Sammie Wilson

 'A professional writer is an amatuer who didn't quit' - Richard Bach
I didn't quit. 

My Journey - Free Fiction

For Granted

Posted by Sammie on April 28, 2014 at 7:10 AM

They never hear me

                                                        They never see me

The home I remembered was warm and loving. The easy banter with my dad at breakfast, the musical notes of my mum’s laughter in the background. Happiness made a house a home, and this hasn't been a home for a long time.

My legs dangled over the kitchen counter, listening as my parents fight raged on right in front of me. They didn't see me come in; they never see me come in.

“You're a real bitch, you know that? To imply I've stopped caring-” My dad shook his head, lips curled in disgust. “You make me sick.”

“Me! I make you sick.” She screamed as she swiped her arm across the table, papers with bold red writing floated to the floor. “All you worry about is bills. Money should be the last thing on your mind.”

“All I said is maybe we should take a step back. Look.” His hunched frame, caused from months of stress, months of being overworked, bent down and grabbed a hand full of bills shoving them in her face. “They're going to take our house, our cars!”

She snatched them away and scrunched them up. “I'm getting another job, something you should do too.”

“And work 150 hours instead of the 80 I'm already doing?” He scoffed.

“You should be doing whatever it takes!”

“What help will we be if we're broke, living on the streets with nothing but boxes to keep us warm, what help will we be then?”

“Oh, you're being ridiculous.”

“Am I? Because from where I'm standing that's exactly where we'll end up.”

The look Mum gave spoke volumes. “I can't do this anymore,” she said, the wrinkles in her aging face becoming more prominent.

This was the first time I really noticed how much their failing marriage was taking a toll. My mum's blue eyes, always full of pain, laugh lines bullied away by anger and sadness. She used to be a size ten, her body taut with toned muscle but now she'd be lucky to fit into size eight, her arms like sticks, the skin on her face stretching over sharp cheek bones. Every day I watched the situation spiral further out of control. Was there such a thing as rock bottom? I thought to myself.

“And I can?” My father's flat tone snapped me out of my thoughts. “Do you want a divorce? We're headed there anyway.” His words sounded flippant, almost uninterested and completely out of the blue.

But instead of an angry retort, Mum broke down, tears streaming down her cheeks, sobs wracking her frail body. I expected my dad to go and comfort her but he didn't, he just stood there, face impassive and cold. The look made me shiver as I jumped from the bench, I've never seen my father so devoid of emotion.

Giving him a sour stare, I went to her side, wrapping my arms around her neck but the gesture was unwanted. Mum sighed as she wiped the tears from her eyes turning away from me, a reaction that I was ready for. Shoulders slumped, I dragged my feet to the lounge room, my eyes studying the photographs littering the top of the TV cabinet, landing on the one that looked the happiest - Mum's arm wrapped around Dad's waist, holding him tight against her. Me, with my long blond curls kneeling in front as Mum's perfectly manicured hand curled over my shoulder, while Dad's rough, calloused one lazed on the other. All of our smiles, wide and bright with genuine happiness, eyes sparkling with an unspoken joy. Where did it all go wrong? It was a question I was asking a lot lately.

Suddenly, I plunged myself into the last happy memory I had.

“Don't dodge your class photo's today Hayley.”

I groaned, intending to do just that. “Mum,” I whined. “You know I hate these things.”

“Please? I know it's hard now that you're a senior. You have an image to uphold but this is important to me.”

She was right, I did have an image to uphold, I was Queen B after all and standing up with the nerds to get geeky class pictures could very well be social suicide. As ridiculous as it sounded, unless it was a selfie or some kind of snap shot documenting idiotic behaviour to post on Facebook, it was a no-no.

“I'll make it up to you, I promise,” she smiled.

That piqued my interest, “How?”

“A spa day? You, me, a few of your close girlfriends. I've got treatments not even on the market yet,” she teased.

Mum was a beauty therapist to the stars. She knew all the latest tips and tricks and the samples she had were always from the big named brands. I pretended to think about it but truth be told that was an awesome idea. I might just be able to redeem my social status before it has a chance to die.

“Deal.” A grin spread across my face as I hiked up my bag, the contents weighing heavily on one shoulder. “One geeky school photo coming up.” I kissed her on the cheek and walked out the door.

That was the last happy moment before everything changed.

Somewhere between the reminiscing, my parents' fight started again making me sink down onto the couch, drawing my knees to my chest. I released a tense breath when a knock sounded at the door, briefly interrupting Mum and Dad's shouting match, it also gave the news headlines a chance to be heard. Not that I cared. I grabbed the remote, my finger hovering over the numbers for MTV but something caught my attention. I don't know if it was the pretty brunette, with cropped hair and sad eyes appearing on screen or if it was where she was standing, but either way as I watched a man being dragged out, I felt this pang of fear grip me. The house looked familiar too, its once white paint scarred from years of neglect and age. Why did I feel the need to throw up right now?


“The search for missing high school student Hayley Barrett came to a horrifying end this morning,” I sprang from the chair, my watering mouth intensifying as the need to dry reach continued. I was Hayley Barrett. “Her remains were discovered in the backyard of prime suspect Ian Rafferty, Hayley's beloved music teacher, late last night.” A picture of me in my school uniform flashed on the screen. I was next to Mr Rafferty, a lopsided grin on my face. I remember that day.. “Escorted out in hang cuffs, Mr Rafferty hid his face from the camera and refused to comment. Tune in for tonight's special coverage.”

The agony in my mother's scream tore through the air. It was then that I realised why they never hear me, never see me...

It was because I wasn't really here.

Categories: Short Stories

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