Some lady just moved in next door to me. My dad told me to be nice, that lady was one of his old war friends. I didn’t get it. Only guys were supposed to be soldiers.
She came over for dinner that night. She seemed nice enough. I was still wondering why she was in the army and why she moved in next door alone. A woman around her age has to be married and have kids. I didn’t ask about it though. I didn’t want my dad to back hand me again.
“So Marria.” My father asked her, “What brings you to this sleepy part of town?”
“It’s David, John.” She began, “I found he’s abusive. My daughter mainly, but he’s not afraid to hurt me. The only reason why she’s not with me right now is because of the contract from the divorce.”
“I never figured he’d be abusive.” Mom chimed in.
“I never thought so either.” Marria continued, “But I found some bruises on Christina and asked her about them. It broke my heart to see her cry as she answered. She’s so sweet too. An awfully nice girl. Hardly five. And now she’s in that house getting thrown around by the man I called my husband.”
“Have you tried anything to get her?” Dad asked.
She nodded, “I’ve tried numerous times. Honestly. But he’s the one with the power and money and connections. He says to everyone that she’s mentally ill too. She isn’t. Christina is gifted. Her art work is breath-taking.”
“Is there anyway you can get her full-time?” Mom asked.
She shook her head, “I have a good lawyer helping me. But so far I only get her for the summers, every other Christmas, and when ever her father leaves and doesn’t want her for a while.”
“That’s horrible.” Mom told her.
“The one bright side is that she’s coming at the end of the week and staying until the end of the summer.” Marria continued, “He’s leaving for a trip and can’t take her with him.”
“One good thing to come from this is that David doesn’t care enough about Christina to keep her in his sights all the time.” Dad told her.
“I suppose.” She said.
“Maybe Christina and Alex could have a play date when she comes.” Mom said.
I froze eating my dessert. Not a chance in hell I was going to be playing with a little abused girl who’s covered in bruises, when I could be at the park playing baseball or something with my friends.
“That sounds like an amazing idea.” Marria said.
“I’m not playin’ with her.” I told them not looking up from my cake.
“What was that Alex?” My dad almost demanded.
“I’m not playing dress up with a little girl.” I told him trying to be respectful, “She’s not even my age.”
“Christina’s only a year younger than you are Alex.” Marria told me, “But her birthday is in September. So she’s not five yet. And if I may tell you, her favorite games consist of chess and make-believe war games. Where you run around shooting each other.”
“Alex,” Dad said to me, “You don’t have to become best friends with Christina, but you need to at least be nice to the girl.”
I couldn’t fall asleep that night. Why do I need to be nice to a girl? Why do I need to play with one? I was dreading the end of the week, and the summer.
Father drove me to mama’s new house. When I stepped out, it was a decent sized house. Light yellow, lot’s of windows, so there was lots of light. I nice garden, a small porch. It had a homey feel that was lacking at Father’s house.
“Here.” He said roughly and dumped my bags on the sidewalk.
“Thank you, sir.” I said quietly as he started away.
I threw my backpack over my shoulder and rolled my suite case over to the porch and up the steps. Mama was at the doorway as I came up the stairs.
She smiled warmly and wrapped me in a motherly hug. I missed her so much. But I knew why she left, and what was going on. I knew, and I wanted to be with my mama, not my father.
“I’ve missed you honey.” She told me.
“I’ve missed you too mama.” I told her.
She took my hand and suite case and brought me inside.
“Do you like it?” She asked, “I got it because it had a nice kitchen, I figured the basement we could turn into a playroom for you. Your room’s upstairs, I painted it lavender for you. I set it up too. Once your settled in come outside and see the back yard, it’s beautiful. Christina, are you hurt anywhere?” She said all at once.
“I love it mama. Thank you. And I’m fine, he didn’t mark me up very much this time.” I told her with a reassuring smile.
“Are you hungry?” She asked calm now.
“A little.” I told her.
“I’ll make you something. Your room’s upstairs, down the hall on your right, third door on your left.” She told me and kissed my temple.
I smiled as she disappeared into the kitchen. I went up the stairs and followed her directions.
My room was a lavender colour, white trim. I had a double bed with light blue checkered sheets and comforter. A small desk in front of the window, white, lacy curtains on it. There were two doors in my room. I opened the first and saw that it was a large walk in closet. I put my suite case and back pack in there and left the door open as I left and opened the other door. It was my own personal bathroom. A large soalker tub with move able shower head. Toilet, and a sink with lots of counter space and cabinets underneath. The walls were pale blue.
I loved my room. I went back to the closet and started to unpack. When I was happy with the placement of everything I left and closed the door behind me. Mama had set up a bookshelf with some books and pictures. I wanted to be just like her. A brave solider with honor.
I opened the curtains to see what my view was like. I think it was a bad idea. When I pulled them apart a blond haired boy was sitting at his desk, which was right in front of his window, staring out the window. And now at me. We held a staring contest for a minute or two before I was broken from the trance of his blue eyes by mama calling me. I closed the curtains and went back downstairs.
I was sitting in my desk trying to come up with an illness or something that would make my parents not play with a girl. I was staring straight ahead, just thinking.
Then out of no where a little girl opened the curtains of the window parallel to mine. We held a staring contest for a moment. I was captivated by her hypnotizing green eyes. She closed the curtains and I guess she left. I think that was Marria’s daughter. I wasn’t sure. But she did have the same brown hair as she did, but her eyes. They were completely different.
Maybe she inherited her father’s eyes. No, it wasn’t the colour of the eyes that threw me off. It was what they showed. She was so sad, like she was abused. Like she’d never be happy in a million years. I wondered what man could do something so bad to a little girl that makes her look like that.
I happily ate my cut green apple, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and glass of chocolate milk. My mother wasn’t the best cook in the world. In fact, she can’t really cook at all. In the army she was a field doctor. I never had a nac for medicine. But she made a good sandwich.
“Honey, I have something I want to tell you.” She said, I looked at her my mouth full, “I have an old friend who lives next door. He has a son. And what we were thinking is maybe you and him could play together tomorrow. Does that sound good?”
I thought for a second. It couldn’t be that bad.
“That’s great, honey.” She told me, “Really.”
It was the day after she came. My parents told me to be nice and well-behaved. Also to be gentle. ‘Girls are fragile’, that’s what my mom told be as the door rang. My older sister already left.
“Hello Marria.” My dad said, “And this lovely young lady must be Christina.”
“Hello, John.” Marria said, “Thank you for doing this.”
“No problem, please come in.” He said.
A moment later Marria was standing in our living room with the same girl from the other day hiding behind her leg.
“Alex, Cassie.” She began, trying to get the girl to move forward, “This is Christina.”
“Hello their honey.” My mother said extending her hand to her.
Christina just hid a little more behind her mother. Mom took her hand back and pushed me forward a little.
“Christina, this is my son, Alex.” She told them.
I looked right at her. Our eyes locked again in a staring contest. My blue eyes staring into her sad green ones, and her green ones staring into my determined blue ones. We were brought out of this by my dad.
“Looks like Alex and Christina are hitting it off.”
Our mothers laughed, I made a face, and Christina hid again.
“Why don’t you two go up to Alex’s room?” My mom said, more as an order then a suggestion.
I motioned for her to follow me and she did. I closed the door behind her. I sat on my bed and she sat on the floor next to my bed. She took out this string thing and started wrapping it around her fingers to create shapes.
“What are you doing?” I asked her.
She looked up at me and replied meekly, “Cat’s cradle.”
I nodded. We sat in silence for a while. She continued with her little game.
“Why aren’t you wearing a dress like most girls?” I asked realizing now that she was wearing worn out jeans and a grey sweat shirt that was way too big for her.
She looked at me again and swallowed before saying with a shaking voice, “Why would I want to wear a dress when I have a perfectly good pair of jeans?”
“Your weird.” I told her.
“I know.” She replied so quietly I almost didn’t hear her.
“Anything you want to do?” I asked. I don’t know why but I felt this need to stop the silence.
She shook her head, “Anything you would like to do?”
“You’re the guest,” I told her, “Your choice.”
“I’m okay with whatever.” She said and shrugged.
“Tell me something about yourself.” I said as I laid down on my bed.
“What do you want to know?” She asked sounding defensive.
“Anything you want to tell.” I told her.
“My favorite colour is purple. What about you?”
“I like green. Anything else.”
“I like fries. You?”
“Pizza. What do you hate?”
“Clowns.” She said plainly.
“Clowns?” I asked sitting up in disbelief. Christina nodded.
“They’re evil.” She said, “What about you, what do you hate?”
“Asparagus. Anything else.”
“I love the winter.”
“Really?” She nodded, “I like the spring.”
“Why spring?” She asked.
“It’s fresh, it’s new. It’s pretty. Why winter?”
“A white blanket of snow covers everything. Everything is white and clean, the air is still. Looking out the window, the world looks so peaceful. And the the chill of the wind it’s refreshing.”
“I never thought about it like that.” I said, “What’s your favorite hobby?”
“If you don’t mind me asking, why do you want to know?” She asked looking at my rug.
“I just don’t like the weird silence that’s between us. I figured questions could help.” I told her.
“I appreciate your gesture to try and get to know me a little because our parents are forcing us to play together. Honestly. Not a lot of people talk to me, or even look at me. But I think it’s best we remain as we were before.” She told me.
“Why?” I asked her, “Everyone needs a friend.”
She looked at me. Her eyes were so cold, so emotionless, so empty, I was almost lost in them again.
“I’m abused at home.” She said staring me dead in the eye not flinching at all, “No one wants to associate with me once they see a couple of bruises and a busted lip. No one wants to talk to you when you’re a girl but you act like a boy. And why would I want a friend when my father got so drunk one night, that he burst into my room smacked me around so hard there are dents in my walls. And ripped to pieces the only thing I considered my friend. I can’t risk having a person as a friend when I couldn’t protect a toy.”
I just sat there staring at her for a minute. She didn’t look away. She didn’t flinch. But instead she let me look deep into her eyes and see all the pain and suffering and hate she had. I couldn’t understand how so much negativity could exist in one person. Let alone one little girl.
Christina looked away and continued with her cat’s-cradle. I just kept looking at the back of her head. There was no way that she could be going through this.
I was up in Alex’s room for about an hour or so before we were called downstairs by Mr. Dwyer. I stood up and Alex followed. He led the way down stairs and I followed silently.
“Are you two having fun?” Mrs. Dwyer asked.
Alex glanced at me for a second then shrugged. I just stood there.
“Why don’t you two go outside and play?” Mr. Dywer suggested.
We both shrugged and walked outside. There wasn’t much to do in his room anyway.
I sat in a corner on the porch and continued with my game. Alex walked around a little like he was pacing. Then he sat down and stared at me again. I was aware of it the first time around. I just didn’t want to say anything.
“Hey Alex!” Someone called.
Max, Nick, and Johnny came running up to me.
“Hey what’s up?” I asked when they reached the porch.
“They’re giving away free ice cream a couple blocks away! Come on man! If we don’t go now it’ll be all gone!” Nick said out of breath.
“Are you kidding that’s awesome!” I exclaimed as I started to run off the porch, “That’s amazing! We have to- I-I. I can’t.”
“What?” They all asked together.
“I can’t.” I told them again stuffing my hands in my pockets.
“Why?” Johnny asked.
I motioned over to Christina who was still in the corner. She looked like she never heard them in the first place.
“My parents want me to play with her. I can’t.” I said.
“Pick me up chocolate vanilla swirl cone if it’s not too much to ask.” I heard her say.
I turned to look at her. She looked over her shoulder at me.
“I won’t tell.” She said sincerely, “Go have fun with your friends.”
I looked at her a minute, ignoring my friends calling me. I bit my lip then lunged forward and grabbed her wrist hauling her up next to me.
“You’re coming too.” I told her and pulled her off the porch after me.
“Why?” She asked, “It’s okay.”
“Just come on.” I hissed and pulled her more.
“Alright.” She said as we were on the side-walk, “Just please, let go. It hurts.”
“Sorry.” I mumbled and let go of her wrist. I didn’t want to lose her so I kept holding on to her sleeve.
The guys were talking about the flavors they’d get. I wasn’t paying any attention. I think Christina was shaking. I grabbed her hand and held it as we crossed the streets. I don’t know why. But I felt like I had to. She wasn’t even five yet.
When we got there it was swamped. We managed to push our way inside.
“What flavor did you want?” I asked her.
“What flavor did you want?” Alex asked me.
“Chocolate and vanilla swirl please.” I replied.
One of his friends loudly announced;
“I’ll have four double chocolate chips, three bubble gums, five mint chocolate chips, one cookie dough, and two chocolate vanilla swirls!”
The lady behind the counter rolled her eyes but filled it anyway.
A mint chocolate chip and a chocolate and vanilla swirl was pushed into my hands. Alex motioned for me to follow him. I did as best I could.
When I got outside they were sitting on a bench eating their ice cream.
“Thank you.” I told them.
“No problem.” They replied mouths full of ice cream.
I licked mine slowly. I almost never got it. And if felt really nice on my swelling cheek.
“Something wrong with her?” One of the guys asked.
“Not sure.” Alex told them.
“You gonna eat that?” Another asked pointing to my untouched mint chocolate chip cone.
I held it out to him and he excepted it greatfuly.
“So who is this girl anyway?” Nick asked a little discussed.
“Daughter of a friend of my dad’s that moved in next door.” I told him, “She isn’t really a problem. She doesn’t really say much. A little weird. But I guess it’s to be expected.”
“She is a girl.” Johnny said after finishing the ice cream Christina gave him.
“Do you guys think it’s okay to be talking about her like that when she’s right there?” Max asked bringing up a good point.
I shrugged, “Doubt it.”
Then I turned to Christina and asked, “Does what we’re saying bother you?”
She looked at me a second and replied, “It’s your conversation, I have no part in it unless you ask my opinion. What you’re saying doesn’t concern me, because it’s not for me to decide. You’re the ones talking amongst yourselves, you’re not talking to me.”
And then she went back to her ice cream.
I looked back at the guys and shrugged.
Times skip three weeks—->>>>>
I was playing base-ball with Max, Nick, and Johnny. My parents and Marria asked if I could take Christina to the park. I held her hand the entire way here and walked her to the place she wanted to start at.
I don’t know why, but I’m starting to look at her like she’s my little sister now. The night after we went to get ice cream, we were going to bed at the same time. I picked up a note pad and a marker and wrote on it ‘sweet dreams’, she smiled slightly but sadly. Then she wrote on another pad she had and it read, ‘you 2 goodnight’.
After that I felt like I had to look out for her. I got her to play with me a little but not a lot. She was abused and was scared to get close to me after all. I couldn’t really blame her. I left her at the swing set where she wanted to be. Told her where I was going to be.
She’s a real sweet girl get to know her. Smart too.
I was pitching when I heard a few kids run towards the play ground area. I stopped one that was running by me.
“What’s goin’ on?” I asked.
“The neighbourhood bully, Tommy.” He said, “Him and his gang are in a fight with someone by the swings.”
I froze for a second. There wasn’t a chance. No they wouldn’t.
I took off running as fast as my legs could carry me to the swings.
When I got there was a large crowd around the fight. I had to push my way through. And I was amazed by what I saw.
Sweet little Christina, quiet, innocent, smart. Abused to the point where she can’t hurt a fly. Was beating the living shit out of the toughest guy in the neighbourhood right now.
Tommy Williamson, was ten. Four years older than I am. And then a little girl, who’s six years younger than him has successfully knocked his front teeth out.
One came up behind her ans she whirled around and got him so bad in the stomach he fell to the ground.
All of them got up and took off running. Christina didn’t have a scratch on her. She was a little dirty, but she was fine.
“Are you okay?” I asked scurrying up to her and quickly checking her over.
“I’m fine don’t worry.” She told me smiling. Well her mouth didn’t move from neutral, but her eyes showed a lot of happiness.
“You sure?” I asked.
“Alex!” The guys cried behind me finally catching up. I was a pretty fast runner push comes to shove.
“Yeah?” I asked looking over my shoulder.
“Was, was she-. Did she?” Max struggled to ask.
“He came over here telling me to get off, and tell him his name and everything. I refused and he got mad. I decided it was best for me to teach him and his friends a few manors.” Christina said unfazed.
“What the hell are you?” Johnny asked.
“Pardon?” She asked.
“What the hell are you?” Johnny repeated, “Your four, your abused, and you’re a little girl! What the hell are you that fights, that wears jeans, that never says anything, and that is too freaking polite?”
He was starting to get mad.
“I am Christina May Rose Ebenthein.” She told them, “I’m one of a kind. And I apologize that you do not like me. But if you’d prefer me to die or disappear, then I’m afraid that you’ll have to take a number and get in line.”
Was this her way of being mouthy? I asked myself. Sure sounds like it from her.
“Go to hell.” Nick said.
“Come on Alex.” Max told me.
They turned and walked away but stopped and turned back.
“Come on Alex.” Max repeated annoyed.
I didn’t move.
“So, what?” Nick asked, “Your going to stay with that thing, over your friends?”
I still didn’t move but I did say, “If you guys were really my friends you’d understand why I want to keep Christian around.”
“It’s either her or us man.” Max said.
I looked at them then at Christina. Her eyes were mostly blank but I could see some anticipation in the wanting to know who I’d choose.
I looked back at my friends. The crowd had long since left.
“Come on.” I said, “Let’s go get a soda.”
I turned around and gently grabbed Christina’s hand and lead her away.
If they didn’t want to be near Christina then that was their problem. Not mine. I would keep her safe and be her only friend then. I’d do anything for her now.
Time Skip One Year—–»»»»»»
I was sitting on the front steps waiting for Christina to be dropped off. Her father was doing it again. But on the bright side, I got to see her again.
Over the summer her and I became extremely good friends. She’s really nice, and smart, and sweet, and funny, and everything. She’s like the little sister I never had. I even got her to smile, better than that I think I’m the only one who can make her laugh. I still the hurt and sadness in her eyes though. I try to keep that away by keeping her intreaged and happy.
“She’s not gonna come any faster by you watching the road.” My sister Tracey said to me.
“What do you know?” I hissed to her.
“That someone broke the window to old man’s Ingburg’s place.” She teased.
“And I know that someone has been sneaking out in the middle of the night to go and make out with her boyfriend.” I retorted.
She sneered at me and walked inside. It was way too hot for her. Figures.
I found it amusing that even though we were raised to be proper and lady or gentlemen-like, she was still a slut. If dad ever saw what she really wears to school or out with friends, he would kill her. His little special girl. He would kill.
See, she does her own laundry. So that’s part of the reason why no one has found out yet. She wears mini skirts or short-shorts under her decent lengthen skirt, and a tight shirt or one that’s too revealing under her blouse. It made me sick to know that was my sister. Christina thought any girl who was like that was the most unholy thing that ever walked this earth next to the devil.
I saw a black corvet pull up to the side of the road. Christina got out, so did her father. I only knew what he looked like because of a picture that she had before she tore it up. She waited patiently by the side as he pulled out two suitcases and a back pack.
He said something to her and she nodded. He got back into the car and drove off. The second he was out of sight I was at her side.
“Hey Chrissy.” I said wrapping her in a hug.
“Hi Alex.” She said back.
“Want help?” I offered.
“If you wanna.” She said.
I picked up both of her suitcases and she carried her back pack.
“Why two this time?” I asked as we walked up the stairs to her front door.
She turned smiled at me and said, “I’m staying until after Christmas.” She squealed, “I’m going to go to school out here!”
“Really?” I asked. I couldn’t believe it.
She nodded, “Uh huh. He’s going on another business trip tomorrow and wont be back until the new year.”
“That’s awesome.” I told her.
“Hi honey.” Marria said as we came in.
“Hi mama.” She said and embraced her mom.
“Why don’t you go upstairs and get settled.” Marria suggested, “I’ll make lunch for you two.”
We both nodded and went upstairs to Christina’s room. Along the way I was telling her everything that we would do over the summer and the time she was here.
“We’re going to go fishing, and camping. My uncle owns a ranch just outside of town so we go horse back ridding and help out with animals. I remember you saying that you like them.” We got into her room, “My dad’s coming home so maybe he’ll tell us stories about where he was and how it was and everything. My mom’s also got a friend who owns a berry farm, and she said that if we help pick them then we get some for free. I know you like razzberries so I thought about you immediately. Isn’t it cool?”
I stopped realizing that she was still yet shaking.
“Chrisa, everything okay?” I asked like I was talking to an injured animal.
She turned around to face me and tears were streaming down her face. She lunged towards me and wrapped her arms around my waist.
“It hurts Alex.” She said sobbing into my chest, “It hurts.”
I wrapped my arms around her and stroked her hair.
“It’s okay honey.” I told her, “He’s not going to hurt you anymore. I promise. So long as your here, nothing will hurt you.”
We stayed like that for a while. Her crying. Me comforting her. When she calmed down enough she pulled away and wiped away her tears.
“Thank you.” She said quietly, “And Alex, please don’t tell mama about this.”
She put her suit cases in her closet claiming she’ll do it later. Then we went down stairs for lunch.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mutilated cut green apple, and milk. I prefered Marria’s sandwiches over my mom’s, but both me and Christina agreed my mom was the better cook.
While she tried to be that good mother, they ended up ordering in most nights.
When we were done we went outside to play.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you.” Alex told me.
“What?” I asked.
“This summer, my parents agreed with your mom that the fence should come down.”
“Really?” I asked.
“Yeah, then we’ll have a lot more room to play in and they say it’ll help our friendship.” He told me.
“Cool.” I told him, “Maybe we could use the wood to make a tree fort or something.” I suggested.
“That’d be really cool.” He said, “Let’s figure out which tree to make it in.”
We scrambled around both yards saying what was good and bad about each tree for the fort. We decided on the large oak that was in his yard but it’s branches reached out and brought shade to my yard. It was perfect.
Fast froward one year——>>>>>>
“I don’t know.”I told mama, “What if he’s just like father?”
“Honey.” Mama said, “I’m not going to do that to you again. He’s a very nice man. He’s actually the lawyer that’s helping me get you full-time and show everyone David isn’t a good father.”
“But what if it’s deja vu?” I asked her.
“We aren’t married.” She told me, “And I wouldn’t be introducing you if I had even the slightest thought that it might be.”
Mama just told me that she had a boyfriend and she wanted to introduce me to him. I haven’t really trusted any guys, Nother than Alex, because of my father. I hate him. And I’m always scared that it’ll be just like that again and again.
We pulled up to our house and got out. She helped me with my suitcases and unpacked for me as I sat on my bed. She was telling me about him.
“His name’s Michel.” She said, “He’s an amazing lawyer. He’s actually quite active. He enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, and he’s really handy around the house as well. I thought maybe he could help you and Alex build that tree house this summer.”
We couldn’t build the tree fort last summer because a lot of parts of the wood was rotting. So Mr. Dwyer said that he’d get some for us to build with next summer.
“He has a couple of friends that were in the war.” She continued, “In fact we have quite a few mutual friends from wars.”
I stared out my window. Alex wasn’t there. I still heard everything she said, but I didn’t really care.
“Alex met him.” Mama said. My head whipped around and I stared at her.
“He seems to like him.” She continued, “I asked him to talk to Michel to see if he thought you’d like him.”
She turned and looked at me.
“I’ve told him a lot about you, Christina.” She told me, “He really wants to meet you. And after I told him you were coming for the summer he’s even more dedicated to winning you full time. He knows your abused. And if he could I know he’d kill your father.”
I just stared at her. Why would she tell him about me? Why does he care so much about me even though we’ve never spoken a word?
Mama came over and sat next to me. She put her arm around me and said, “Michel is like your father, Christina. He can’t have children, and if can it’ll be hard. He came from an abusive house too. And he doesn’t want someone so sweet like yourself to go through wheat he did. Michel, he wants to be you father honey. He wants you to be his little girl.”
I looked down. No one’s ever wanted me, with the exception of Alex and mama. Why?
“Why?” I asked her.
“That your going to have to ask him yourself.” She said and kissed my forehead.
“Where’s Alex?” I asked.
“Oh,” She said in surprise, “He went with his mom and sister to the mall for some new cloths.”
Tracey was taking forever. I already had everything picked out. She spent so long. And I knew she was doing this just to bug me.
“I don’t like this skirt.” She complained.
“Then why did you pick it up?” I asked.
“It looked cuter on the hanger.” She said.
I rolled my eyes.
“What’s the matter Alex?” She teased, “Scared your not going to have enough time to spend with your girlfriend?”
“Yes, actually.” I hissed.
I had given up long ago about arguing with her that Christina wasn’t my girlfriend. She was a girl and she was my friend. I guess she is then.
“Oh, my that’s right.” Mom said, “Christina’s coming home today isn’t she?”
“Tracey honey, please hurry up.” She encuraged.
“But mom there isn’t anything I like.” She told her.
“Then we’ll have to come back another day.” She told her, “Come on. Unless you like something, we’re leaving.”
She huffed. She knew she was defeated. She never really liked Christina, I didn’t know why though.
The check out line and the drive home seemed to take forever. Finally we were home. I jumped out of the car and was about to rush up to Christina’s room knowing she’d be there when I was stopped.
“Alex, take your cloths up to your room, put them away, then you can play with Christina.” My mom said.
I grumbled as I picked out a few bags from the trunk, brought them inside, sorted out my cloths from the few that Tracey picked out, brought them upstairs to my room, folded and neatly put them away. When I closed my drawer for the last time I took off running down stairs. I yelled to my mom:
“I’m going to see Christina, be back later.” I said quickly as I sprinted out the door and into the back yard.
She wasn’t there. So went up to the back door and opened it stepping in. We had this open door thing. We could walk in and yell ‘hi’ or whatever and it would be fine. But this was only in effect when Christina was here.
“Christina!” I called, “Marria? Anybody here?”
“Alex!” Christina yelled bounding down the stairs and ran to me.
“Hey, how are you?” I asked hugging her.
“Better. You?” She smiled brightly.
“Hi Alex.” Marria said joining us in the living room.
“Hi Marria.” I said.
“Come on.” Christina said pulling me downstairs to the basement.
We sorta helped turn it into a play room. It was really cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. We had a lot of sleep overs in here.
“Something wrong?” I asked.
“You met mama’s new boyfriend?” She asked concerned.
“Yeah I did.” I told her, “She wanted me to, too see if you’d like him. I really think you would given the chance.”
She shook her head.
“I know your scared, but he’s a really nice guy.” I told her.
“He’s nothing like your father Christina.” I told her, “He’s really nice. He’s smart, he has a lot of ways to have fun, and he can cook.”
She looked at me weird.
“Yeah I know. I did the same thing, but it’s true.” I told her, ” He’s a great guy. He’s fighting to have you here all the time.”
“I know.” She said solomly, “I just don’t think I can except it.”
“Why not?” I asked her.
She didn’t say anything. She just rolled up her sweatshirt sleeve past her elbow so I could see a bruise larger then an orange taking up most of her upper arm.
“Your dad?” I asked.
“He wont do anything like, Chrisa.” I told her, “You gotta believe me.”
Christina just looked down shifting from one foot to the other uncomfortably.
“If it’ll help,” I offered, “When you meet him I’ll be right next to you the entire time.”
She smiled and nodded. I think it was only ever me and her mom that could get her to do that.
Three days later—->>>
I was sitting at the kitchen table, Alex by my side. Michel was coming over for me to meet him.
As he promised, Alex was right next to me right now, and he would be until he left.
I faintly heard a car pull up and the slam of the door. Footsteps leading up to the front door. I had sensitive hearing, it was good when I had a father like mine. I could hear exactly where he is at all times. It was like my own adaptation.
The door bell rang, mama went to answer it. I held Alex’s hand under the table. I was starting to get the same feeling I get when my father is about to beat me again.
“Hello, Marria.” A gentle, yet aged, but kind vice said softly.
“Hello Michel.” Mama said, I heard them kiss, “Please come in. They’re in the kitchen.”
I heard foot steps and the door close. I gripped Alex’s hand tighter, he squeased back to reasure me.
“Hello Alex.” A man about fourty-ish said coming in. He had a weathered face and hands. He was dressed in kahki shorts and a hawiian shirt. Everything about him said kind, strong, and reliable. And then there was this air about him I felt when he came in the room, I couldn’t put my finger on what. But I liked it. I never felt it at my father’s house.
“And this lovely young lady must be, Christina am I correct?” He asked politely.
“It’s nice to see you again, Michel.” Alex said.
“Please Michel sit down.” Mama said coming into the room, “Can I get you anything?”
“Just some lemonade please.” He said.
“And for you two?” She asked.
“Lemonade please.” We said together.
She smiled and got out a couple of glasses.
“You’re just like your mother described, Christina.” He said.
I leaned back into my chair a little more.
“She also told about your lack of trust in everyone.” He told me, “I understand you being uncomfortable with me. And I know your mother has tried to express my good qualities, and tell you how I will never harm you like your father.”
“She also said that you came from a home like me.” I said quietly.
Mama set the lemonade in front of us.
He nodded, “The only thing is that it was both of my parents who abused me. And now I specalize in cases like yours.”
“Mentally ill children needing to be kept with one parent the majority of the time because the other parent is ‘unfit’ to take care of the child’s special needs, and is now abused and nothing can be done about it because he can just say I did it to myself?” I asked seriusly.
“No quite.” He said trying not to laugh.
“Mike, she’s seriuse.” Alex told him.
“Your mother never mentioned that.” He said.
“I’m not, but she’s also purtrayed as mental too because she was field doctor way back when.” I said.
“That I am awear of.” He said, “Your mother also said you wanted to be a solider when your older.”
“That’s a very nice career path.” He said, “I have a quite a few friends who pursued that.”
This was starting to get awkward.
“How close are you to getting me home full time?” I asked out of the blue.
“Pardon?” He asked.
“How. Close. Are. You. To. Getting. Me. Home. Full. Time.?” I repeated slower and louder.
“I’m quite close.” He said, “I just a witness or true evidence that shows your father isn’t suitable to have you.”
I blinked and pulled up my t-shirt sleeve to reveal the bruise I had showed Alex the other day.
“He gave me that just before mama came to get me.” I told him.
He smiled and nodded. I knew what he was thinking. And I started to trust him a little.
Fast forward two years —->>>>
I was trying not to cry as my father flew down the road to drop me off. He was verbaly abusing me right now. He was finished with smacking me around, throwing me against things, punching and kicking me.
He roughly pulled up to the side of the house. He opened my door and threw me out. He had already gotten my bags for me, he was beyond pissed.
“Bitch.” He hissed as he kicked me one more time and drove off.
I tried to stand up with little luck. Alex, was at a school camp for a couple more days. I was in too much pain to care right now.
“Christina?” Michel exclaimed coming out.
He ran over to me and brought me into a hug.
“Shuu,” He cooed, “It’s alright.” He said rubbing my back trying to comfort me.
“He isn’t going to hurt you anymore, Christina.” He told me.
“Daddy.” I croaked out.
He just looked at me.
“Daddy.” I repeated.
“It’s alright honey.” He told me, “Daddy’s here.”
He carried me in and sat me on the couch. Making sure I was alright until mama got home. When she did, she first off had a freak out attack running around wondering what to do. Then she finally calmed down enough to look me over.
She bathed me, put medicen on the cuts and bruises that I had. She had me take some orally in case I had some internal bleeding or something. Put me to bed, and said that in the morning she’d take me to the doctor.
When I woke up the next morning I felt awful. It hurt to move. I began to cry again. It hurt too much. I couldn’t stop crying.
Michel came into my room a little while after I woke up.
“How are you feeling, Christina?” He asked gingerly.
“It hurts.” I sobbed.
“It’s alright.” He said, “We’re going to take you to see the doctor today.”
I sniffed but nodded.
“Do you want me to get your mother?” He asked.
I shook my head.
“Would you mind if I ask you something, Christina?” He asked.
I shrugged but them whinnced in pain.
“Did you mean what you said to me yesterday?” He asked, “When you called me ‘Daddy’?”
“Do you not want me to?” I asked him trying not to cry anymore.
“I would be honnored if you did.” He said and oh so gently wiped away my tears.
“I’m going to tell your mom your awake, alright.” He said.
I nodded, and he left.
I looked through the white lacey curtains that hung over my window. Alex still wasn’t here yet. Tomorrow afternoon some time he would be. I just hope that I’d be okay by then.
Mama came in and checked a few things. Then she got me dressed and we left.
I was on the bus ride home from camp. I didn’t know why Christina didn’t want to go. She got to skip a grade so she’s with me. But I couldn’t force her. I knew she was home for a couple days before I came home. But I wanted to surprise her. I made her an anklet while I was there.
We were working on makromay and beading and knots and stuff. I practiced a lot and finally made a beaded makromay strand that I tied with a friendship knot.
I was cradling it in my hands the entire way home. I couldn’t wait to see her face when I gave it to her.
When I got off the bus my mom came running up to me.
“Alex it’s horrible.” Was her first words to me.
“What is?” I asked. By the look on her face she was scared.
She took my hand and pulled me to the car.
“Christina.” She began as my dad was throwing my bag into the trunk, “When she came home the other day, it turns out that her father beat her savagley before dropping her off.”
She put me in the back seat and got in the passenger side. Dad was already to go and started the car as soon as the door was shut.
“Marria and Michel brought her to the hospital and it turns out she has so much internal bleeding.” She was trying to to cry. As this explanation progressed my heart kept falling. Christina was my best friend. She never judged, she was always polite, she was smart, so sweet. How her father could do something like that.
“They had to give her a couple operations to stop the bleeding.” Mom continued, “Right now she’s in recovery. But we don’t know.”
That’s when I got scared. You don’t know? Meaning,
“What’s going to happen to Christina?” I croaked trying not to cry.
“We don’t know son.” My dad told me, “The thing is Christina’s a lot smaller then a seven year old girl should be. Acording to the doctors there was so much blood that poured into her body. The medicen that her mom gave her helped slow it down a little. But as of right now she’s recovering. The doctor’s say it doesn’t look too good.”
Silent tears started to fall from my eyes.
“That’s not possible.” I croaked, my voice way cracking as I remembered that bubbly, happy, sweet, and energetice seven year old I called my best friend. She was strong. She always said it hurt, but when ever she cried it was never for long. She was so strong.
“Did I raise a man or did I raise a wimp?” My dad asked, “Wipe those tears away son. She would want you to cry for her.”
He was right. But I couldn’t help it. I wiped them away regardless. The doctors said that’s what it looks like. They don’t know her. She’s going to make it.
“She’s going to make it.” I repeated out loud to reasure myself.
When we got to the hospital we were aloud right in. I almost died seeing her like that.
She was hooked up to everything. A heart monitor, and iv, a breathing thing, everything. I think I just glided across the floor over to her bed side. I don’t remember moving from my spot from in between my parents. But the next thing I knew I was her side holding her hand.
“Your gonna be okay, Christa.” I told her, “You have to be. We got plans. We’re going to go to school when we’re twelve to become soldiers like our parents. We-we’re going to become lutenints, captains, majors, or colonels even. We’re gonna grow up and get married. Have kids, name each other the God parents. You still got life, Christa. You can’t die, and you wont. You-you gotta prove to you father that no matter what he does to you he can’t hurt you. This isn’t gonna keep you down long, Chris. It can’t. I can’t live without you, Chris. Your my best friend. What am I supposed to do?”
“Stop crying like a little girl, for starters.”
I heard Alex telling me why I can’t die, what I still have to live for. And what we was supposed to do with out me.
“Stop crying like a little girl, for starters.” I said.
I slowly opened my eyes to see him staring at me with tears in his eyes.
“I’m not gonna die yet, my friend.”I asured him, “You even said it yourself, I got too much a head of me not to keep going forward now.”
“Your okay?” He asked.
“I can’t feel anything.” I told him.
“D-does that m-mean your a vegetable?” He asked like he was going to cry again.
I shook my head, “I can fell everything, Alex.” I told him, “But I can’t feel the pain anymore.”
“What do you mean?” He asked.
“I can feel every part of my body. I can feel your hand in mine.” I explained, “But I can’t feel the pain that I was in when my father dropped me off.”
“But your okay?” He asked again.
“I think so.” I told him smiling.
He smiled back a little hesitently.
I was telling the truth. I can’t feel any pain right now. It might be the anastisia though.
The doctor came in with mama and Daddy and told everyone what was wrong.
It would be a mirricla if I ever felt anything again. I was perfectly healthy though. The only thing that would be noticable would be the extreamly faint lines that covered my body. He said that that was my nervuse system. It aparently, after years of so much pain, imploded then expanded. And somehow, although faint, they became pressed right up against my skin. He said I’d have it forever.
I had to stay here a week or so but then I’d be fine. I was a little sad. I’d have to be quarenteaned for about a week. Then I’d have to take it easy.
So this summer was basicely thrown.
Time Skip five years—>>>
We were in our tree fort talking. We were going to be attending Bunker Hill Acadamey at the end of the summer. We were on our way to becoming soldiers. Daddy somehow managed to make my father pull a few strings so I could attend as well. It just meant that My tuition was about twice as high.
“Are you sure we should do this?” I asked for the thousandth time.
“It might be the only way.” Alex said.
“This is our promise,” I started.
“No matter what happens throughout our years that the Acadimey” Alex continued.
“We will always be..”
“Best friends.” We finished together.
And with that we each took our left hand, that was now wet and sticky, and we shook hands.
Bunker Hill was ahead of us now. We have no idea what was to come from it. It might make our friendship stronger, it might test our bounderies, it might even make us fight. But we promised. We’d always be best friends.
As one single drop fell to the floor.