Conflicted

Dylan

My mom walks into the kitchen while I'm making an egg salad sandwich. Okay, two sandwiches, one is never enough for me. 

I've been awake since five this morning because I could barely sleep and I'm sure that the bags under my eyes are proof enough of that. I keep seeing Alycia's face after I told her how I truly felt. I keep remembering the feel of her pulse quicken under my fingers as I held her arm tightly. Why was this so complicated? Why can't I just hate her and be done with it?

"Hey sweetie," mom says, her shoulder length black hair is held back with a flowery clip and her brown eyes are questioning me. "What are you doing?"

"Making some food," I reply.

"I can see that," she says and walks over to me. I'd grown taller than my mom years ago, so she feels tiny beside me as she lays a hand on my back. "I heard that Alycia is back."

I freeze and I can almost sense her nodding. The sound of Alycia's name brings back so much more from last night that I involuntarily shake my mom's hand off of me.

"I know," mom says quickly, no pain in her voice. "But it's the past Dylan," she reaches up and holds my chin in her hands so that I am looking straight down at her. "It wasn't her fault."

"I know that," I say, each word tasting like bile. "But what happened after, is. She could have called, written; something!" 

"Oh, sweetie," mom coos and pulls me into a light hug. "I called her house and told Robert that I wanted to see her."

I instantly pull away. "What?" I nearly yell. "Why would you do that? Why would you want to see her after everything she and her mom have done to this family?" 

"Yes Dylan, they hurt us," she says, nodding. "But they had their reasons, I talked to Julie a while ago and she explained."

I widen my eyes. "You called her?"

Mom shakes her head. "No, she called me before sending Alycia down here."

I stare at her, my sandwiches forgotten. My eyes search my mom, trying to see what other secrets she is holding from me. She reaches up and brushes away some curls from my forehead. I remember as a kid she used to do the same thing when I was scared. She'd come running into my bedroom in the middle of a thunder storm, or whenever I cried out for her and she'd brush away my hair before singing me back to sleep. I have her eyes and it's eerie seeing myself reflected in them. Dad is taller than me and I inherited his wild curls. He's all man, fierce and determined, but mom is the soft and kind parent, the one that gave me her caring eyes.

"I know how you feel about her," she says, resting my cheek on her palm. "I always have, the way you used to always talk about her when you were kids was more than a simple friendship."

I close my eyes and smile, remembering the memory. 

"But years pass Dylan," mom says, her voice getting a little harder. "And decisions we've made should affect us less and less, or else," she let go of my cheek and I reopen my eyes, "they'll kill us, leaving us with nothing."

I nod and she smiles at me. She starts to walk away and I turn back to my sandwiches, not really seeing them as I recall my mom's words.

"And Dylan," mom says, tying her robe tighter around her body, "I made an appointment to get your hair cut."

I snort and she smiles before heading back to her bedroom.

The End

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