Noelle

“Why must you be so melodramatic Noelle? Don’t you think this is a bit extreme?” I threw the last of my clothing into the suitcase and zipped it up, ignoring my best friend’s refrain for the one-hundredth time.


What she sees as over dramatic, I see as life preservation. “Just hug me goodbye and get out of here already. You’re only making this harder.”

The tears that I’d been fighting off for the past few weeks since I made the decision were threatening again and I didn’t want to start. Any show of weakness and Amy would scent blood like a shark in the water.

In the past I’ve let her talk me out of things, but this was something I didn’t want her to talk me out of. I need to do this, even though I can’t get her or anyone else to understand. Sometimes I don’t even understand it myself, so how can they?

But deep down inside I know that it’s the best thing for me right now. I knew it when I woke up in the hospital with aches and pains and not knowing who or where I was for those first few minutes.

When my mind was a jumbled mess that I had to piece back together like a puzzle that was missing way too many pieces. When I was feeling adrift without an anchor and fear clawed at the dark recesses of my mind.

As soon as reality came flooding back, bringing all the pain and heartache of betrayal with it, my first thoughts had been of getting away. The thought has been beating in my head like a drum ever since.

Now as I looked around my room one last time for anything that I’d missed, I let my mind go back to that dark place one last time. Hoping that I could leave those particular memories behind.

I saw Jack’s face that last day that we’d fought, argued. Heard the harsh words that had cut me like a knife. And then I saw myself walking away in a daze.

I wanted to yell at that girl to stop, not to open the car door, not to climb in. But it was already too late, weeks too late in fact. And there was no going back.

I shook off the heaviness that threatened to overtake me and took a deep breath. The only thing that had felt good since the whole sordid mess started was this, the move I’m about to make.

My mom stood in the doorway wiping the remnants of tears from her cheeks. No doubt she’d enlisted her little helper to give it one last try before I really was out the door.

She’s another one that can’t seem to understand my pain, and why it is that I’d made the decision to leave my home for the summer. To get away from everything I knew.

I bit my lip when Amy’s arms came around me and I felt the slight tremble in her body. I know that meant that she too was fighting back tears.

“Call me as soon as you get there. And if you change your mind I’ll come get you.” She whispered the words so that mom wouldn’t overhear.

I pulled back and looked at her face, her eyes. I should’ve known! She does get me. Her whole act was all for mom’s benefit. That’s why she’s my bestie. I’d been afraid that I’d lost even that as well.

I smiled wanly because my face was ready but my heart wasn’t yet, to smile. I dragged the heavy case down off the bed and struggled to the door.

“Oh mom, it’s not like it’s forever. Just three months and I’ll be back.” Maybe! I hate lying to her but if I told her the truth I’d never make it past the doorway.

I one arm hugged her and had to pull away when those apron strings began to choke me. I wrestled the case down the stairs and out to my little Beetle with the two of them trailing behind with last minute instructions.

There was barely enough room in the trunk for the luggage. I already had my books and laptop in the backseat. Hoping that I hadn’t left anything behind, I slammed the door before looking back at the house.

I’ve always loved my home. Have always been proud of the house my parents kept. Dad! I can’t think of my dad right now or I’ll break. He’s so mad at me and I’m such a daddy’s girl that at eighteen it still matters.

If he knew the real reason I was running away it would be even worse. He’d end up in jail for sure and I’d have even more guilt on my conscience.

It’s never good when you disappoint the ones you love. And I know I’d disappointed them in more ways than one. Growing pains I guess.

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