house for lunch just like any normal day. He never asked where my mom was. I think it was part of the reason we were such good friends; he never asked questions. He never asked for an explanation why the woman who had made us lunch every day without fail for the last three years was suddenly absent. No, instead he just chewed on the questionable tuna salad sandwich that I had whipped together. Nathan drove back to school, and didn't seem too surprised when I said I wasn't going back with him. I'm sure he realized I was leaving, but he never asked me where I was going. Nathan always just understood and accepted. When we said goodbye, we both knew it was more permanent than a simple "see you after school."

I started packing up my things. I though about my mom, and there wasn't a lot to miss. She had been an empty shell of a person before I was born, and continued to be so throughout my life. It didn't surprise me that, of all things, an unknown heart defect had killed her. Everything was an unknown when it came to my mother, and she was too abstract and disconnected to die in a normal way. Marion was too sad and passive to ever take her own life. I don't think she even had the will to blame the world for her problems, or the passion to blame her self, or the hate to blame my father.

I loaded everything into my mom's car. My grandfather was getting me a car as a graduation present, but I didn't have time to wait for that. The plan was to get out quickly and quietly. I wasn't sure what my destination was, but I was aiming for somewhere in the Midwest, no small towns though. I could get a job at a hair salon (I'd gone to school for my license last summer) or possibly as a barista, since I had experience. After some time had passed and things had calmed down, I could write the school and have them send my diploma by mail. Then maybe I could enroll in some college classes. Who knows, I was just leaving, and I would figure out all the details when I got there, wherever there was.

I was locking up the house when I realized I was at a place in my life where any other seventeen year old would be terrified out of their wits, but I wasn't afraid at all. I suppose I had my mom to thank for that. It was like all the years of distance between us had been preparing me for exactly this. It had made me strong and independent enough to leave, and cynical and bitter enough to make it once I got there. I grabbed water and snacks, and a big box of cosmic brownies. I figured I would want something to celebrate my birthday with next week. When I closed the fridge I saw a picture of my mom and I taped to the front of the door. We looked like strangers at a Christmas party who just so happened to find their estranged daughter/mother. I guess that's how we were, estranged in the same house, the same life. I took the photo down and headed out to the car. I dropped a letter to my grandparents, telling them not to worry, into the mailbox. Then I stuck the picture on the inside of my visor, where I'd see it when the sun got in my eyes. This car didn't get any decent radio stations, so I put in a CD instead. "…rain turns the sand into mud…wind turns the trees into bone…stars turning high up above, You turn me into somebody loved…"

I put the car in reverse, and watched the garage door close behind me.

A/N This is not meant to hurt or offend anyone who has lost a parent. I was just curious about when it would be like to truly be unaffected and needed to get it out in writing. Also, I welcome any comments or suggestions, I normally write poetry, so this is a whole new field to me!