Rewriting the Past

Leigh feels she's a burden and a nobody, so she does the unthinkable. Can two strangers rewrite the past to save her future?

Taking the metro into the city, Leigh and her mother looked like ragged paupers next to her father. Of course, Leigh thought, they were paupers. It was just that her dad was going for his final interview with the airline company. The suit he wore was still being paid for, though they bought it six months ago.  Herbert kissed his wife and daughter goodbye at the airport exchange. Sent off with well wishes, he walked away with a spring in his step. He was certain that he would get the job. Leigh wished she could be certain about something. Something other than the certainty she’d be poor and alone for the rest of her life.

“Come now,” Penelope glanced at her daughter, “Don’t look so glum. We’ll find you something extra special for your birthday.”

Yeah, Leigh thought, spend all that money that we don’t have yet. Out loud she only gave a noncommittal “Okay.” Schooling her face into a blank expression she watched the lights and stations pass by. It seemed like everyone around them had better clothing. Not that that, she thought, was hard to do. Leigh’s reflection started back at her from the dark train window. Her two colored eyes, one sea blue the other sea green blinked from behind her coke bottle glasses. Her fist pressed against her upper jaw, as if somehow she could make her overbite disappear.

Leigh sighed and turned to her mother. “Where are we going?”

“You’ll see,” Penelope smiled at her daughter.

At least she’s excited, Leigh thought, looking at the people on the train. No one looked at them. In fact it was if they were purposefully looking away. Bums are what we look like, she thought. Bums is what we’ll be if Dad doesn’t get that job. They changed trains twice before her mother led Leigh out into the streets. They were on Madison Ave. Leigh gasped at all the boutiques. She’d never seen so much finery in her life.

Penelope clapped her hands, and then took hold of her daughter’s shoulders. “We’re going to find you something really nice for that dance that’s coming up.”

Leigh smiled at her mom, “Really?” she wasn’t sure if she wanted to be excited or not. One nice dress wasn’t going to change the opinions of the kids at school. A complete makeover with plastic surgery might; however, that had as much change of happening as a snowball did of lasting in Hell. They went into shop after shop, snubbed each time. Hadn’t her mother watched “Pretty Woman”, Leigh wondered. How else was she expected to be treated, dressed as they were in Salvation Army clothing?

“We’ll just have to go elsewhere,” Penelope declared, smiling at her daughter as they stepped out of the thirteenth shop.

“Sure mom,” Leigh tried to return the smile, but failed. She slowly drifted away from her mother. Fists clenched Leigh fought back tears. She’d passed through sixteen with out a single kiss, not even one to the cheek. She’d been stood up seventeen times. She’d been called a horse, a rabbit, four eyes and other names all through school. Her parents struggled to make ends meet. They were still paying for Leigh’s medical bills. Bills she’d wracked up while still in the womb. She was just a burden; a nobody.

Leigh bumped into a girl, knocking the bag out of her hands. “Sorry,” she mumbled, picking up the bag and handing it to the owner. She didn’t look at the girl’s face. She knew full well it would be filled with disgust at the sight of someone like her.

Penelope sighed as she looked at her watch. “Your father ought to be finished soon. Such a shame we couldn’t find you anything.” She ignored the haughty stares of the crowd. “I guess we’ll just take the subway back to meet him.” Penelope smiled at her daughter as they passed a bus stop on the way to the metro.

Balancing on the curb Leigh followed. She watched the traffic. How easy would it be to throw herself in front of a car? If she died today, they would have one less mouth to feed; one less body to cloth. Her parents could move on without worrying about uprooting her. They would be free of her burden.

“Leigh, honey, I wish you wouldn’t do that.” Concern colored Penelope’s voice as she looked back at her daughter, balancing on the edge.

Leigh shrugged as she caught sight of a bus barreling down the street at them. If she timed it right; her eye’s narrowed as the sound of the bus roared in her ears. It was two lanes over. The windows reflected the sunlight into her think glasses. For a moment Leigh was blind. Then she threw herself out.

Penelope whipped around. “LEIGH!” she screamed.

Brakes squealed.

“No!” echoed two voices from the crowd.

The bus hit and Leigh fell into blissful blackness.

The End

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