Creative Nonfiction Teens & Young Adult

Tears threatened to spill from her closed lids. Her Carolina blue dress was gathered around her knees, which had been brought up to the chest of the young woman sitting on the floral-sheeted mattress.

"I read a story of a man who lived just like me,

Finally ate his pride and came running home.

Lord, I'm a rambler, a gambler,

And I've squandered all I own."

The music trailed off, mere noise in the background, as a tirade of memories ripped through her tired soul. A slightly heavier-set woman of around five-foot-three appeared in her mind. "What the hell were you thinking? You didn't even discuss this with me or your father!"

Trying to gather her swiftly fleeing courage, she opened her mouth to speak, not daring to look into the dark blue eyes boring into her. "Things change, Mama. I decided I wanted to major in law, and the counselor told me that if law was my end-goal, UAV wasn't for me and never would be."

"Just admit it! You're fucking scared! That's the only reason you didn't want to go! You think I wasn't fucking scared when I left home?" Leaning back into the soft grey recliner, she pulled her blue-grey coat farther over her legs despite the mid-July heat. "You're going to be stuck in this God-forsaken state just like I am! Do you want to be fucking stuck here forever?!" Her voice rose with each furious word spat out towards the girl.

"Yes, I'm terrified. But that's not my main reason for withdrawing from enrollment." She averted her eyes towards the stack of college acceptance letters in her peripheral vision. "They don't have what I've changed my major too. I'm taking my advice from somebody who was a student there for six years and has made a lifetime career of advising prospective and current students."

A buzz from her dysfunctional SamsungA02 phone pulled her back into the present moment. Matthew had sent another voice message on Snap. Half listening, she gathered that he understood what she was going through to an extent of missing certain things and not being able to forget despite the world telling her to quit dwelling on the mother who, self-admittedly, hadn't cared about her since that dreadful conversation the previous year. Not for the first time, she swiped at a warm tear, wondering if she was stupid for caring.

"I made it this far with still a ways to go.

Sometimes it's easier just to follow the flow.

But, Mama, if you could see me now,

I wonder, would you even be proud?

College dropout, I may be,

But I couldn't do it financially.

If I knew I wouldn't be turned away once more,

Maybe I'd reach out from a heart so torn."

The words bled onto the sheet of lined paper as unwelcome tears blurred it all into an inky mess. Placing a hand on her stomach, she waited, hoping that maybe she could feel the smallest flutter, something to reassure her it would be okay. With a sigh, she resigned herself to the fact that it was still too early to feel anything, that she'd have to wait another three weeks to hear the heartbeat of the unborn young one she longed to meet. Picking up her phone, she typed up a message, falling short of hitting send as another bout of tears hit her eyes.

"God, are You there? Do You even hear anything or did you leave us all eons ago? I don't hear You. I don't feel Your presence anymore, haven't in well over a year." She vaguely registered that the song had changed and the air conditioner has cut off again.. "The preacher used to say Youre always here,, but, where? Surely, God, the entirety of this clusterfuck isn't all my doing as my folks seem to believe...is it?"

She shook her head, hastily wiping her tears as the room door opened for the first time in two hours. "Have you been crying?" She looked away from him, not able to bring herself to look into his steady brown eyes. "What's wrong?" She shook her head, knowing he couldn't help her with her plight. "Come now, Adrianna. What's the matter?"

"Mom," she uttered, barely audible, and waited for the response most friends and relatives had on the matter.

He crossed the room in three steps, stopping at the queen-sized bed they shared. "What'd she do, Baby?" His hand gently tilted her chin up to look at him.

"Nothing. I just..." She trailed off not sure exactly what had caused her bout of tears. "Miss some things with her," she finished in a small voice, fighting back some of her emotions. "Wish I was able to talk to her without her jumping down my throat, wishing that she would actually believe me instead of baseless rumors."

"It'll be okay. Look at me, Adrianna." Not quite a request, but not quite a demand neither, yet she found herself unable to refuse. "I promise, it'll be okay. We're in this together. We'll prove them wrong. One day, they'll see that we made it, that you made it." He wiped a tear away from her cheek and kissed her softly. "I love you." He turned to gather his towel and a few items from the basket of unfolded laundry and rack in the small closet. "I'm going to shower. You want to come, or wait?" Wordlessly, she gathered a pair of his sweatpants, her undergarments, a towel and washcloth, and her bodywash.

Letting the steaming water wash away her problems for the moment, she focused on the man beside her, her constant since her world fell apart nine to twelve months prior. The man that had changed her world within weeks of entering it, and she was still trying to figure out why and how it had been him. At first, they told her she was just infatuated and that it would wear off, but almost a year later, it was just as strong as when she first felt it. Pulling herself out of her reverie, she went through the soothing routine of a shower, letting the shampoo sit lathered until she was done with her body, before rinsing and conditioning.

Forcing herself out of the warm water and into the cold air of the bathroom was the last thing she wanted to do, but to turn in at a reasonable time she knew she must. Pulling herself together once more, she went through the motions of drying off, cleaning up, and going back to their room. "To elaborate from earlier, it's not that she herself had me in tears. Just that I miss cooking with her at two a.m. as a way to get past a disagreement." She placed a hand on her stomach, "There are so many things I want to talk to her about, and can't, and I wish she didn't hate me as passionately as she claims to." She leaned into him, the smell of his Old Spice body wash calming some of the stormy seas raging in her soul.

"It'll be okay, Adrianna. I promise. What you wanted in a mother is most likely going to be what out little bean needs in a mother. And I'm here every step of the way." She nodded, her head resting against his chest as a round of nausea hit her like a tornado.

"Meds. Did I take then this morning? Shit, probably not. I think I forgot in a rush to get the laundry together." She sat down at the foot of the bed, pulling her medications from the television stand that doubled as a mini pantry. Two doxylamine-peroxidine went into the cap with a Zofran, searching for her other one before realizing she was out and had to pick it up her next trip downtown. Quickly downing her anti-nausea meds, she turned in for the night as he turned out the lights and laid down, pulling her against him. Drifting off, she knew she'd have to face her rocky past with her female guardian figures if she were to ever face the future of being a mother, even if it meant writing a letter a day,, and she only had five months to do it.

August 29, 2022 21:18

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