I guess I really don’t know where the beginning is anymore. I could begin with the day that I met Him. That would be a fair beginning. Or, possibly, I could begin with my entry into this world, 17 years ago. Another fair beginning. But I think that the best place to start is two summers ago.
I spent the summer of my fifteenth birthday at my cousin’s house. The reasons for which I was there were not so beautiful, but the events of that summer are the most vivid and amazing memories I have of the past 5 years. I was with Ray and Claire, because of my parents’ separation. I loved my parents, as any teenage girl would, but we had our rough patches. My mother was beautiful. She had cerulean eyes that sparkled like the west coast and blonde waves that cascaded down her caramel back. I envied her eternally for her beauty, as I took after my father. My straight red hair, fair skin, and hazel eyes mirrored his. I was tall though, unlike my mother, with the body of a model. I was proud of my long legs and my cute freckles, but I would have killed for those blue eyes or that perfectly tan skin.
Though my mom was beautiful, she was not happy. She could flash her award winning smile at anyone, and they’d be on their knees, wrapped around her finger. She had the ability to have anything the way she wanted it, but despite all this she fell into manic depression when I was but 14, she 29. For weeks she couldn’t even bring herself out of bed, and lost job after job because of this. My father and I were worried, of course, but he was more angry than concerned. As we went from two incomes to one, we moved out of our luxurious apartment, and into a crummy flat.
After living in the flat for a few months, I couldn’t go to school, or hang out with my friends, for I thought it best to stay home with mother. She needed me, and I knew that I could never forgive myself, had she done something rash in my absence. Slowly, the summer fell into fall, and the fall melted into winter. By December of my freshman year, I was failing all my courses, and none of my friends wanted to talk or hang out anymore. I was, in every way, wrapped up in my mother’s life and problems.
She told me everything on those days, when we sat at home with the blinds closed, she in her bed and I beside it. She tried to make me understand why she was so upset, but I didn’t get it until years later. She told me about her childhood. My grandfather was a noble man. He had three daughters, all of whom he loved very much, and he wanted the best for them. He began work at a factory, and before long he ran four establishments within state limits. His salary grew, and he treated his little girls as royalty. He bought them the prettiest dresses and the best dolls. As they grew older, he expanded his work time to meet their wants. My grandmother was not happy with my grandfather’s absence, and she began to drink heavily. She died from alcohol poisoning when I was only three, so I don’t remember her, but my mother resented her.
Mother says that grandmother was constantly trying to by grandfather’s favourite woman of the house, but she grew tired of the games, as he fell out of love with her, and in love with his daughters. As soon as mother, the youngest of the three, moved out, grandfather quit his job and moved to Europe. He never wrote, and surely didn’t leave a forward address, so I never knew him either. Mother talked about him a lot. I tried very hard to remember my grandparents, but the first five years of my life seem a bottomless void. I ached to know these people as well as mother, but it was virtually impossible.
By March, I was just as unhealthy as mother. Considering I never left the house, except to go to the grocery store, I spent too much time thinking. We spent our days sitting in the dark house watching daytime soap operas and drinking tea with Bailey’s, mother’s favourite. I lost a lot of weight that year, too, since neither of us could be bothered with cooking, and my once ivory skin lost its glow. Father decided that mother needed help, and that I needed my life back. He loved us very much, and wanted the best for us, even if that meant the worst for him. He took mother to the county hospital, and they put her in a rehabilitation center. She unwillingly went, and she left with the promise of divorcing father as soon as she got out. That broke my heart, because I knew he was bending over backwards to save her. He sent me off to live with my Aunt Jo and my cousins, Claire and Ray. I had spent a lot of time with them when we were younger, but when we moved to California, my frequent visits ended.
The day that father drove me out to Dolan Springs, Nevada in his ancient blue Camaro, I was emotionless. I couldn’t remember what it was like to be around people other than my parents, and the thought of starting all over scared me. I would have to repeat my freshman year, for I failed due to lack of attendance. Ray and Claire would expect me to go to the pool or the mall with them. They would expect me to be a normal 14 year old girl. I didn’t even know if I could do that anymore.