I awoke with the usual heavy feeling of a restless night's sleep upon me. I rubbed my eyes with balled up little fists and realized that I had left my eye make-up on again. I looked over at the mirror of my vanity across the room and saw a melted cupcake of a girl staring back at me with disappointment and slight disgust. My now raccoon colored and swollen eyes seemed to be smeared halfway down my pale cheeks. I decided that it was fitting considering my mental and emotional state.
I had dreamt of him again. He had been so sweet and he had still loved me. Waking up to reality was only slightly better than my nightmares in which he was usually leaving me all over again. Maddeningly, I seemed to cry every single time that I woke up. Either I cried because I was so sad to learn that my dream had only been a dream and I was condemned to wake up to every day without him or I cried simply because my nightmare had been so bad. I saw him every day at school, he knew all of my friends and I knew his, and he lived one block away. I could not seem to escape him
I wiped the black tinged tears from my face and chin. I looked resentfully over at the digital clock which had blasted me awake with that wretched alarm clock screech. Was my mom home yet? I was running late again and Tonya could not pick me up that morning. Tonya was unique looking and had the kind of beauty and confidence, which aroused admiration from both men and women. She was exotic looking with thick shiny deep brown hair, giant brown eyes and full cupid's-bow lips. She was willowy giving her petite stature the look of a ballerina. She had flaws, we all do, but you had to look for them on her. She was a stark contrast to my long blonde hair, green eyes, petite and athletic figure and typical apple pie appeal. God, I couldn't stand myself.
She had for some reason taken pity on me when my mother had kicked me out just before a football game one night. She and her family had taken me into their home and although my school principal had wanted me to move from Tonya's to her own home I eventually went back to my mother. Tonya became my best friend and greatest advocate. Tonya was my strength and my voice. Before I could even answer a question, she had already assertively and decisively done so for me. She went everywhere with me, took me everywhere with her, guarding me as best she could. We were alike in many ways, most of our thoughts were of dancing and guys, although my thoughts centered on only one guy for years.
I pushed my comforter down to the end of my bed in a messy lump and looked down at the pink, shiny fabric of the mattress. I felt a surge of anger towards my mother for refusing to buy me sheets.
Now, to look for her. I put both feet down on the cold wooden floor and still groggy, walked to my mother's room. The door was open and her bed was empty. She had stayed at her boyfriend's house again. I would not have had a problem with that if I did not have the stress of not knowing if she would be home in time for me to walk to school. I had to be at dance team practice in 45 minutes and it was a 30-minute walk. My brother was only two years old and clearly could not be left on his own, even asleep. This was my morning nearly every day of my senior year of high school. This was followed by three hours of dancing, classes, and the dreaded walk back to the tension of my home life. I would stay at school reading in the courtyard, watching soccer practice, wandering the empty halls for as long as possible. I had to be home by 6:00 pm so that my mother could get ready to go out again.
My mother had been on a cooking strike since the separation from her second husband, my brother's father.
"I cooked all those years and no one appreciated it!" She ranted one day. She vowed never to cook for anyone again. I didn't really blame her but she was asking too much of me. She would leave at around 7:00 pm. That was my night. Watching my brother, maybe cooking dinner, and then going to bed. My mom's new boyfriend loved to cook and would bring us food a lot of the time. Still, I trusted no man. I thought of this as a sort of wisdom which most women didn't achieve until much later in life. No man was going to get the benefit of the doubt on my watch. My rants about the philandering of airline pilots (such as my ex-stepfather) became something of an amusement to my friends, but it was my.
I dressed and washed my face. As I was brushing my teeth, my mother came into the house. We didn't speak unless we had to these days. Things were just easier that way. I heard her walk into her room, so I headed out the door into the cool dark of the early morning air. I had a habit of trying to imagine the lives of the people in the homes I passed on my way. I walked by windows aglow, watching figures move about their kitchens, and envied every one of them for not having to be me. I hated myself. Everything I was and everything I wasn't. Wishing I could be them instead of being myself. I was stuck in my life with my lack of hope and strength. Such were the makings of a nervous breakdown.
I know I had it better than most. I even had it better than just the year before when we were all sleeping on an air mattress in an empty apartment with one blanket to share and no pillows. I just couldn't help it. My life was something I had become incapable of handling.
I looked up at the sky beginning to fill with the glow of the rising sun. The stars were still, hanging, sparkling like the tears, which ran down my face intermittently throughout every single day. I had begun keeping all of my makeup in my purse because I would cry it all off several times throughout the day. I was not about to have him or any of his friends see me looking anything but my best. I had a goal of making certain that every time he saw me, there was twinge of regret.
With my face turned up towards the sky, I held out my arms and closed my eyes. I breathed in the cold damp air.
"Please, let me come home God." I pleaded. A painful lump formed in my throat from trying to hold back the tears. I was stirred from my separate reality. There was a car coming. Crap, how embarrassing! I pulled out of my mood and put my gaze firmly on the asphalt and walked on quickly.
"Play it off.."