I stuffed the last of my clothing into a duffel bag, not really caring about whether or not it was organized. Right now, I just wanted to get the f.ck out of this house. Technically, I had three weeks left until I was supposed to start college and my mom had promised me that things would be better then, but it wasn't worth it to me anymore. I had worked a lot and had a lot of money saved up for school already and with student loans and the scholarship I'd gotten, I would work it out. I would work it out, because I had to. It was the only option I had left at this point. My hands searched for the money I kept under my mattress, about five hundred, and slipped that into a large tote bag before making my way into the hallway bathroom. I was nearly silent, making sure not to wake up my mom or step-father as I packed away everything as fast as I possibly could. I felt sick to my stomach, and I couldn't figure out if I was just nervous about what I was doing, or it was fear of getting caught... or maybe it was excitement over the fact that I was finally getting away from them.
I was finally done packing everything, so I walked over to my window and pushed it as wide as I could, grabbing the two large bags I had with nearly my whole life in them. I wasn't sure where I was going as I jumped out the window and started down the sidewalk, but I knew I was getting away. And right now, as the moonlight shown against my bruised arms, that was all that really mattered.
I took my coffee from the counter and glanced down at my phone in my hand to see if I had time to sit and drink the coffee or if I had to get to work right away. Luckily, I had a few minutes to spare so I found a seat in one of the corner tables and immediately took out the ELLE issue I had been carrying around in hopes for some free time to read it. My eyes scanned the small coffee shop and when my eyes landed on the brunette, absolutely nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. "Mom?!" I said, my voice loud in the quiet coffee shop. I regretted the words instantly. I wanted to hide and wish that she'd never saw me. I cursed myself for being early and having enough time to sit. When I had left, I never wanted to see my mom ever again. After all, it's a lot easier to forget your past if you never saw the people who made it something that you wanted to forget.
"Ariana," My mother said almost immediately, making her way towards me. "I can't believe it... it's you!" She said, pulling me up from a chair and yanking me into a hug. As her hands made contact with my body I found myself flinching, almost as if I was expecting her to hit me, scream at me for leaving. I had been waiting for months after I left for my mom and step-dad for them to find me and force me to come back with them. But no, it had been nearly eight years now since I left and I had stopped fearing that, I had never even thought that I would ever run into them anymore. After all, it wasn't exactly like I was hanging around the neighborhood I'd grown up in. Yet here I was, in a coffee shop only two blocks from my apartment, my moms arms wrapped tightly around me.
I squirmed from her grip then, suddenly fearing very very uncomfortable. "Um... I need to go to work," I said, not sure what else to do but run.
My mom held onto my arm, refusing to let me go and I winced, thinking about countless other times when she'd had me in this very grip, though the thing that came next was very different. Now, my mom just smiled and dropped my arm to hug me again. "I thought I would never see you again..." My mom whispered, and it sounded like she was pushing back tears.
I pulled myself back from her grip once again, my eyes cold as I looked at her and composed myself. "Where's Joseph?" I asked her, citing the name of my step-father who was the reason that I had left my mom.
My mom's mouth gaped open as I rendered her silent. I just shook my head and grabbed my bag and coffee, leaving the small shop. Eight years was plenty of time to stop missing someone, and I honestly couldn't care less for my mother. And that silence, it was enough to let me know that nothing had changed, making me even hate the woman who had raised me. "He left me Ariana!" My moms voice called as she followed me onto the sidewalk. That made me stop.
I turned back towards her. "What?"
"Three years ago, he left and never came back."
"I ran away because you were with him. You lost your own daughter because of some guy who only hurt you and didn't even love you and you still stayed with him?! Are you so f.cking pathetic that you couldn't even get out yourself? He left you mom, don't look so proud that you're not together anymore," I said, completely unapologetic for my words. I knew she was looking for my sympathy, or maybe even my forgiveness, but I didn't have any of either.
I cut her off, shaking my head. "My entire childhood was ruined because of you and I will never be the same person. The only reason I am even standing here today is because I left and you weren't in my life. I'm better without you."
"It wasn't my fault! He was abusing me and I was so disillusioned. I didn't know what I was doing then and my therapist-"
I stopped her once again, not wanting to hear some bullsh.t excuse of why she allowed me to grow up the way I did. I didn't care how damaged or disillusioned Joseph had made her. "I don't care!!" I yelled, louder than I had intended, but nothing could stop me from how angry I felt right now. "You took away my childhood, you took away the years that I should have spent being happy and young, you destroyed my idea of what a family is supposed to be, and you completely ruined me so that I feel like I can't trust anyone or love anyone. I am sincerely sorry if you were hurt by what happened to you, but you were not the only one. You were just the only one weak enough to not realize it and get out."
"How dare you!" She asked, rage filling her eyes along with tears.
"How dare I?!? I have every right to hate you after what you did to me."
"But it wasn't me! I never abused you Ariana..."
"No, you just watched and let it happen. And you know what mom, that's a lot worse in my book," I told her, turning around once again and starting towards work, which I'm sure I was now late for.
I almost expected my mom to call after me or chase me as I turned the corner, but she did neither. I took a large sip of my coffee and just closed my eyes for a second, feeling my body shaking from what had just happened. I knew I wouldn't cry or break down. I knew that instead I would go into work and put a smile on my face like nothing had just happened, and I knew everyone would believe it too. But nothing could get rid of the feeling I had, one of regret almost.. and something else that I hadn't felt in a really long time. It was that longing, or that weird pang in my chest that used to hit me at random moments years ago.
For the first time in years, I felt myself start to miss my mom again.