Laura placed her phone on the table and began massaging her temples.
“You okay sweetie?” asked her colleague Melanie, as she handed Laura a cup of coffee,
“It was Charles on the phone. He wanted me to come over to his parents’ place, ‘cause he’s not well.” Laura replied, sipping her coffee.
“Why don’t you just end it Laura? I mean you’ve done this before. You’ve broken many hearts-
“But this one’s different” she interrupted her colleague. “He’s different. He’s a gem of a person Mel. I can’t break his heart even if I wanted to. I’m in such a dilemma right now! I want to be with him just as much as I want to break up. And I know I can’t have both these things at the same time, but I wished things were a lot less complicated.”
“You mean tell him about them?” Laura paused and shook her head in disagreement, “Melanie you know, that’s never going to happen.”
“But why not?” she protested.
“I think otherwise Laura. I mean you keep telling me how understanding and supportive he is-
“But this is different. I know he’ll never… just never….” Laura exhaled heavily, as she struggled to find the right words. “Forget it. I don’t want us to argue over this anymore. I think I know what I need to do Mel. I’m going to end this, before things get any more serious.”
Melanie looked at her colleague with worried eyes,
But Laura stood up before Melanie could finish,
When Laura reached home, she headed straight to her bedroom. She didn’t bother greeting her roommates who were busy watching the television. Laura locked the door behind her and sat down on the edge of her bed, peering out the window for a while.
Then she stood up and opened the bottom drawer of her dresser, pulling out an old, rusty metal box that she hadn’t looked at ever since she’d moved to Windenburg.
She never had had the need to, because this box contained all her childhood memories. She had packed up all those memories in this box, and had sworn to never look at it again. But today, she’d changed her mind. Today, she was finally ready to look back at the life she was running away from for all these years; for fifteen whole years…
Everything was fine back in the days. Laura’s parents loved her more than anything. She was the apple of their eye. But the brightness in their lives lasted only till Laura’s seventh birthday.
Then tragedy struck her family, as her dad got addicted to alcohol. He used to drink after returning home from work, every single day.
No matter how hard her mother tried convincing her husband, tried talking sense into him, he’d never listen. He would yell back at her, demanding her to leave him alone and to mind her own business.
Poor Laura had nowhere to go, no one who could comfort her. She would hide in her room, under her blanket, covering her ears, hoping that the screams and shouts of her parents would drown out, but to no avail.
Four months later, her mother decided to drop Laura off at her aunt’s place. But it wasn’t any better there either. Her aunt provided Laura with food, a roof to live under and education but what she longed for was a warm hug and a goodnight’s kiss.
Her mother never visited her, never sent her a letter, never sent her a gift for her birthday. And then Laura realized her parents no longer cared for her since they’d never bothered inquiring about Laura. She felt lonely, she felt lost; like an orphan who doesn’t have anyone to comfort him, to love him, to assure him that he’s not alone in this cruel world.
She finally decided to run away; far far away because there was no other way to end this miserable pain. On her fifteenth birthday, she left her aunt a note…
… and fled to Windenburg. This was her new home, even though it didn’t feel like one. She’d often spend her mornings wandering about the cobblestone streets, eat leftovers from the garbage cans for dinner and sleep on park benches at night.
Life was hard, but not as painful as her childhood. Soon she learned to live by herself, she earned a living by working as a barista, then as a pizza delivery girl and finally as a bartender in a nightclub where she met Eva one day. It was Eva who asked Laura to move in with her and Laura finally found herself a loving and supportive family of four lovely girlfriends.
Since that day, Laura never thought of her parents. To her, they were dead and she was glad to have finally moved on with her new life. But before saying goodbye to her old life and stuffing her childhood memories in the old, rusty box, she promised herself that she would never get married and never raise a family of her own. “Marriages never work” she had told herself, “I will never have kids because I don’t want anyone else to suffer the way I have.”
Laura stared at the picture in her hands, with tears trickling down her cheeks.
How will I ever tell Charles about my parents? He’ll never understand what it is like to be abandoned. He hasn’t seen the dark side of marriages and of parenting. Of course, he’ll never understand why I’ve decided to not raise a family. He’ll only hate me, he’ll leave me, he’ll abandon me just like my parents did because I can’t give him what he wants, I can’t be a part of his dream of raising a large traditional family, of building a traditional family home, of being loving and supportive parents. These aren’t the things I want from life. These are the things I hate, because they remind me of my past, of my horrifying childhood.
And then, there are his parents; his sweet, loving parents. Why couldn’t my parents love me like his parents love him? Every time I see his parents, I’m reminded of them and then I can’t help about wonder where they are, whether they miss me just as much as I miss them. But I don’t want to miss them, I don’t want to think about them, but Charles won’t let me forget them. He keeps pestering me to talk about them. I mean why does he care so much? Why can’t he just leave me alone?
Frankly, Charles isn’t the one to be blamed. He’s such an adorable guy. It’s all their fault. They are the ones who’re ruining my life! It’s because of them that Charles and I cannot be together. It’s because of them that I have to end this relationship and break his heart, lie to him, avoid him, push him away because somewhere deep down in my heart, I know we can never be happy together.
A knock on the door, brought Laura out of her thoughts. She stuffed the photo in the box and put it hurriedly back in the drawer. It was her roommate Candy who informed her of a party at the Ancient Ruins the next evening. Laura picked up her phone as Candy left the room, and typed in a message for Charles. Tomorrow, she thought to herself, I’m going to end this…