I used to find it strange when girls would say that their mother is their best friend – someone they can tell everything to, who is always there for them, who they want to share the most precious moments of their life with. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I was jealous…and an even longer time to realize I was also one of those girls.
“It hurts.” I said.
“I know, Pumpkin.” my mother replied.
“I don’t think I can make it.”
“You can make it.”
“How do you know?” I asked, tears falling from my eyes.
“Because you’re my daughter.” she said, kissing my forehead.
“Yes, Lauren, you are my daughter.”
Erin and I were attempting to pack our things amongst the smell of feces and cleaner battled for custody of the air.
“Lilo, are you sure living with Devin is the best thing? Don’t you think that’s a little much?”
“No,” I laughed, “listen I know you don’t like him but it’s because you don’t know him. He’s a really nice guy, Er. You should give him a chance.”
“It’s not that I don’t like him…it’s just, don’t you guys spend enough time together as it is?”
“Yeah, we spend a lot of time together. But we’re going to move in together after college anyway. Why wait?”
“I don’t know, Lilo…I just think it seems fast. Plus your parents haven’t even met him yet.”
“Well, I don’t need to run everything by my parents.”
“I just – I’m worried about you is all.” Erin sighed, shaking her head.
“Don’t be.” I said, hugging her. “I’ll be okay. I promise.”
I wouldn’t see Erin again for another two years.
After Devin had stormed out of the room, having left his mark in my thigh as food for thought, I scrolled through my contacts only to realize there was no one I could call. Not a single person was going to pick up the phone for me…and I couldn’t blame them.
And so, I dialed the one number I knew would always answer…
“Hello?” she was tired, possibly had been crying. Either that or she was asleep but her throat wasn’t gargled.
It astonished me how her voice made all the pain go away – the blood returned to me as the skin of my thigh patched itself together…like it was never there in the first place.
“Hello?” she was irritated now.
I opened my mouth to say the words but nothing came out. I wanted to tell her I missed her, that I think I made a mistake and I don’t know how to fix it. That I was sorry and I love her and I needed her. My voice cracked and I hit “mute”.
“Lauren…” she whispered. She was scared now. “Lauren! Lauren answer me! I love you. Lauren please…”
I couldn’t bear to hear her cry…or maybe I just couldn’t bear being the reason. And so, I hung up the phone and I cursed myself. More than I hated her calling my name I hated myself for not being able to tell her the truth – that I was wrong and not only did I want to be home, but I wanted my mother more than anything.
“I’m sorry.” I sobbed. “I’m so sorry, mom. P-please…please.”
“Shh,” my mother cooed, stroking my shoulder, “you’re safe now.”
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean it.”
“I know, baby girl. But you’re home now…and everything is going to be all right.”