Here is the next installment of my book. If you missed any, you can find them all using the Take Me To.... the book link to the right of this page. Enjoy!
Matt saw her looking off in the distance, awkward. “You okay?” he asked.
“Fine,” she replied automatically.
“You sure?” he asked again.
This time his question brought Mia back. “Yeah, I’m good. Just tired.”
“Well it looks like your section is done, why don’t you go home. Get some rest. You work too hard.”
“I’ll try,” she replied before heading to the back. She dropped her apron in the dirty laundry bin and pulled her book bag out of her cubby. She exited the back kitchen door toward home. She then walked the two blocks home to the house she shared with a group of girls she had met in her freshman dorm. It was an eclectic core group of four with another couple changing each semester. They were all studying something different. The front room might be full of fabric for a fashion assignment or a cat cadaver for a science lab. Competing music was often coming from different rooms. Phone conversations were crossing paths in the hallway.
They were all very busy but they tried to meet up for dinner on Sundays, sometimes heading to the restaurant if Mia had to work. Sarah, the ring leader, would call a family meeting if it had been too long since they all sat in the same room together. Most of their conversations though took place as someone was washing their face at the end of the day or trying to find a highlighter that worked.
She liked living with these girls. They were all bright and enthusiastic about their futures. They gave Mia a picture of what life was like for the normal kids, the kids with parents who knew what it meant to be a real parent. These girls taught her about relationships and family. They opened up to her about their hopes, their fears. They talked about boyfriends and future career aspirations. They left a quick note on the bathroom mirror in lipstick or sent a good luck text before a big test. They connected Mia to something, even when she did not know how to reciprocate. She was learning though, she was figuring out how to be a friend from these girls.
The house was dark when she walked in the door. Mia was never quite sure who would be home on any given night. Tonight the house was quiet. Everyone was still out enjoying the warm, Saturday night. She walked through the dark kitchen grabbing a glass of water before heading up the two sets of stairs to her room.
Mia loved her little attic room. She had it all to herself, no one touching her stuff, reading her emails or poking through her clothes. Not that any of her roommates were probably interested in her jeans and plaid shirts or her secrets. She was just so used to her new shoes disappearing at home, only to find them scuffed up after her mom borrowed them. Her mom had adopted a “what’s yours is mine” approach to life. This applied not only to clothes and lip gloss but to Mia’s whole existence. Her mother was always looking over her shoulder as she wrote a paper or read a book. She scrolled through Mia’s text messages and asked about every detail of her day. There had been no privacy at home. No secrets. No moment alone with her thoughts.
Mia knew her mom was doing the best she could. Maggie had gotten pregnant when she was 17. The boy’s family moved away the summer before Mia was born, never knowing there was a baby on its way. She never knew her father. Her birth certificate had no name listed where the father’s name belonged and her mother refused to tell Mia his name. Maggie made sure Mia knew she was father less, that she was utterly dependent on her mother.
Mia often felt like her mother’s doll, someone to dress and move around the scenes of life. Her mother was recreating the life she had dreamed of for herself. Only, now Mia was living it for her. At least that was Maggie’s plan and until recently, Mia had played along.