Rm w/a Vu(5)

By: A. D. Ryan

Well, now I know it’s because Delilah was busy diddling him.

Releasing a deep sigh, I round the corner onto my parents’ street and park my car along the curb. Dad’s cruiser is in the driveway next to mom’s SUV, and I look at the clock on my newly installed CD player to see that it’s nearly dinnertime. I don’t relish telling my mom what happened, and I look even less forward to Dad hearing about it too. But I know it’s going to happen, so I take a deep breath, grab my phone and backpack, and climb out of my vehicle.

I fiddle with my keys as I ascend the steps of the front porch, trying to locate the key to the house. When I find it, I slide it into the deadbolt and turn it, pushing the door open and stepping over the threshold.

“Oh, Cam. That’s it. Oh yeah…right there.”

“OHMYGOD!” I scream, completely horrified at having walked in on them…again. My timing really is horrible. I’m starting to wonder if I should wear a bell or announce my presence to the world. I’ll bet my dad even has a bullhorn I can borrow for such things.

Through my periphery, I can barely see my mother fall off the couch—where I unfortunately assume my father is laying—and I slap my hand up to act as a blinder between them and me.

“What the hell is wrong with the two of you?! Jesus!” Naturally, I don’t wait around for an answer before I bolt up the stairs and slam my bedroom door.

Nothing in my room has changed since the day I moved out—just as my parents promised. My twin bed remains dressed in deep blue linens; my desk sits near the window, empty because I took my laptop with me to school; and my dresser is in the corner, topped with a mirror and various candles. I don’t give myself the opportunity to soak up the familiarity of the room before I flop down on my bed and pull my pillow over my head. There’s a brief moment of time where I wonder if I can asphyxiate myself until I pass out. Maybe the lack of oxygen to my brain will trigger amnesia.

There’s a light knock on my door, and I recognize it instantly as my mother’s.

“Go away!” I cry into the pillow. I’m sure she doesn’t hear me, because the door creaks as she opens it and my bed dips at my knees beneath her weight.

“I didn’t realize you were coming home,” she says as if it’s an excuse to act like a teenager. “Your father came home for—”

I yank my pillow away from my face and gawk at her. “Oh, I know what he came home for.”

Mom shakes her head with a sly smirk, her dark hair flowing freely around her face. “Dinner. Your father came home for dinner. He’s working the graveyard tonight.”

“And you decided that dessert should come first.” The minute the sentence leaves my mouth, a queasy feeling rolls through my stomach, and I bring the pillow back up to my face, pressing harder than before.

Before I can successfully suffocate myself, the pillow is torn from my grasp, and my mother stares deep into my eyes. “What’s going on?”

It’s hard not to spill my guts to her because she’s just so damn easy to talk to. So I sit up, cross my legs like a pretzel in front of me, and begin to tell her what happened with Ben. She pushes my long brown hair behind my shoulders as I speak, and I’m shocked when she doesn’t seem too surprised. I really thought she’d liked him when I had introduced them. Apparently, I was wrong.

“He’s an idiot. I always knew you could do better.” This is just one of the many things she tells me. Oddly, it comforts me.

“Honestly, I haven’t even cried. Is that weird? I mean, I thought when someone you loved did something like that, you cried…”

Mom laughs heartily, placing her hand on my knee. “Oh, honey. I’d be willing to bet you never really loved that boy. Trust me, when you fall in love, you’ll know it.” I’m confused, so all I do is stare as she gets this wistful look in her blue eyes. “He will be your entire world. Just being away from him will feel like the end of your world, and when you’re reunited, you’ll feel a sense of total completion.”

“Sounds a little Jerry Maguire to me,” I mumble.

With a one-shouldered shrug, she stands from the bed. “Maybe. But you’ll understand one of these days.”

I am quick to disagree as she pulls me to my feet and from my room for dinner. “Nope. I’m giving up on relationships. I’m going to focus on school and my career. I don’t need a man.”

“Oh, sweetie.” She wraps her arm around me securely as we descend the stairs. “You can’t control these things from happening. You’ll see.”

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