Family really is a pain…especially when your father is an addict.
For the last two years, high school senior Ruby has been her own rock and solace. She has learned to depend only on herself and hides her family's issues by keeping herself somewhat unnoticeable. Despite her isolation, Ruby has intrigued the affections of someone unexpected. Finding herself loving life once again as his persistence sparks a romance awakening a well-protected heart.
While Ruby’s relationship with her father is constantly teetering, her new-found affection continues to blossom into something more than she ever thought possible. Soon, Ruby comes to realize that opening up your heart means being susceptible to love and disappointment.
YA-M: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.
In the morning, I head to the kitchen in hopes of finding at least some something in the fridge to tide me over before heading to the store. Since I spent most of the afternoon and evening with Brent, I didn’t have a chance to go yesterday.
I open the fridge to find it stocked. Am I in the right house? There’s milk, eggs, and other actual food. I take out the carton of orange juice, and as I close the fridge door, I see a piece of paper hanging on the door with a magnet. The header on the flyer indicates it’s a schedule for addiction meetings at a church fifteen minutes down the road.
Entering the kitchen, my dad clears his throat. “Hey, Tuesday.”
I straighten to look at him, but he’s already noticed that I saw the flyer.
“Morning,” I mutter, hoping not to bring on confrontation.
“Hey, um, I wanted to talk to you about something,” he says, eyeing the paper on the fridge.
Are we gonna talk about this now?
He blows out a reverberating breath through his lips. “Let me make some breakfast first though, okay?”
Heading to the stove, he puts together a quick breakfast of eggs and sausage while I pour the orange juice and wait for him at the kitchen table. He brings over our plates and sits across from me. We eat in silence for a few minutes.
Then, he puts down his fork, ready to unload what he has on his mind. “I’m sorry, Tuesday,” he says. With tears swimming in his eyes, he sucks in a big breath. “I never should have moved us here, but I didn’t know what else to do. I can’t believe we’ve been here two years, and I’m just now seeing it. When I saw you last Sunday before you left, I knew something was up. I knew by the way you looked at me. I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere things got out of hand.”
He starts to rub the tears away from his face as they fall down his cheeks. “You know, Jas and I used to get in a lot of trouble when we were kids. That was one of the reasons I joined the army. I had to get away, and…well, it was advised. Anyhow, that’s the past. Last Sunday, something in your eyes sunk me. You’re the only thing I have left that I love, and this problem I have has taken you away from me.”
“I know I probably can’t say anything to fix the past, but I really want to move forward with you. I can’t imagine what you think of me, but I want you to know I love you, and I’m trying to get my crap together. Shit! Sorry. I shouldn’t talk like that around you. God, this is hard. I know you saw the schedule on the fridge. I guess there’s no hiding I have a problem, but you probably already knew that. You’re a smart kid, like your mom. Anyway, I don’t know where we go from here, but I’m trying hard to fix things, especially this mess between us. I want you to know how very sorry I am.” Sniffling, his eyes are now bloodshot, and his cheeks are flush with emotions.
By the time he finishes his spiel, my body is shaking. I have so many pent-up emotions that I just don’t know how to process them all. Suddenly, my breakfast looks very unappealing. I am so angry and sad and just…I don’t know. This is the first time that he’s actually talked to me about what is really going on with him.
Part of me wants to lean across the table, hug him fiercely, and tell him I love him and everything is going to be okay. Another part of me wants to throw things and then storm out of the house, reacting from the audacity of him thinking that I want to let him back into my life and my heart. Letting him back in feels like a step backward. I’ve moved on without him. With his problems, he made me do that.
All these emotions overwhelming my body, however, leave me speechless as I stare into his glassy eyes. Even though I don’t want it to, my heart breaks a little. I know I shouldn’t be so hard on him, but remembering a year of suffering with him while hoping he would come back hurts to think about. To save myself, I let him go, but the pent-up guilt I feel from that tells me I should open up and give him a chance.
Painfully, I tried with him before, and it broke me down. I was left feeling more useless and lost than I’d ever expected. Too many days went by when he was completely out of it and unavailable because of a hangover. Doing the best I could, I tried to bring him around, thinking maybe it was just a phase. I asked him to come to my track meets, go to dinner, or even just talk to me, but I got nothing in return. He was gone. He was always too busy. After a while, I just stopped trying. No matter what I did, there was no reaction and no change.
Renee Ericson…Renee loves to wear hoodies, is fluent in Yoda speak, and likes to make videos with Lego figures. She is a long time insomniac, but doesn't have the energy to start an underground Fight Club so she settles for writing stories about the characters who plague her mind. She grew up in the Midwest and currently resides in the Boston area, but sounds nothing like Ben Affleck or Matt Damon.
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