~~ It's rather brisk out and I can help thinking that it's
foreshadowing the frosty encounter I'm about to face. I have no
idea how I have convinced myself to do this but it is long
overdue. And seeing as though she is blocking my calls, I guess
she has left me no other choice.
My heart starts to pound when I head up my driveway. Something feels off. I have walked up this driveway countless times but now it just feels wrong. Like I'm walking up to a stranger's front door.
I'm so nervous I'm shaking. It's half six, my mum should be back from work. Holy crap, this is the most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life. The concept freaks me out. It's my mum not a bloody serial killer. But I still feel sick to my stomach as I hover my fist over the door. I suck in a breath and knock before I change my mind and bolt.
I can hear her coming down the steps. Her blurry silhouette passes the frosted glass of the window beside the door. My heart is in my throat. It's too late now. She opens the door.
We both freeze.
She's stood in the hallway, her long blonde hair in waves. She's wearing a pair of khaki linen pants and a black top.
"Hey mum," I say, putting on a brave smile.
The muscles in her cheeks quiver and her eyes start to redden. She gulps hard and shuts the door in my face.
The bang almost knocks me back like a kick in the heart.
I'm not going to lie, I was hoping for a different reaction. I would have rather she had screamed at me until she was blue in the face than just completely ignore me, because at least then we could actually get somewhere. We could move forward and not stay in the sickening limbo.
"Mum…" I say tentatively, hoping she is still on the other side of the door.
My heart crashes against my chest at the sound of her voice. She doesn't sound angry, she sounds…pained.
"Mum, please just listen to me. I hate us being like this. I'm still your daughter."
"Leave. You're not welcome here. Did you not understand that when I blocked your calls?"
Tears are welling in my eyes. I press my palm against the cold wood of the door.
"Just hear me out, mum."
"I'm not interested in anything you have to say. Go, Ebony. I'm leaving."
"Mum!" I bang on the door. "Please!" My voice has broken as the tears begin to fall. My sobbing starts to make my chest heave forward. It hurts to stand, I can feel my knees giving up under me so I sink onto the step and rest my back against the door. She doesn't answer but she could be lying so I talk anyway, hoping that she is there to listen.
"I love you, mum. You were like my best friend. I know what happened with you and dad crushed you and when you found Tom you were starting to become yourself again. You don't know how much I wished I could have been happy for you. I wanted you to move on so badly but…" I sniff and wipe my nose on the back of my sleeve. "Tom is a good man, mum. I know you don't think it now after what he has done to you but you have to know he didn't want any of this to happen. I broke him down, mum, and he gave in. I'm sorry. I wished I was stronger. I wish I could have stopped myself but it hurt too much. I love him, mum. And he loves me. We never wanted to hurt you. I wish things could be different but this is how it is." My voice is starting to wobble and it's getting very hard to speak. "Please don't be mad at me forever. I don't want to lose you. I can't lose you…mum?" I close my eyes and drop the back of my head against the door. "Mum?" I whisper. "I'm so sorry…please forgive me…"
The door doesn't open again. After another ten minutes of
sitting there like a tramp begging for change, I dry my eyes and
decide to head back to the flat with a heavy heart.
I go the long way back and window shop to waste time. Then I catch someone looking at me in a café as I pass. My eyes bulge and my heart pounds.
His eyebrows shoot to his hairline and he starts to wave manically as if to get my attention when it is very clear that I have spotted him. He gets out of his chair with his steaming paper cup and comes outside.
"Ebony! Oh my God," he exclaims and wraps his arm around me.
Part of me wants to cry and curl into him yet another part of me wants to push him away. I lean into the hug anyway.
He recoils and looks down at me, his brown eyes smiling at me. "Wow, how are you? It's been a while."
My gut twists. "I'm okay, I guess. Yeah, I haven't seen you since my twenty-first." I arch an eyebrow judgingly. I got a birthday card from him every year since but it wasn't the same as seeing him face-to-face.
He hisses as if in pain and runs his hand through his dark hair that is now streaked with silver.
"Works been hectic as usual but I'm doing good. How's your mum?"
The knot tightens. "Erh…fine."
"I heard she broke up with her boyfriend." He sips at his cup as if to try and look nonchalant when I can tell he wants the juicy details.
"Yeah, she did. How do you know about that? It's not like you've been around." For the past three years.
"Just because things didn't work out between us, doesn't mean I don't want the best for her. I've got a few friends who are keeping an eye on her."
The side of his lips curl into a smile. "I see it more as caring. So anyway, what happened? Why did they break up. I wish I'd gotten a glimpse of that guy, according to my friends, he was quite something."
"Erhh…." I look down the street, wishing I was anywhere but here. This is so awkward. "Y'know, I've got somewhere to be. I'd better get going." I start to walk off but he grabs my hand.
"It's been really nice seeing you, Eb." He looks deep into my eyes desperately.
"Yeah, you too," I reply, the honesty makes my heart ache.
"How about we get together sometime. Do you still have my number?"
"Not if you've changed it in the past three years."
He laughs awkwardly. "It's still the same. I'll call you, okay?"
"Yeah, sure. Sounds good." I show him a genuine smile. "Bye dad."
He lets go of my hand and pats my shoulder cherishingly. "Bye sweetheart."