When I was younger I saw, my Daddy leave.
He packed up his things, and walked out the door.
He told us it was for the better, that one day I would thank him even.
That was a lie.
Since I was 9 when he left, nothing has gone the way it's supposed to. I know there isn't exactly a guideline for how a life is supposed to be lived, but I know for a fact this isn't how I'm supposed to be living.
I had to grow up pretty fast. I had to miss birthday parties, graduations, summer fun. All to take care of my younger brother and sister, the twins. They were born shortly before Dad left, though leaving his only a few month old children meant nothing to him, but I try not to let that bother me.
I've also had to take care of our Mom. She has practically lost her marbles since Dad left, and I've had to carry our family's very heavy weight on my small, weak shoulders.
I've had a job since I was 12, which is only 4 almost 5 years, but even so. That's a lot to ask of a 12 year old.
I gave up my life, and my free time to make sure our family had food, and the necessities a household should just be given as a human right. I've never gotten to go to parties or spend any time in extracurricular activites. I've never had time to plan any bits of my future, such as going to college or making sure my dreams come true. It's always been about Maddy and Jack, the twins. They're 7 years old now, and they have it much easier than I did when I was close to that age.
At 10, I was searching out small Ohio town for jobs, hoping someone would hire me. Of course, being only 10 years old, no one cared. No gave a damn as I pleaded with them to just let me sweep the floor for $15, and I'd leave. They would toss me out on my butt, and tell me to wait until Christmas for the My Little Pony toy I wanted. Little did they know, all I really wanted was my family to fuse together, and be okay again. Not some silly toy.
I went years without brand new clothes, or anything considered cool for that matter so my siblings could. Of course, not having name brand clothing or a perfect show dog meant teasing. I could take that, always could handle words, but I didn't want the twins to go through that so that I could be happy, Dad wouldn't have wanted me to be so selfish.
A few months ago was the begging of summer vacation. While most of the Ohio teens went to the beach, and to the fair grounds, and I bit my tongue and went into work. Most kids have summer jobs, but only summer jobs, but I have jobs all year round. Summer just means more time to work, which means two jobs.
I work at an ice cream shop year round. It sucks the most in the winter when there are barely any customers and the shop is colder than the weather outside. During the summer though, its filled with sweaty, sticky, stinky, cranky children and adult praying for a little slice of the coldness that my freezing fingers can supply them with.
During the summer, aside form the ice cream shop, I work at a summer camp. Its a musical summer camp. I've always loved to sing, and I've been told I'm good at it. I've never believed them, but when I was accepted as a counselor here, I began to have some faith.
I work with the kids around the twins age, and help them with their singing and dancing. At the end of each summer I'm exhausted and feel like I earned 15-25 new siblings, and cant help but hope they have wonderful lives, which are hopefully the complete opposite of mine. Camp was better this summer, it helped me ease into moving to a new town.
In June, Mom was offered a job. Surprising to me, and all the other people in our apartment building. In fact, when we moved out they thought we were being evicted. We moved to Lima for Mom's new job. She even managed to get us a small house, something I've never had. Mom works at a coffee shop. She told us she was being recruited across the state for a big job, surprisingly I wasn't very shocked to find out I was getting payed better than she was, and was thankful both the camp and the ice cream shop were in between the two towns perfectly.
I wipe the sweat from my forehead, as I lock the door to the back of the ice cream shop. I walk to my clunker of a car, and then switch keys. I turn the key in the ignition. I start down the road towards our drab green ranch house. Its in the outskirts of town, not the best area for the twins to play in the street like kids, but we were looking on the happy side that we at least had a house now.
I park in our small driveway, next to my fathers old car that my Mom adopted for herself. I reach over grabbing my bag, not excited for the first day of school tomorrow and the major cut in may from the ice cream shops hours. I drop my bag in my small bedroom, which is really more comparable to a large closet. You have to walk through the twins bedroom, and into the closet then up a few steps and its my room.
Of course, Mom didn't think of giving her working child a nice room, she gave it to herself. The woman who worked five hours a day, three days a week. The upside to my small closet, is it has its own bathroom, but to be honest, thats the only upside.
I take a fast shower, thoroughly washing my long wavy dark brown, almost black hair. I make sure all the small amount of makeup I wear, is removed, and head back to the closet. I pick through my drawers and pull out the best outfit I can manage for a first day.
I slip out of the closet room, and make sure the twins are tucked in and sleeping, kissing the top of each of their heads, then laying clothes out for them. Fresh, new, top of the line clothing for their first day, while I wear clothing from a resale shop.
I go back into my closet room, trying to fall asleep with happy thoughts. Not the thoughts of falling for a boy, which I vowed never to do, not wanting it to end up like my parents, to have him rip my heart out. Or being put at the bottom, again. Or being picked on, shunned. As always, trying to think of the positive slipped through my fingers, as I dreamt of the worst possible scenarios.