Exactly What You Run From, You End Up Chasing.

Submitted into Contest #64 in response to: Write about a family attempting to hide their secrets from someone new.... view prompt


Drama Teens & Young Adult Suspense

  My mouth had run dry, my heart running at rapid speed, my hands were shaking, and it felt like my hair was being pulled out of my scalp, nevertheless, I had to give an answer, whether I had one or not. 

  No, I'm not presenting a thesis in front of the school.

No, I'm not talking to my crush.

Yes, Jess asked if she could come over for a group project.

As in, come over to my house.


"When your father and I decided to buy you a phone THIS isn't what we expected you to use it for! When will you learn to keep your mouth shut!!"

At first, I had hoped that they would first sympathize with my need for someone to speak to. Instead, the first thing they do is scold me for the slight implosion I had within myself AKA texting Molly and coercing her into a deep conversation about 'living two lives'. I never even told her the full truth, just the parts I thought talking would solve.

It didn't solve anything. Instead, what was indeed solved was that I needed a new passcode for my phone and a lock on my door.

"-and another thing!"

God, I forgot she was still here.

"If you think any of these friends you confide in will always have your back, you're wrong. You guys argue over a pen and in a fit of anger throw each other out the window, what makes you think Molly, with whom you just recently became friends with, will keep all that trash you told her to herself? Mess up with her once and she'll use the ammunition YOU gave her! What will her parents think?! Learn to think of whose last name you bear before you make stupid decisions like that!"

The way she said Molly made me feel stupid. So was the truth in what she was saying. I felt the regret I pushed back start to run through me, making my stomach churn and clench.

6 hours later, I was telling Molly about how everything I said was just some huge mistake. Parental Supervision included of course.

What happened, what still happens, what always happens, can never get out. If it does, I'm changing my name to Maria Di Salva.


"So? Liz, come on! This project won't solve itself, and I'm sure as heck that you have a beautiful home, and to be very honest, you're like the only person whose home I haven't visited."

Damn her and her new girl enthusiasm.

"Jess, you just got here. Not pushing you away or anything but you know how much my parents go out, and they still think I can't stay alone in that house with a friend."

These lines are rehearsed, normal strings of sentences I pull together to avoid what will one day become inevitable, the truth.

"Well, I already called your parents, they said they'd be home on Tuesday, by like 4-ish. So yes! It's a date! LOL, I'm joking, but still, see you tomorrow!" She ran off as the bell for our last period rang.

As for me? I still stood there, mouth agape, thinking of how to respond to what I assume is a joke. How in the world would my parents agree for someone to come over? She doesn't know ME or US the way Nortman High or Jetson Banks does. She shouldn't be coming over to my place, we'd unravel like yarn right before her. I wouldn't even need to say anything anymore, she'd see it for herself.

I give up.


"Lissie! Come downstairs, now!"

The pre-dinner talk, no spilling of secrets, no feeling, just smiles, and great table manners.

"I know mum. I won't do anything like the last time. I promise."

A predominant lie, lol.

Jess' blonde waves of hair almost whipped across my face sixty times before she had even properly come into my home. I was still shaking though, it could happen at anytime. This perfect picture thing could all crash.


"Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand.... we're DONE!" Jess announced from the comfort of my penguin beanie. It had been four hours, and I was beyond tired of this project and her over-preppy attitude. But I was mostly happy because up here, even if anything happened, she wouldn't see.

"Yeah, we are." I actually felt really happy, my parents were normal throughout the dinner. He didn't come over today, which was great. Beyond that, my makeup isn't smudged with tears, and my head isn't swarming. Maybe I shouldn't give up this image. Normal felt good.

Really good.


It had been a few hours after Jess's visit, and honestly, until now I didn't notice that I hadn't seen my parents for a while. Especially since I was spending most of my time in the room, trying to freeze the moments of peace. I guess I should go downstairs and thank them or something.

By the time I opened the door, I was forced back in by the searing sound of Mum's screaming. My heart rate shot up, my head started swimming, I could have sworn everywhere was quiet, I could've sworn I didn't hear a pip from any room in this house. I had no earphones in, I never kept them in.

I unknowingly had now ended up in front of their bedroom door, with an axe I had hurriedly picked up from the garage. The sounds had come from here, I was so much more than sure. I was driven with rage and anger and fear and confusion and shock and every other feeling. The door wasn't budging, I couldn't open it, I couldn't scream either if I did, she'd end up worse like she always did when I tried to save the situation. I wanted to run, but she was in there, I need her out. Out NOW!

My hands acted before I could.

I was making futile attempts to break down the door, everything felt so fast, my blood felt like it was spewing out of a loose capillary, my eyes were bloodshot and snot had dripped down my face as I tried my hardest to scream, that was all I could hope for. A scream that would get to the next-door neighbors.

Nothing escaped my lips except a whimper of a prayer. Even that was almost inaudible.

"Liz! Get ouuuu-" her plead was muffled by a pillow.

"MUUUUM!!!" I felt my hands failing me, the door still wasn't down, I was lanky and my legs would definitely not do the job. My mind was everywhere, I couldn't think straight, my head hurt, my stomach hurt, my heart hurt.

Then I thought of a sock and felt my face on the floor.

It was pink, covered in baby ducks, and had a pink bow.


Doctor Appointment AKA Mom was Scared, 13th March, 2012.

"Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a condition that involves sudden outbursts of rage, aggression, or violence."

My eyes wandered around the office, I think I wanted to find out how many triangles I could make with the wall pattern.

The walls were a bunch of squares anyway.

I was 7, and the only thing I paid attention to sitting in that antiseptic smelling office was my mom's teary face. She looked so distraught, but I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know what the bruise on her left cheek meant, I didn't know what that diagnosis meant either. All I did know, was that things had changed.

When we got home, the first thing she did was sit me down.

"Now Lissie, dad will be busy for a while, so in case any of your friends ask where he is, he went on a business trip. OK?"

I nodded my head, then that was the last time we spoke of dad's disappearance. Funny enough, he returned some days later, wasn't speaking to me, and I, the 7-year old I was, took it as him being busy. I never noticed when Mom would always tell me to go out or stay in my room for a long time, I thought she was doing me a favour of some sort. I thought we were safe in our bubble.

Then it popped.

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. There is a price to pay for speaking the truth. I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do; I learned to suspect that anyone and everyone is capable of 'living a lie'."- Havelock Ellis


When I woke up, the first thing I did was scream and shoot myself up as if still holding the axe. Then I was on a stretcher, then I saw my mom. Then I saw our house. Then I saw Him. And anger sped through me, but I couldn't move, I was worn out, but I wanted an end, to this mindless story. I wanted mom to smile again, like before that damned diagnosis.

My phone was beside me though, and the first text I saw was from Jess.

hey, heard what happened. I'm so sorry, I didn't realize all that was going on at first, if you wanna talk about it, I'll willingly listen,


I could care less that she knew, or how she knew because maybe some secrets do need to be exposed, maybe some hidden truths are just better suited for self-destruction. If I had defied them earlier, if I had spoken earlier, she wouldn't be like this. We wouldn't be like this. So I pick up my phone, fingers still aching from grasping the axe, and I type, and type until I've successfully put all that needs to be said into strings of sentences;

"For years, my mother has experienced physical, verbal, and emotional abuse while with my father. My father himself has Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which makes him have extreme outbursts of anger, rage, and violence. I managed to live in the thought that social image mattered more than speaking out, that the shame from hearing whispers and gossip would kill us faster than the secrets we kept. Honestly, I do not know why I am writing this, or why I am sending this to all of you, I am not aking for your pity, or for your condolences and your sympathetic stares. I am doing this for myself and my mother, for my dad. I am doing this for you all to understand, not to lend a listening ear. I do not need it, you all left when it all started, so I refuse to invite you before it all ends. I am only asking you all to finally be there for my mother, to finally play the role of peacemaker you all tried to play years ago when you all criticized us. That is all the truth I can tell, at least all the truth I remember."

I didn't hit send, because firstly who was this even addressed towhere and HOW did I even think of all this?

I wonder what Mom would write.

I looked over and there she was, injured and looking at the sky with a blank expression. I held unto her hand and closed my eyes.

October 22, 2020 20:00

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00:03 Nov 03, 2020

Wow I was not expecting that at all- it was so touching and I could feel every emotion written in it. I paritculary liked this quote you put in. "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. There is a price to pay for speaking the truth. I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do; I learned to suspect that anyone and everyone is capable of 'living a lie'."- Havelock Ellis It was really beautiful and it might be my favorite quote yet. I think it really mi...


11:29 Nov 04, 2020

I. AM. SO. HONOREDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD. tysm for this insightful and concise comment, i so so appreciate it. And yes there's always an element of relation with stories like this, I'm beyond happy that you like it, YOUR page is way more aesthetic btw. tysm again and God bless you!


14:05 Nov 04, 2020

😊😊Of course, Anytime! I loved it!! Awww thank youu that means alot!! God bless you too!!!


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B. W.
19:50 Oct 26, 2020

I enjoyed this story and i think you did a great job with it, I'm going to go and give this a 10/10 :)


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Princemark Okibe
21:21 Oct 25, 2020

You used stream of consciousness and internal dialogue to great effect. I was intrigued and fascinated by her emotional life all through. And I also thought she would send that last text message but she didn't, which is a nice twist on the situation. The edits. I think this phrase [Doctor Appointment... ] Should be [Doctor's Appointment... ]


05:31 Oct 26, 2020

thank you so much for the comment and thank you for taking out time to read my story. Yours are amazing btw.


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