A few months ago when I officially delurked, i promised stories. I’ve been busy, but have finally had the time to start this. I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be taking this, or if anyone will even find it worth my continuing. I will gladly and humbly accept any reasonable criticisms, and welcome the chance to grow as a writer. Any feedback at all is appreciated.
The events of at least the first couple parts of this story are based closely on my own coming of age… however, some stuff has been changed. i truly did shred my relationship with my parents and get emancipated, and infantilism was at the heart of the rift. My sister truly did get diagnosed with cancer, however she in real life survived and is in full remission. Many of the actions taken and emotions the protagonist feels are taken from my own experience, but some material was changed greatly to suit a more interesting narrative. Without further ado, lets get to the story, I’ve got a 1,000 word appetizer for you all to consider.
Empty: A coming of age story
Chapter one: Ghosts from the past
Moving to California: three simple words. They are words that should be exciting to any young adult making their way in the world. Yet when I mulled over them, she just felt empty. Sun, beaches, palm trees, and despair. Simply put, those three words meant I no longer had a family. At age 17, I was going into my last semester of high school. I had a couple friends, despite never being popular or even very sociable, generous scholarships for college the next fall, and a nice house to live in… well, had a house, anyhow. When this emancipation trial wraps up, I won’t be able to say that.
I am on the tail end of the judge’s docket today, so I have to sit in the family court while a handful of others argue over petty bullshit… I mean, who gives a fuck about who gets custody of the kid when they are out trick or treating? I sit on the sparsely padded benches of the courtroom, next to my parents for one last time before we move apart forever. As if we didn’t finish that spiral of mutual loathing weeks ago.
As we sit awkwardly through hearing after hearing, the distance between us is painfully apparent. I sit well clear of them, alone with my thoughts, while they occasionally shoot resentful glares my way. I wish I could say I was mature enough not to reciprocate, but that would be a blatant lie. Finally, my case comes up, and I hear the clerk call out my name.
“Katie Everett, please take the stand.”
A slight tremble in my step, I nonetheless walk up to stand with my head held high, trying to convey a confidence I certainly don’t feel. I set down the folder with my meager notes in it, a far cry from the lawyers who came through earlier with 3 inch binders full of pedantic details. As the judge addresses me, I look up at him… an older gentleman, with graying hair and piercing blue eyes, the sort of eyes that stare right through you and seem to read your mind. He looks down on me with contempt, already filing me away as another miscreant who wants to party without their parents ‘ruining their life’. Through the brief trial, he would only humor my plea when it was clear my parents wanted me gone as much as I wanted to leave. There’s nothing like mutually assured distaste to sway a critical judge’s frozen heart, and an excess of the aforementioned among me and my family.
After the trial, I stand in line at the DOL getting my new ID. More waiting around for the magnificent beast called bureaucracy to chew me up and spit me out. The clerk sitting at the desk to process me looks bored like only a day of sitting in one place asking the same questions over and over can make someone. She asks the usual questions, and I give the usual answers.
“Five feet, three inches.”
“Alright, just one more question. Are you interested in being an organ donor?”
“Sorry, but no.”
I couldn’t help but feel a bit selfish refusing the last one, but if there’s even a seed of truth in paramedics not saving organ donors I want no part in it.
“Ok, please step over to the left to have your picture taken. Make sure to hand them your receipt.”
I mutely follow her directions, not deigning to smile for my picture… what’s the point? When my card prints out, I give a small nod of thanks to the clerk and walk quietly out to my mom’s car for the ride home. Of course, as we drive, she needles me about how lucky I am she was kind enough to drive me to court and not make me walk. Bitch. I give her thanks that we both know are empty and insincere, possibly for the last time. Cold, like the rest of our interactions the past month.
Once upon a time, we were a happy family: me, my older sister, Anna, and my parents. I loved and adored my parents more than anything, and had an intimate friendship with my sister, who was just one and a half years my senior… But cancer, cancer tears things apart. From sixth grade to eighth, my sister fought valiantly. In the end, she lost. My parents grew cold, My home life has been suffering for years ever since, clashes over my love of gaming, refusal to go to church, and apathy towards homework pushing my parents away one small, yet painful, shove at a time.
But beyond these issues, there is one thing that my parents cannot deal with… one thing they hate. Since I was young, I’ve been enchanted wearing diapers, sucking on pacifiers, and wearing the most babyish clothes I can find. I had stumbled onto the internet community at a very young age, and never looked back. It all began when I was just in fifth grade… it was shortly after my sister was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma. I had found half a pack of pull-ups up in my closet, and curiosity did the rest. From that day on, Diapers were central in my life. They were the only thing that could take me away from life without Anna, could take me to a time when my family wasn’t happy, could take me to a time when I didn’t wake up at 2am to hear my parents screaming at each other. Mom and Dad never understood, of course. They always treated me like I was in the grip of a padded demon when they caught me wearing, lecturing, yelling, and praying until I swore I was cured and they left me alone, and without the rest of my current pack of diapers. It never stopped me, only widened the rift between us.
Eventually, it was mutually decided that I no longer had a place in their home. One day, during a bad argument, my dad challenged me to find a new place to live. He wasn’t serious. I knew he wasn’t. I did it anyway. Two weeks later, I had plane tickets to my best friend Sarah’s house in California, 2 bags packed up with everything I owned that was worth keeping, and a hearing notice served to my parents. They never saw it coming. At first, there was rage at me for daring to defy their authority, but by the date of the hearing they thought it over and changed their stance completely… and that brings us to now. Bags packed, walking into the airport, ready to start life anew. But how can you rebuild when there are no pieces to pick up?