American Coming of Age Creative Nonfiction

"I love you. I promise that one day I'll come back and save you from Hell." The words echoed in her heart and soul, not for the first time in the previous three and a half years. The unuttered words she should've said were now the very words she regretted not saying as she stared at the blurry screen of the IPhone in her hands.

Patience? She hit send before she could back out of sending the first message in almost four years. Questions whirred in her mind. Had the abuse been put on her young shoulders? Was she right in leaving? Should she have found a way to reach out sooner? Would she have had the courage to reach out? What outrageous lies had been dumped into the younger girl's head? Would she even respond to some rando's message?

Who are you and how did you get my number? The words seemed to glare up at her as their potentially accusing tone rang through her head.

It's Adrianna. I just wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving, Little Sis. And to let you know I love you. She wished she knew what more to say. She wished she could start up a conversation like she used to or that she could ask one of the bazillion questions playing ping-pong in her brain. Truth be told, she didn't even know the girl on the other end of the phone anymore. She'd grown and changed just as much as she was sure Patience had grown and changed. All she knew is that she was no longer dealing with the same blonde-haired, blue-eyed naive pre-teen that she had left behind.

Why? A million little reasons flickered through her mind like images in a PowerPoint presentation. Blonde rings wrapping around her fingers as she braided the girl's medium-length hair. Blue eyes peering at the television screen intently watching the Ninja Turtles. Childish laughter floating like a soothing melody on the filthy trampoline as they looked at the passing clouds. Joyous shouts carrying on the wind as they chased the two German Shepherds, the shih-tzu, or the chihuahua around the yard in an attempt to recapture the animals.

Because I never stopped loving you when I left. How could she put all her thoughts into a text? Her guilt? The utter remorse? The love only a big sister could have? The heartache? All of that in a few words was impossible, especially to somebody she'd been unable to communicate with in so long. A stray tear rolled down her cheek as she read the newest text from her sixteen-year-old sister.

I don't want to talk to you. Did Patience hate her? Did she even understand why she'd had to leave? Was she just trying to keep from being hurt again? That was the last thing the young girl needed, was to be hurt by letting somebody back in after so long, a worry Adrianna understood all too well.

Is it Romia? If it's her you're worried about, I can add you on Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram. Desperation filled her soul as she gazed out the sliding-glass door behind the brown pull-out couch she sat on. Seconds ticked into minutes as she wondered if she would even recieve a reply to her inquiry. She knew all too well how controlling the green-eyed lady in question would be if she felt that her power was being undermined again. Absent-mindedly, she reached out to her friend's black three-legged dog for comfort.

I don't have any of that stupid stuff. I don't want it and never will. She debated on how to respond. Did she continue pressing or did she drop the conversation for the night. Was there a way to continue without disrespecting any boundaries? I just don't want to talk to you. Ever. Don't reach out to me again.

She thought back to the day she left. Did she make sure to tell Patience that she loved her one last time? Did she offer to watch an episode of Ninja Turtles while their female guardian was napping or playing computer games? Did she make sure to offer to help make her dark blue Ninja Turtle themed bed or let Brownie (the black and brown chihuahua) outside one last time? The only thing she could honestly say yes to was that she'd told her she loved her. Regretfully, she couldn't recall if her at-the-time twelve-year-old sister had even acknowledged her words of farewell or if she'd been too wrapped up in her favorite Nickelodeon television show of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Placing her phone on the couch, she curled up into a ball, pulling the eager canine with her. Would it have made a difference if she had promised to come back? Would she have been able to keep that promise? If she had promised, would Patience have reacted the way Zarena had, with timid acceptance back into her life? She let the tears fall now that the rejection she had hoped to avoid had occurred. She'd known the likely outcome based off Zarena's warnings that the youngest of the three had gone violent, into survival mode she presumed, after leaving the two behind when she ran.

She'd often wondered if she'd done the right thing, if she should have toughed it out a few more years until turning eighteen to protect the younger ones. Would she have been able to soldier through another three and a half years, in constant fear of fucking up or being beaten beyond repair? Is that very abuse what she had subjected her sisters to by leaving when she did? Would it have made any suffering easier if she had given the girls an inkling of hope of being rescued? If she had promised to come back and rescue them would it have made a difference in how her conversation with Patience had just played out? She let her emotionally drained mind ponder the possibilities as weariness pulled her into an uneasy slumber.

November 13, 2022 03:46

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