Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write CONTEMPORARY FICTION (10/30/14)
TITLE: Hiding Hope
By Allison Egley
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I wonder what made her snap. As a young child, I remember happy times. I remember playing games and going to the park and eating ice cream together. But then things changed. I can't explain it.
She's not physically abusive. At least not to the point where she leaves marks. She's too smart for that. No, the scares she leaves are all emotional. Hidden away so no one can see them. So what good does it do to hide? She'll find me. Some way, some how, she'll find me. She'll drag me back home. That's when the real terror begins.
"You are such a fool."
"I should have let your father have his way. Then you'd be off in that boarding school and I wouldn't have to deal with you."
"I wish you had never been born."
That one hurts the most. Even the endless cursing is better than that. Why? Why can't I ever please her? It's not like I'm a horrible child. I've never been brought home by the police. Not for a crime anyway. There was the time I ran away, and the police found me in the woods, wet and cold. They brought me home. Mom feigned concern and care, but I knew better. Sure, she was worried about me, but only so she could still collect child support from my father. Either that or she gets some sadistic pleasure from what she does to me, and she has no other outlet. Maybe it's a combination of the two. I really don't know.
I can't think of one specific incident that changed her. I wish I could. Then maybe, just maybe, I could try to fix it. But I can't.
I've tried to reach out to people, but no one believes me. They can't believe that my sweet mother could harm a flea. Well, they're right, in a way. She wouldn't harm a flea. But her own daughter is fair game. She puts on such a good face when other are visiting or when we're out in public. And I've learned to put on a happy face too. Because if I don't, I'll suffer for it. I've even tried recording her tirades, but she finds out, somehow, every time. Makes me wonder if her phone has some sort of app tracking mine.
When I'm with her in public and someone asks, "How's your daughter?" the answer is always a simple "Oh, she's fine. She's about to go off to college." When introducing me to new people, it's a simple, "This is my daughter, Tessa. She's getting ready to go off to college." Which would be great, if it were true. But somehow, she's sabotaged even that. I should be old enough to make my own decisions. To get a job and go off to college. Yet I am held hostage by my mother. Not physically, but emotionally. She's taken away all my choices for so long that now I'm paralyzed when I have to make my own decisions. What if it's the wrong choice? What if I fail? And so, I fall right back into Mother's trap.
Failure. Now that's really what I fear. If I fail in a job or in college, I'll have to come crawling back, and it will be even worse, because she'll have even more fodder for her abuse. She'll insist that I'd be lost without her. And she'd be right. I mean, at least she feeds me and clothes me. But I'm lost with her, too.
I don't know what to do anymore. I've tried so many times. I keep telling myself that this time it will be different. This time someone will listen. And so I try one more time. I'm hiding from my mother, but maybe this will be the last time I have to hide.
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