You know, diary… erm journal… I wasn’t always like this. Yes, it’s true that I valued books higher than most people and that I’ve always been socially awkward, but I haven’t always lacked such confidence in myself.
Keniesha is always saying I need a boost in my self-esteem. Well, no joke. But even she knows, it wasn’t so low until our parents died.
We were sitting on the couch again and talking about them. It was almost like they were in the room.
I’m not going to bore you with a bunch of poor me’s. The fact is, I don’t remember anything about my birth parents and I had a great childhood.
There I go, tearing up again as I think about how close I was to them. Especially to my dad. He was there for me in every way a little girl needs a father. He went out of his way to make me feel like I was just as important as Keniesha.
My parents loved each other and their children dearly. Honestly, I think it did something to my heart when they died. It’s never felt the same since.
Often times, I feel like I can still hear their footsteps in the hallway or their voices speaking tenderly to each other. But I’m not crazy; Keniesha says sometimes she can hear them, too. She doesn’t believe in ghosts. She says when we hear them it’s because we want them here with us so badly.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but daddy’s smile could light up the entire room. I mean, look at that! How could you not smile back at him? How could anyone ever be sad?
Don’t get me wrong. My mom was a great person, too. She was pretty, kind and loving. She was the stricter of the two, but she still had a soft heart for her children.
So, back to the couch where Keniesha and I were pretty much every night before bed. We liked to chat and eat ice cream or sometimes we’d just talk about our day. She said she had something important she needed to talk to me about.
“I’m not trying to be blunt, but I just don’t know what to do,” she said. “Our jobs just aren’t enough to stay in this house. It was okay for a while because we had the trust fund, but I’ve been doing the math and it’s just not going to be possible. We’re going to have to make plans to move.”
I felt like a spear had been driven through my heart. It kept me impaled and I couldn’t catch my breath.
“I know you just got out of high school and I’m so thankful this didn’t happen before you graduated because you had enough to deal with. There’s just no putting it off any longer. I’m not moving up the career ladder very fast, and you’re only starting out.”
I closed my eyes, willing this problem to go away. But, you know, that never works.
“Are you going to say anything? Are you mad at me?”
“Oh, I’m mad all right! But not with you,” I fumed. Why was this happening? I finally caught my breath but now I just wanted to punch something. Where was that Garret Covington guy when I needed him?
“I’m really sorry this is happening. I’d give anything if it weren’t. But the fact is, we’re just going to have to get through this and stay strong. It will be okay.”
I wished I could muster up the same resolve she had.
I thought about us as children again, standing in this very room and a faint smile came over my face. Maybe we would be all right. But I would miss the memories here so much. How could I possibly leave this behind and live somewhere else? My head began to pound and my heart ached again.
“I know this is a shock and I don’t want to move either. I’m really sorry, Sis.”
“I’m not angry with you, honest. I know you’ve worked really hard to make ends meet. I guess I just didn’t realize it was coming to this.”
“What’s that little smile for?” she asked.
“I was thinking about how much fun it was here, growing up with you.” She laughed a little and I continued, “You always had a plan for fun!”
She laughed more now. “Oh, I remember! I led you to a lot of trouble!”
We sat for a few minutes in silence, each lost in our own thoughts of the past.
Finally, Keniesha said, “Hey, I know it’s cliché, but it’s also true. We’ll be okay as long as we stick together.”
I nodded in agreement. “Yeah. We’ll be okay.”
How could I say anything different to her when it was clear she felt so badly about it? She was always so good to me. The last thing I wanted was to be any sort of burden to her.
I had to get out of there for a while. Keniesha was off to work anyway. I had the day off. For once, I wished I had to work, too, because I think it would have helped getting my mind off of our troubles.
I went to a different beach then where I had met Liev. I wanted to be alone. I wasn’t much of the crying type, so I decided I’d read.
It was not my day, though. That vile man Garret had come there, too. I saw him and turned my back, continuing to read. Maybe he would walk past me. But he didn’t do that.
I straightened my back as he approached. Why in the world would he want to talk to me, of all people?
He seemed uncharacteristically bashful. “Hi, Memphis.”
“Hi,” I snapped. I was not in the mood to take any of this guy’s crap.
“Hey,” I continued, surprised by my by my own tone of voice. (I didn’t know I could sound so snotty.) “Does your grandpa know you raided his closet? I mean, who wears a sweater vest and tie to the beach?”
He winced. “I thought you might still be pissed about that.”
“Well, I guess I didn’t hit you hard enough because here you are, talking to me.”
“What can I do to make it up to you? You cannot believe how sorry I am.”
He seemed sincere, but I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure about that. “You could leave me alone for starters.”
“Are you trying to break my heart?”
Are you kidding me? I thought to myself.
“How could I possibly break your heart?” There was no way I was falling for a stupid line like that. “There is no way I could mean anything to you.”
“I know that I really like you and that I was a total idiot at your party. There’s no excuse for it. I’m just really hoping you’ll give me another chance.”
I squinted my eyes and wrinkled my nose as I thought about it.
“Come on,” he said with a winning smile, flashing those amazing teeth. “I promise I won’t insult you, yell at you, or do anything to make you hit me again.”
I forgot myself and laughed. “Okay, okay, maybe dinner.”
His smile widened. “Great! Tomorrow night, 7 p.m. I’ll pick you up.”
I nodded despite myself and the fact that just a couple hours ago, I wanted to hit him again, even harder than I had the first time.
After he left, I was alone again. Slowly, I began to remember that I hated Garret’s guts.
Good gravy! How did this happen? And could I get out of it?