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Be Free

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He never came by the house – if he had, I'd have met him. I wouldn't have had to piece things together from stories after she was gone. Maybe he knew what that would have have meant for mom, and instead he just happened to be places she was. He just happened to be in her memories, stirring up the could-have-beens. Holding open a portal to the past. No one wants to tell me his name.

She couldn’t have planned to go. She couldn't have dared, or dad would have known. But I know in my heart of hearts that she left because she wanted to. If the cops didn't believe that, they would still be out there looking, right? Dad hates the idea, but it's not the right kind of caring. He can't see past his salary dollars and the nice house she took care of for him. I guess that I'm taking care of now. He just keeps saying the same things over and over. He can't believe it. She wouldn't dare. She's really fucked herself now. She'll come crawling back any day. Or she's lying dead in a ditch somewhere, and has got what she deserved.

People think I should be mad. That she abandoned me. I feel…. well I do feel that. I've been crying a lot. It's hard, with the way dad is. I know he doesn't really mean it when he says it's my fault. I know it’s not. It's more about her than anything else. But it makes me wonder about things I never questioned before. How did they get together? How, and why, did they ever have me? Did they mean to? I don't think they did.

I still believe she loves me. I think that's why she couldn’t let herself think about it – she just had to seize the moment when she could. She had to leave it all behind for whatever this mystery man from the past had to offer. I miss her a lot, every day. But as upset as I am, I'm happy for her, too. She's out of here. She's free. Whether she makes anything of that is up to her. I think even if she didn't, that it would be worth it. Just that moment of saying 'okay' and then everything changes – that's worth something.

It was worth something to her. It's worth something to me too. She's my mother. She's allowed to be a role model. And I don't need a mysterious stranger to show me a path to freedom. I've had someone better.