Kevin pulls the car into my driveway. I thank him for the ride and find my way in the dark up the porch steps. I reach for the doorknob and pause. There's still time to change my mind. Before I have the chance to dwell on it too much, the door swings open.
"There you are, you little bitch."
Mom grabs me by the wrist and drags me inside. I let her think she's strong enough to pull me around; fighting back only makes her angry. In reality, the years of heavy drinking have taken a toll on my mother. She barely eats, is almost never sober enough to stand straight, and spends hours every day kneeling over the toilet puking up the contents of her stomach.
"I bet you were off fucking all the boys in town. I'll teach you to ruin the family reputation."
She picks a shoe off the floor and raises it over her head. I can't tell if she's aiming for my face or my chest, so I put up my arms protectively. The shoe thuds into my arm and falls out of her hand. I shove her out of the way and run upstairs. Behind me, I can hear her cursing and spluttering as she struggles up the steps. When I get to my room, I lock the door behind me and push my dresser over the doorway.
It's been a couple of weeks since the last incident like this. When I was younger, she used to apologize and swear that it would never happen again. I know better now than to trust her, as much as I would like to.