As I looked in the mirror for the hundredth time to see if I could find out what all those students see that I don’t when looking at myself, I tried to see what fatal flaw that makes me an outcast among all those around me. But, again, all I could see was a female with deep, majestic purple eyes with flecks of turquoise, with long silken black hair, with just a bit of a wave to it. Also, I saw someone about five-foot six inches with a light cream skin tone, twenty-one years of age, and with a clear complexion. Some guys before they get too close to me seem to think I look pretty good, which is a little higher than I think of myself, with an especially strange mark on her left shoulder blade. I turned away a little disconcerted that I couldn’t find that glitch, if you will, that makes me different than all the rest of the people at my school, at my part time job, and in my “family”. The fact is they aren’t my real family.
I started downstairs in my usual drab clothing that my “mom and dad” truly hate, grabbed up my school bag and tried taking off before, “Catharine, are you leaving? When will you be back? Oh, are you really going to wear those ugly things? Why don’t you at least for once wear one of those nice dresses that I bought you or some of the cheerful, half way nice looking clothing you got last Christmas?” Susan inquired rather loudly; though, I know she was trying for calm and quiet, but it wasn’t working.
“It’s Catrine not Catharine. Why do you insist on calling me by a name that represents someone else when you address me? Why do we have to go through the same routine every morning, day after day, week after week, etc., etc., etc.,” I stated stonily in quiet exasperation. We went through this every morning without fail; no matter how early or late I happened to be running. In Susan’s eyes, I guess she seemed to think that if she didn’t relent, I might repent, turning into a “normal” adult.
Right now, in her mind, she was probably going through the she had made long ago of my personality traits. The list she also looked at every night without fail. It goes: “Her personality is fiery, yet calm, strong, yet in her own way acknowledges she can be defeated. She is kind, yet can be extremely cruel, respectful, and yet very disobedient. Catrine can be admirable, yet…” and the list goes on like that for a full page and a half.
“You don’t say good morning or anything, you just start right in. You have probably even forgotten that today is my birthday, haven’t you?” I questioned a bit harshly. She was too shocked to talk at first, both from the fact that I hadn’t stormed out of the house after my first sentence and in the fact that today was in fact my birthday and she had forgotten. Today, I would be moving out on my own, and Susan would probably hardly ever see me anymore. See, I had worked from the earliest age; that way I could ensure I would get what I wanted when I wanted it or if I had a need of something in the future. Since I had never touched the money in the bank, except for helping my “family,” I have no shortage of it.
I was wrenched from my thoughts with, “Oh, dear I’m sorry and today being your last day in this house…I…” Susan wept. “I can’t believe I was going to ruin your last memories of being in this house. I hope this place has given you at least a few good memories in the time you have stayed here!”
She then went into an extreme meltdown type of crying. So much so she couldn’t talk, even though I could see that Susan wanted dearly to go on. As much as I had never liked anything Susan had ever done when raising me, I felt for her in these the last moments, minutes I was here in this house, though I didn’t know how to show it and probably never would. I sat there trying to console her for she had been the one to take me in when even the sisters of St. Francis de Sales would not.
I pulled up short on my thoughts before they could run away with me and I would be lost. “I got to go now, but I’ll see you later when I come to move my belongings.” I crooned almost lovingly at this woman I hardly knew, who had raised me from the age of three. I had to leave not waiting or wanting to hear her response, not knowing or wanting to explore these feelings that had started to well up inside me. I made for the door slowly, so as not to upset Susan.
Before I could leave, I heard, “I hope I did right by you. Lord knows I tried very hard to give you what you needed to survive, Catrine. I just wish I could have done more. I tried though, right, and you’re not mad at me for not being everything you needed? And, don’t you say that I have, because I know that no matter how hard I tried you were always just a little bit out of my reach, weren’t you?” Susan faintly, almost inaudibly, asked.
“I have no grudge against you for you did try, unquestionably
“You are about to cry, Child. I can see it in your eyes,” Susan whispered gently, pulling a Kleenex from the box next to the recliner she had sat in since she had come downstairs. “Here dear, keep safe and come back as soon as you get off work, please?”
I accepted the Kleenex without complaint, and before walking out the door; I gave my nod of assent. I got in my dark-burgundy 66 Mustang and drove off to my last day of college, where I was working to get my Doctorate in history, literature, writing, and some others not worth mentioning.