I backed away from my open window, smirking wickedly. I walked over to my light pink door, wondering why it was painted that color. Of course, my sinister thoughts landed on the scenario that it was to cover up blood stains or something to that effect. I shivered, thinking that this could very well be the reason for the unfitting color in this house. I cautiously opened the eerily creaking monster with my back again to walk down the moaning wooden steps. Guess who's going to have nightmares tonight?

When I got into the kitchen, I carefully placed my dishes in the sink and ran out as I stepped into the fresh air. I instantly knew that the majority of my time living in this so-called house would be spent outside; I had always been a nature girl. I lie down in the grass, still in my nutty nightclothes, and closed my eyes. I thought of better, less stressful times in my life.

I remembered various occasions, such as my first encounter with two of my closest friends, Etta and El Capitan. I had attended this "Get to Know Your Roots" community endeavor held at the Cedar Lodge, which was two blocks from my old house. Etta shared a room with me during the seminar and, subsequently, we became friends.

Etta and I went through the same schedule daily. In the morning, we would take pictures with the various bear sculptures around the hotel's parking lot. Then, we would visit Yosemite, with help from Etta's mom, the official supplier—for the seminar and for later on in my life—for free employee passes.

Yosemite has to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the world; it is home to graceful waterfalls, calming wildlife trails, and—obviously—my favorite massive chunk of rock ever, El Capitan. The sheer size and distinct shape of this beautiful figure amazed me. The jagged peaks seemed to reach out to me, almost as if they were calling me home. Instantly, I felt a strange connection with this mountain; I knew it would always be there for me. This was true; it served as an inspirational, comforting, and even compassionate figure for me throughout my life.

After visiting Yosemite, the group headed back to a wildflower trail near the Cedar Lodge. What I loved about our nightly wildflower walk was the interdependent beauty between the tired, worn grassy trail and the motherly Moon, who laid over her secluded haven a covert of silver love each night. Without the bright, luminescent Moon's carefully sprinkled rippling streams of light gracing the area, beauty would cease to exist. Without the fragile, helpless flowers reaching towards their mother, beauty would cease to exist. Such a strong relationship was quite an amazing sight; a bond like this could only occur in the natural world, or so I thought…

After the seminar, my friendship with Etta further strengthened. With Etta in my life, my daily routine consisted of: eating, writing, sleeping, and going to Yosemite. I visited Yosemite with Etta and her mom, the organizer of the seminar, as they received free employee passes, and my mom was usually too busy in the hospital to take me. In those now-distant days, I penned numerous stories and read countless novels. My life was quite amazing at the time, aside from the numerous troubles my mother had with men.

My dad will never return. My father, when I was four years old, died from duodenal adenocarcinoma, so I really never knew much about him.

Although, in the younger years of my life, my mother showed me my dad's special places, poems, and even clothes to help me learn more about him. My favorite part of this process was the stories my mother told me about my father every night. These stories would either make me laugh until my cheekbones hurt or break down into tears. But, either way, I always looked forward to these stories every night. My mom's vivid stories served as an inspiration for stories I wrote daily whilst in Yosemite with Etta. My favorite story of my shy, intelligent father was the one my mother entitled "Defect." My mother said that she would visit a swanky dancing hall with her friends every Wednesday and my father would always sit in a corner, watching her lovingly. What my mother found strange was that my father would do this for about two hours and then tip his hat to her as he left—never once did he take his hat off. One day, as my mother was dancing with one of her friends, she noticed that my father was not in his usual chair. Shrugging it off, my mother went home and continued her life slowly until the next week came. On Wednesday, my mother was so excited to see my father that she went out and bought new high heels, which was a big occasion for my lower-class raised mother. When she arrived at the hall, she immediately found my father in his chair, but he had not hat this time. Determined, she marched up to him and demanded that he explain why he was not at the hall last week and why he was not wearing a hat. Wide-eyed and pale-faced, my father shyly explained that he had been saving up his money to have surgery on his ears because he wanted to look handsome for her. When he had slightly protruding ears, he could not find the courage to talk to my beautiful mother. Shocked, my mother quickly introduced herself and asked Levi to dance. Dance they did—all night long my mother said. Every week, they danced until they started dating. Eventually, they married.

After Levi died, Mom found a boyfriend. He was a seemingly fine man that I had taken a liking to, a fellow named Jesse Chaisson. Not to mention his wonderful son, Mace, who always acted like the sister I never had. These two were nice to me, but all of Mom's friends didn't like them—possibly because Jesse and Mom fought on how to fold a curtain and other ridiculous things. At any rate, Mom kicked them out of the house. So it goes.

As you can see, I was yearning for a fatherly figure. Unfortunately, what I got was not expected. Satan moved in. Okay, he might not have been such a horrible man in my eyes had he not moved in when he did. Honestly, he probably would still be disgustingly awful no matter the time period; he was always unnecessarily rude and was—to say the least—a lump of coal in the rough. Numerous annoying occasions over the years built up repressed anger inside of me like heat inside of a hot-air balloon. Would he complain that I took up too much space in the house when he slept in three rooms and had the garage to himself? Yes. Would he go to Wal-Mart to buy me, the straight "A" student, a highlighter I would instantly pay him back for? No. Would he happily buy his drug-dealing, high school dropout son, also known as Neil, a car and bail him out of jail? Yes. Would Cassy, his daughter, invite me to be in her wedding, after telling me that "step-sisters are always there for each other"? No. Would he complain that I never performed any of my given chores whilst he was lying on the couch and watching television? Yes. Did he admit to being wrong about any of these things? No. As you can see, the irritation built up inside of me; finally, I could not stand it any longer.

So, as a result, I packed up all of his stuff and threw it in a lake. Okay, maybe I didn't go that far. But I did take a vow of silence and fasting until the devil—under the alias of Dwayne DeValle—was gone. It worked; he left after two weeks. I know what you're thinking—how I survived. I ate at school and talked there; it wasn't so hard at home. Luckily, he left before the weekend. I have a feeling Mom and Dwayne had fought about something or rather, so that only contributed to his need to leave. Since that relationship, mom hasn't had any new beaus. Thank you, God…if you exist.

Sighing at my depressing reminiscences, I swallowed back tears and stood up to go back inside. Then, a thought hit me: I had never seen my backyard before. Boy, I did not expect to found what I did back there.

***