I curled up in a ball, in dirty clothes, with greasy hair.
" It's not worth getting my hopes up... No one will ever come for me."
I showered regardless.
The water didn't seem hot enough, but it was as hot as it could be. I stared down at the swirling drain and the stream of water trailing down my pale breast. I felt empty.
I can never seem to get dry enough when I get out of the shower. It troubled me but I did nothing. I dressed in comfortable clothes and tried not to see myself in the mirror.
I sat in the living room with my wallet and stared at the wall. After a while my mother came in and handed me some fried fish. She had been out with her boyfriend's ex-wife. She loudly proclaimed that she would've taken me with her if I had been ready. I think she was lying. She never takes me anywhere any more.
I watched television with her and my grandmother. They talked loudly about a movie they wanted to see. I didn't like the premise, but I said nothing.
After an hour, my mother said,
" Do you really think he's going to show up?"
Like it was an incredulous idea. I wanted to yell at her, to tell her that whatever ideas she had about my father were wrong, and that she shouldn't try to make me doubt him.
Instead I wordlessly stood and left the house. I sat on the porch and stared at the driveway
It didn't matter. It wouldn't hurt my feelings. He had work to do, so it was okay if he forgot about me. What kind of a seventeen year old girl sits around and watches her father work, anyway? But it's just a week into school. I haven't made friends yet.
I thought these thoughts, but my father showed up.
We returned some socks to an outlet store, traded them for a tee shirt.
Dad told me he hadn't eaten since that morning- he had a bowl of oatmeal. It was four.
I used money from the house I rented out to buy us food. Sandwich, quiche, cookie, marscapone. I threw away the receipt because I didn't want him to know I spent eighteen dollars. He gets upset about money.
We went and mowed the lot where Grandpa's house had burnt down. There were still trinkets strewn about in the grass. On the concrete sidewalk, I found a cheap butterfly eraser my grandma had bought for me in first grade. I had no pockets. I carried it in my hands.
The mower malfunctioned. While we waited for it to cool, I told him about my idea for a movie.
" It's about a robot, you know, a military robot. It's a really schlocky kind of seventies B-movie kind of deal. The scientists make this robot to kill people, but it turns out defective. They made it so it couldn't hate, so it wouldn't turn on its masters, but it ends up loving everyone instead, but they don't realize that, they just see how this robot has gone rogue. I think you could play like, the lead scientist, because you can do a really good villainous voice. We can use a montage of you mowing down the wildflowers here as the opening credits. It's symbolic, you know? Man fears that which he does not understand and destroys that which he fears."
Dad nodded thoughtfully and said that it might work out.
He went back to mowing. His drink got grass in it. I studied the bits of a broken plastic chandelier in the trailer.
" That was really pretty when I picked it up, but now it's busted up, it's fucking ruined," he said.
" We could still make it into earrings or the like," I said.
We got more drinks from the gas station before I went home.
We talked about fanfiction and the inherent wrongness of humanity.
" I got home Friday and I slept. The Wi-Fi and the cable cut out Saturday because of a thunderstorm, so I slept. There was nothing else to do."
" Recovering energy for the next week of school?"
" No, it wasn't that. I was tired, emotionally. I've only been there a week so I don't really know anyone yet, so I have no one to talk to. I end up looking up at the ceiling and thinking about how terrible the world is. Everyone I know is bitter and full of ugliness and disappointment. Anyone beautiful and noble with any hopes and dreams dies young before they can realize them. The world chews people up."
He agreed with me, with a quote: " Only the good die young."
I looked at the dilapidated buildings we passed.
" It's like what Vincent van Gogh said before he died, yeah?"
" Something about starry nights?"
" No, it was like... The sadness goes on forever. His last words."
" Oh, well, yeah, that's true, ain't it?"
" ... I wish I could travel back in time and hug him. He seemed like the kind of person who desperately needed a hug but never got one."
" Yeah, [deadname], you're right, you're absolutely right."
... Regardless, I can't help but feel all I'm good for is worrying my parents.