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Runaway Love part IV




Part IV

I woke the next morning, my eyes fluttering as I tried to remember where I was. I sat up with a start, then the night before came rushing back to me. My head immediately started pounding. To my left, Deck was asleep, facing me. He looked peaceful as he slept like he didn’t have a care in the world. I was sure he didn’t have nearly the amount of baggage I did which is why he could sleep so peacefully.


It wasn’t until I slid out of bed that I realized that Deck and I slept together. He held me while I cried my heart out. He was there for me, in the most intimate way. The thought made me sit back down. I didn’t mean to drop down on the bed with the heaviness that I did. Deck stirred in his sleep, lifting his head to look at me.


“Good morning. What time is it?” he questioned.


I picked up my cell phone that was nearly dead and checked the time. “Umm…about 8:30.”


“Damn.” He got out of the bed and stretched. I wondered how comfortable he was sleeping because he was still fully dressed. “I have to go.”


I tried to hide my disappointment, but I couldn’t. I don’t know what I expected, but last night was something different for me. Yes, I’ve physically slept with someone before, but I barred my soul to Deck last night, and he stayed to see me through it.


“I have uncle duty and I don’t know if you’re going to be here later, but if you are, I want to see you again.”


I nodded my head, unable to speak. I had no plans to go anywhere, but I was not going to leave yet. Because I wanted to see Deck again.


Deck went to the nightstand and jotted his number down on a pad. “Call me later.” Before leaving, Deck pulled me into his arms. His arms around me brought a peace I’d never known. I didn’t know what he did to me last night, but with him gone, I felt alone, empty.


I went to the lobby to get breakfast and coffee. I ate, took a shower then pulled out my laptop with the intention of doing a few hours of work, but my mind was not in it. I couldn’t focus.


I was thinking about my mama.


My daddy and my sister knew my mama was not a topic I was going to discuss. I never talked about her with anyone. The fact that she started a new life, one that didn’t include me, was a tough pill to swallow and she did not deserve any of my thoughts, my time, my words. She was the reason I ran, why I couldn’t be stable, why I would never settle down. I was running to avoid dealing with the hurt my mama inflicted on me.


Without even thinking, I put on my shoes and headed out the door. I Googled the New Life Recovery Addiction Center and took the ten-minute drive to the place that was behind the courthouse. I thought this building was something else at some point, but since I hadn’t lived in Americus in years, I couldn’t remember. It wasn’t until I was inside that I realized my lack of impulse control failed me once again.


I tried to make a run for it, I had one foot out the door when I heard “excuse me, can I help you?”


I didn’t have to turn around to know it was my mama. I hadn’t heard her voice in years, but I knew it was her. I had a war going on in my head. One side of me wanted to run, run away like I always did, the other side of me wanted to finally face her. The war raged for a few moments, and the latter won.

Staring at the woman who abandoned me took my breath away.


She looked like I remembered her before her drug use got bad. Better than the last time I saw her which was about ten years ago. The older I got, the more I felt like I looked like my mama. We weren’t twins, but between her and my daddy, I favored her more. Her hair was loc’d and hanging down her back. She wore no makeup, and I don’t remember her wearing makeup when I was younger. But she wasn’t the frail woman I remember from ten years ago. She had some weight on her, but it was in all the right places.


“You want to come in and…” Her voice trailed off as she realized who I was. “Saige?” My mama gawked at me like I was a ghost or someone famous. She stared so long, I became uncomfortable. “H-H-How are you?”


She ran her hands through her hair, a nervous habit I must have picked up from her.


“Why didn’t you ever come back for me?” I didn’t mean to blurt that out. I intended to answer her question, but I couldn’t waste time on small talk and pleasantries.


My mama sighed, heavily. “You know, I always knew you’d come back around and want answers. I have a million different versions of what I’d say, but now, I’m just drawing a blank.”


We stared at each other, me waiting for her to answer my question. I assumed she was just taking me in. She hadn’t seen me since I was 18, and even then, she was so high, she probably doesn’t remember.


“Addiction is a tricky beast to deal with. I haven’t used in about 8 years, but I will always be in recovery,” she began, still playing in her hair. “But back then, when you were a kid, I didn’t know how to get out of it. I thought I was going to die somewhere with a needle stuck in my arm. But every time I got high, I always woke up, and then it became my mission to get high again. Nothing mattered but that next high. Eating, showering, parenting, none of it was as important as my next fix.


“I was forced into rehab, several times. But the last time was the time it stuck. It was hell, pure unadulterated hell, and I knew if I could get through that, I could get through anything. Except going back to be a parent.”


Her words the air out of the room. It was something I already knew, but it was devasting to hear it out loud. I saw the tears forming in her eyes and I couldn’t cry. I didn’t even feel sorry for her. I was angry.


“When I got out, the first place I went was to your daddy’s. He told me you were in Florida in college. He gave me your number, but I couldn’t call.”


Hearing her say she could have called but didn’t make my knees buckle. I leaned against the door, my thoughts running a mile a minute.


“I couldn’t call because you were doing fine. You were doing fine without me, and I didn’t want to disrupt that. What if I came back in your life, but couldn’t resist the temptation of using again? You were in college, making something of yourself. I just didn’t want to be the reason you didn’t finish or failed.”


My heart softened. I wasn’t over it, by any stretch of the imagination, but hearing her explanation gave me her perspective. And I kind of understood it.


“I think about you every day Saige. Every single day. I know I wasn’t the best mother, I mean I really wasn’t a mother at all for part of your life but look at you. You turned out fine without me.”


“But I didn’t though,” I retorted, speaking for the first time. “I am not fine. Nowhere close to it.” My mama creased her brow, unsure of what I meant. Yes, I looked ok. From my appearance, my aversion to stability was not apparent. My own tears formed in my eyes, and I wiped them away. She didn’t deserve this vulnerability from me. “I have no stability. I am afraid to let anyone love me. Friends, family, men…no one. No one makes it in here.” I pointed to my heart, then wiped my eyes again. “I am afraid of everyone. I am scared to commit to anything. I am scared to trust anyone. I am scared that if I do, they will just up and leave me like you did. If you think that is fine, then I hate to tell you that you are sadly mistaken.”


“Saige,” she exhaled. “I will never pretend that I understood what you went through because, at the time, I was going through something too. I just thought…I thought you were better off without me. It never occurred to me that-“


“It never occurred to you to call me? To check on me? To actually see how I was doing?” I had to work hard to check the tone of my voice, but it was getting harder. “How could you birth me and then not give a damn about me? How?”


I gave up the fight of not crying. It was easier to just let it go and let it out.


I saw the embarrassment, the shame on her face before she dropped her head. She leaned against a table, her hands still playing in her hair. She wouldn’t look up and that was fine by me. “There are a lot of things I could say to you, but it will just be excuses. I don’t have an answer for you, Saige. At the time, I thought it was best that I left you alone. I never wanted to see you hurt, and I see now I still hurt you and that is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.”


“It’s not that big of a deal,” I snapped, wiping my eyes. “You have other children that can help ease that pain.”


“It doesn’t quite work like that,” she sighed. “My sons, your brothers, they knew me sober, recovered. You didn’t get to experience that mom. And every day it’s a struggle to be their mom, knowing that I failed you. So, I overindulge. Spoil them. Try to make up for not being there for you. And they can be ungrateful at times. We are in a battle ourselves.”