In response to Linda G Hill’s stream of consciousness prompt Stuff hosted by Pawoski
“What is this young lady?”
Christine bit her lips and tried to school her expression before she looked up. Her mother didn’t look too happy. She held a box. Well not any box.
“It’s a box.”
Christine said as innocently as she could.
“Christine Deirdre O’Connor, do not take me for an imbecile. What is this stuff?”
She turned the box around emptying it from its content.
Christine blushed. She was in trouble. Her secret stash was found.
“Again Christine… what is that stuff? And more what is it doing in my house?”
She hesitated wringing her hands together. She’d thought it was well hidden. No one knew of her secret cache. She’d always left stuff there over the years. Her toys that she didn’t want her sister to take from her, like her Barbie dolls for example. Then she’d put books her mother didn’t want them to bring to the house because they were unholy, like Harry Potter or His Dark Material. Let’s not even talk about the romance books that all teenagers loved reading. She had to leave them at the library. She’d hidden her cigarettes when she started smoking, a couple of packs lying scattered in her room with the rest of the stuff. But everything was forbidden fruit in this house, from liberal reading to smoking to relationships of course.
“I’m keeping them for friends. The cigarettes that is.” She said tentatively… and saw her mother get so red, she might have ran a marathon. She had seen the content of the envelope. She had to.
“Christine, you had better be very careful about your next answer. If you lie, you’ll be grounded for the entire summer and I’m sending you to St-Francis come school year.”
Christine yelled despite herself. Joan had gone to St-Francis for a year and her sister had come back so changed she didn’t recognize her anymore. Joan who’d partied like crazy was forced to give her baby up for adoption because their mother wouldn’t let her keep him. She’d come back from the school with the same old fashioned ideas and intolerant views as their parents.
“So tell me the truth. What is this stuff?”
She bit her lips again.
“Well, they’re my cigarettes, my books, my stuff.”
“And the photos?”
“It’s me and my boyfriend.”
“He’s no longer your boyfriend.
“Why Patricia? Because he’s not white?”
The slap came faster than she’d expected.
“Is that a way to speak to your mother?”
“You’re not my mother Patricia. You never were. My mother was never so racist as you. You may have brainwashed Dad and Joan but you’re not going to do that to me.”
Her stepmom was evil; she would probably be a member of the KKK if they were living in the South. But she’d convinced their Father that it was God’s will that their mother died and to make him meet her so that she could take charge of the house and ensure his daughters stay on the right path. Instead both of them had rebelled. But they killed Joan’s spirit. She wouldn’t do that to her.
“I’m shipping you to St-Francis now.”
“Your stupid psychiatry facility with all its electric stuff. I’ve seen reports. In that stuff. I’m not going to let you lobotomize me.”
Patricia made to move but Christine was faster. She punched her stepmom in the face causing her to fall. She’d asked Lee to show her some of his moves. She exited the room; Joan stood there, her face blank as it always was now.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“Out. Tell Dad I’m not coming back.”
“Good. Go. Escape.”
“Come with me.”
“I can’t. Empty thoughts. Go. I take care of Dad.”
Christine couldn’t hug her sister since Patricia but she promised herself to come back some time soon and take her sister away. Joan didn’t deserve what they’d done to her. Nobody did. She ran out and grabbed her bike. Jumping on it, she biked away to Lee’s house. Heart pounding she knocked on the door. Thankfully it was Lee who opened the door. She knew Mrs. Hu wasn’t particularly keen on his son dating a white girl.
“Chris what the hell?”
“I left home. Patricia found the pictures of the two of us at prom. And some other stuff. Like the condoms.”
“Shit. You let her find your stuff?”
She shrugged. She knew it was only a matter of time before she needed to leave. Might as well control when her stepmom would lose her shit over her stuff.
“The apartment won’t be ready before tomorrow but you can stay here.”
“No. She knows who you are. I’ll skip town and will find a place at a motel. Mom ensured we had something so I can pay for the night. I already have a job lined up starting next week.”
“You planned it all.”
“Had to. The woman’s evil.” She kissed him. “Can I borrow your car?”
“Sure. I’ll have Hong drive me to the station tomorrow.”
He dropped his car keys in her hands and kissed her again.
“See you in two days.”
She drove away, watching the town getting smaller in the rearview mirror. Stuff of the past, she thought. She turned on the radio and found a station playing Metallica, something Patricia never allowed in the house.