Glass shatters against the wall.
Katherine flinches, but I neglect it and continue to shove items into my bags with tears staining my cheeks. For a moment, she’s silent.
At least my parents are away for the weekend. They probably don’t want me here, anyway.
“Ellie, please,” Katherine begs, taking my wrist.
I yank away and croak: “Leave me alone.”
No one wants me here. Katherine is only pretending to make herself feel better, so she doesn’t feel like an utterly shitty person, I guess.
I sniffle and turn to my shelves of records. It is impossible to take them with me right now. Maybe I can come back and get them later. No. I don’t want to come back. I have to take only the important ones.
Again, I neglect Katherine and rush to the shelves, dropping to my knees and filing through them with shaky fingers. Amy Winehouse. The Beatles. Some Motown: Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin. The classics. The classics are worth everything.
I am worth nothing.
“It — it’s best you leave.”
“And let you leave?” Katherine strains, watching in I guess you can call pain as I carefully shove the records into the bag. What will I even play them on?
I snap away when she reaches out to touch me. Tears brim her dark but soft eyes. She wears a deep blue hijab today — the color of sadness. I try to ignore how well it fits the day.
“Don’t touch me,” I warn. “Just — don’t. There’s no place for me here. There’s no place in this town for me. It’s not my home.”
“Home doesn’t have to be a place, Ellie,” she whispers. It’s that poetic garbage she always tries to feed me. She constantly hands me books to read about self-worth and some fictional stories that intend to be moving and heartfelt.
I’ve had no energy to try and read them. Nothing will help me because I am a lost cause. There’s nothing here for me; my presence here means nothing.
“Stop giving me that. I’m tired of you telling me that home can be a person because it’s not. I thought that at one point; I thought you were my home but then — then– just no. Home cannot be a person. And my home is not here. It’s not this town. It’s not this house. It’s nowhere near here! So don’t talk to me about it. Don’t yell about it. Don’t whisper it. Just leave me alone, Katherine. Let me go. You were my home — but we were never going to work out, so why should I stay?”
She says nothing further, so I continue on with packing. This time, tears start streaming down my face again.
Katherine steps to my desk and sits down. I hear her tear out a sheet of paper from my math notebook. At my nightstand, I distract myself with picking out a pair of earrings to bring with me.
Then I feel her beside me. She doesn’t say anything and instead slips the folded paper into my palm. Her hand gently wraps around my arm for a brief moment before she flees the room, leaving me to her note and my thoughts.
I unravel the slip and read the sloppily drawn words.
Because you’re home to me, too.