Trigger Warning * Violence * Language
About a week into December, Mom showed up for me.
“Time to come home,” she said, all smiles and open arms.
In an instant, I forgave her everything. She looked good, sober, and that filled me with hope.
“Really? I’m allowed to come home now? Do we have electricity? Water? Did they really say we could come home?”
Mom laughed. “Slow down. We can talk about it on the way home. But yes, you’re coming home, and yes, we have electricity. We even have a phone now!”
I hugged her tight, ran inside to grab my clothes, and then ran out again to shove it all in the car just in case she changed her mind.
“Thank you for everything!” I said, hugging Jennifer and her mom. “It’s all going to be ok now.”
Jennifer’s mom smiled and I barely noticed the tears in her eyes.
I jumped in the car and beeped the horn for Mom to hurry up. She laughed and said her goodbyes, and soon we were on our way. I could hardly wait to see my brothers, to talk to them about everything. It’d been way too long since I’d seen them.
“Are the boys home already? Do we need to pick them up?”
“I need to talk to you about that before we get there,” she said.
“Oh, they can’t come home yet? Why not?”
“They’re home. It’s just, well, you should know this before they tell you. They never left.”
“But I thought we all had to leave. They never left at all?”
I didn’t understand. There was no way to understand. Why me and not them?
She didn’t answer, only stared straight ahead as if for the first time ever trying to be the most attentive driver.
“What? No, they never left, ok?”
“No. No, it’s not ok. Why did I have to leave?”
“It was for the best, that’s all. I don’t have to explain myself to you, Angie.”
I clenched my teeth and held my breath. I dared not try to speak now for fear I’d scream at her and she would take me back to Jennifer’s.
When we got home, everything looked the same. Except, there was a slight hum when I walked through the front door, which I realized was the tall freezer that had always been empty. I popped it open and felt the whoosh of cold air hit me. Stacks and stacks of Hostess cakes and loaves of bread filled the shelves. I pushed them around, looking for meat, but found none. It was ok, we could work with this.
It felt like I’d never left.
About Angela Giles Klocke – I’m a Colorado-based speaker, writer, advocate, and princess! I am also a survivor of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and more. I would love to speak to your group, school, or organization. Catch my TEDx Colorado Springs Talk on abuse, violence, and talking about uncomfortable topics, coming soon. Contact me!