The hall light came on in a flash the moment the fifteen-year old stepped through the front door. The hand that once helped her across the street slapped her across the face. The smack rang out in the quiet house, as did the daughter’s laughter. Angel didn’t feel the pain of her mother's hit. She was high on cocaine.
The mother screamed, “You selfish bitch! Where were you?”
Angel’s tone was flat when she replied, “Out.”
“I know you were out! Where? Were you with him?”
Angel wondered if her father was really sleeping through his wife’s yelling or was he too afraid to get caught in the middle of the two of them. “You already know I was. Can you move so I can go to bed?”
“You’re late! I was insane with worry! Don’t you give a shit about anyone but yourself?”
Angel let out a loud sigh, “I’m not even ten minutes late, Ma.”
“You’re grounded.” She stepped aside so Angel could move up the stairs to the solitude of her bedroom.
“You’re kidding, right?”
With a smug look her mother replied, “Maybe you’ll think twice about being late and laughing about it next time you come waltzing through the door.” She brushed past Angel, then said over her shoulder, “Don’t treat me like a second-class citizen. I’m your mother.”
“Ma, I was ten minutes late, you’re really gonna ground me for being ten-“
“Yeah, I’m really gonna ground you. Go to bed, you selfish little whore.” Her mother shut her bedroom door with a slam.
Angel sat on the edge of her bed. She was too wired from the blow to fall asleep. Not to mention too hurt by the sting of her mother's words. As she undid the laces of her tennis shoes, she looked around the room. Her Prince and Billy Idol posters stood in stark contrast to the Barbie dolls she just couldn’t seem get rid of yet. Those dolls reminded her of a better time. A time when she played with such carefree abandon. A time before her mother started throwing verbal daggers. A time before her parents couldn’t protect her from her uncle’s touch.
Angel was jolted from those dark memories by the crash of her bedroom door being thrown open. Her mother’s face was red as screamed, “It’s either him or us! Your choice! We give you everything you could ever need. Clothes, food, shelter, and all you do is come home to eat and sleep. Well, I’m tired of being treated like a hotel. I’m done! So it’s time to choose missy! Him or us! He can have your selfish ass!” The door slammed shut with another loud bang as her mother left her in peace again.
Silent tears ran down Angel’s face. She reached inside her pocketbook searching for the folded piece of notebook paper she prayed was in there. She whispered, “Please God, just one bump, just til morning, just to help me get through this night alone.” She dumped the contents of her purse onto the bed. No packet of leftover coke to be found. Damn!
As she sat on the edge of the bed again, she eyeballed the diorama she made in junior high. Yes! She flipped over one of the little dolphins, and bingo! A joint. Thank God for emergency stashes. She cracked her window open and allowed the calming effects to numb her from her pain. For now.
As the night wore on, her mother continued to barge in and scream obscenities at her until she finally calmed down too. Or maybe, just maybe, her father had had enough. Eventually, the sun rose and with it a new day and new opportunity. Angel found a note on the kitchen table in her father’s writing:
We’re at the diner getting breakfast. Join us if you’d like. Love dad.
As if nothing had happened.
Angel flipped the note over and wrote:
I choose him.
As she walked out the door she spotted a small white packet lying on the floor by the front door. She smiled brightly as she picked it up and snorted it’s contents. The high was instant. It was going to be a good day. It was going to be a good life.
Or was it?
Remember my dear readers,"It takes a thousand 'atta girls' to erase one 'you selfish bitch'." I speak from experience.