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Whatever I Didn't Want
I knew saw me. It was as if she was embarrassed to look into my life. Was it really so much different from hers? It must be. Not everyone's mother is in prison for committing such a deadly crime. After all, she was so close to the death penalty. We, well I, was lucky, but at the same time I want her gone. Who wouldn't be ashamed of themselves after a tragedy like that? Everyone else has something to lean on, whether it be a human shoulder or... a metal post. I had a shoulder, but it moved every time I cried out for it. When I was five years old, Daddy always told me to be strong, but I didn't know what he meant by that. He explained not to use a shoulder, just a washcloth. “Angeline, shoulders are not always reliable, but washcloths are always there. They'll absorb your tears. You're better safe than sorry.” he had always preached. Now I know why he said that. Daddy should have followed it himself.
When he heard about Mom's other fiancé, he couldn't lean on her like he usually did, because it was her fault. So he hit her. Mom told me to go up to my room, but I stayed by the stairs so that I could see what was happening. She then took his hunting gun, and started shooting. When I saw blood coming out of Daddy's chest, I called 911, but I realized that I shouldn't have. Mom would go to jail, or worse. But Daddy could have been really badly hurt. Oh, I was so confused. Now I don't have my real parents anymore. With Mom in jail and Daddy gone, I feel like I am the last one in this world.
So when Chenille eyed me, I knew what she saw. A girl who was a loner, but wanted to be her. The teenager with the car at 15, the yacht, and the front row seats at Donatella Versace's shows. Not to mention her endless collection of clothes, and her unbeatable popularity at Blakesville High. It was wrong, all wrong! But that's the way I want it to be. I am not the girl with that desire to be popular. I don't want to be talked to. I don't want to be asked that one question. The day someone asks to come over to my house and meet my parents will be the day I get killed. By myself.
I looked back at Chenille. Well, it was more of a stare. I don't know how I looked, but I must have looked scary. She had seemed afraid and vulnerable, like she feared me. Her lips trembled slightly, her eyes looked down. Then, tossing her long jet black hair back into perfection, she went to room 407 for her Honors English class, and I went home.
“Jena? Are we doing something tonight?” I asked my foster mother, waiting for the answer I should have known was coming. The thick aroma of chocolate chip cookies filled the air. I took one and bit into it. The lusciousness of the cookie made up for the heat that burned my tongue.
“No. Shouldn't you be going to that dance?” she replied, with a look that read “don't try to get yourself out of this one”.
“Well, I... I'm feeling a little sick, so I guess I'll just stay ho..”
“No, Angeline,” she cut me off, frustrated. “For once, have a little fun. Go out! I never thought that anyone would ever advocate that to a teenager, but here I am saying it myself! You need to go out and be, well...free.” I clearly remember the feeling of her words. Burning my throat, they felt like a thousand bee stingers penetrating into my skin. She seemed to be losing her always kept composure. With her brows turned down and her lips pursed, she seemed aggravated and disappointed. Still, I bit back harder.
“Free?” I had yelled. The anger inside my chest was was burning, my blood was boiling, and at that point, there was no stopping me. “How can I be free when my father was killed by my mother? How can I feel free when I have a secret that no one but you, me, and my conscience knows? How can I look free when there's always that little voice telling me not to do something. Deep inside, I, Angeline Bailey want to do it. But I know that I can't, and for that very reason, I won't. No one and nothing means anything to me anymore! I don't care about having fun. I don't care about how I look. And I know this might sound ridiculous but, I want my Daddy, and no one will ever take that atrocious feeling away from me. It will always follow me wherever I am or however hard I'm trying to forget him, 'cause I know that he isn't coming back.” And with that, I embarrassingly stormed out of the room, like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.
Once in my room, I looked at my armoir. The picture of him holding me, the one of him smiling at me... the one of him looking passionately at mom. Looking at “Daddy's little girl”. That's what he told me. The memory was so clear to me. He told me he loved me more than everything, and that he'd do anything to protect me. “Anything?” I asked him, as if it were the strangest thing in the world. “Anything,” he replied. And without another word, he reached down to grab my hand just as I placed mine in his, and we skipped home. An hour later of reminiscing, I made a decision. I wasn't going to sit around the house while everyone had fun. I wasn't about to be the only one not to know what Chenille was wearing at that dance! No, things were about to change. Instead, people would be looking at me, and feeling bad for those people who didn't come because they missed the sight of what I was wearing. For once, it was going to be about what I want. My heart thumping to the beat of my nerves, I slipped on my best dress, grabbed my purse, and took the bus to the Spring Fling.
The music pounded in my chest, and a song I didn't know was playing. “Please don't stop the music...” over and over again. “Please stop the music,” I thought to myself, rolling my eyes. I hadn't been to a social event since... freshman year, the day before it happened. And you could probably tell. My heels were wobbling under my scrawny ankles, and people were staring at me like I was crashing the party. One boy in particular was eyeing me. I approached a group without being noticed, as if to be one of them. How much I wanted to was immeasurable. The boy was rather attractive, but I tried to look like I wasn't paying too much attention. Finally, and after much deliberation I could tell, he walked up to me. After telling me his name was Ryan and asking for mine, he said something that I hadn't heard in a long time.
“Um... Do you want some punch... or dance... or...” Ryan hesitantly asked me. It took me a while to reply, but I surprisingly did. “Punch would be nice,” I said. “Really nice,” I breathed to myself as he filled my cup. When he came back, we danced. That part was easy. The way he held me made me feel so... comfortable. It was the first time I had ever felt so exhilarated, and yet so peaceful. It was like he exhaled, and made me feel alive. Like he breathed into me, and it made me wake up from my nightmares and sorrow. He made me feel normal, like I wasn't the oddball.
Monday at school, I will be me. The girl who's mother killed her father, but who is completely at peace with that. The girl who lives with foster parents that she loves and hates for taking the place of her real ones. The girl who misses her father, but you can't tell. The girl who will soon belong.