Chapter 2

‘What do you mean?'

'Don't play coy with me, Sophie, you know what I mean'

She sighs as if I'm troubling her, well tough luck because, with the things as they were, I'm behaving like a saint if you ask me.

' what do you want me to say?'

'How about the truth? Or is it so much to ask for?'

'Don't be a B. Chill, will you? You know the situation at home when I left. I thought it would be less of a burden if I left.'

'How you mean? Less burden? Less burden to whom? By not being there for me when I need you.'

'I'm sorry I was not thinking'


'Could you tone down the sarcasm for a minute? I'm trying here'


'I was 20. I could have left when I was 18. But I stayed for you. So that you won't end up like her. I tried my level best. I was juggling between two different jobs to help pay the bills. I was exhausted daily. It's no excuse I know but then I learned about the mortgage on our home.'

'That's it? You left me with her because of the bills?'

'No. It broke the camel’s neck. It made me realize I couldn't do anything with my life if I stayed there with you guys.'

I thought of all that time I needed her and struggled with my anger. Why am I angry at her? What she says is true, she has the right to live her life. All we were doing was chaining her down. Given a time I would have accepted it, but right now my mind is too jumbled to forgive her. Though she didn’t ask for any forgiveness directly. Then it came to me

' why don't you take me with you when you are leaving? Why leave me there? Tell me the truth and not these excuses. I know you, so don't treat me like a fool. The truth, now'

She looked guilty or is that my imagination? I don't know anymore.

Finally, she said, ' you remember bob?'

Bob? A picture of a bald potbelly bully came to my mind. He used to leer at us. We were always cautious when he was around. He is one of many jerks our Mother dated or somewhat dated. She always used to bring creeps and weirdos to our home. Though I was angry with Sophie, I remembered a time when she used to guard me against said creeps. Our Mother never had the time or doesn't care what happened to us if she gets her next fix. Even Sophie was going in that direction at that time, not as bad as our mom but not better either.

I asked instead, ' how did you stop taking drugs? Did you go to rehab?'

Looking at her surprised expression I could Guess she didn't think I would know about that. So, I said, ' I saw you once getting drugs when I followed you once. I was worried. Ok, also curious'

'You and your curiosity. One day you were going to land in a big one. Anyways I never took drugs.'

'But I saw you, also what about your health? You were too thin. You used to walk in a daze.'

' maybe it's because I was working two jobs and trying to study?' She questioned. She used to take online courses whenever money was available which wasn't much at that time. What with bills, my studies, and our mothers wandering hands.

'No. There must be more because I too was working at that time even though I was in sophomore year'

' It comes down to bob.'

' What about him?'

I have an uneasy feeling about where it is going. But I still hoped it's not as I think it is.

She looked sad and far away even though I was right across her. I wanted to console her, but I don't know-how. 6 years has left a bridge between us which I'm starting to hate.

'Those drugs were for him'

I still don't get the picture. What does Bob have to do with anything? Why does she have to take drugs to him?

Then she said, 'it started when I was 17', she said.

Just that, nothing more is needed because we know what moms’ creeps are capable of. Still, I asked, ' did he?'

'Yes. He raped me. Repeatedly'

Saying that loud confirmed my fears. I felt suddenly ashamed of myself. Here I'm crying and nagging like a baby when she endured so much. I wish I knew at that time. I would have killed that piece of shit. It explained a lot. Why she left. Why she was always so sickly when he visited. Before Bob even though we were struggling in those days she used to glow with happiness. But it dimmed when he entered. I never questioned it. At that time exhaustion was part of our lives. Now I want to kick myself for being so self-centered.

'Why didn't you tell us at that time?'

'He threatened me with you'

'Oh god', I feel sick.

All those years I blamed her but hearing this I feel guilt.

' I'm sorry. I don't think saying sorry would cut it, but I want to say all the same. But why wait 3 years?'

'At first, I feared he would do something to you, but the day I left he called me to pimp me out to his dealers. I panicked. I couldn't go through that. I started to plan. To run away. I thought of taking you with me. But mom threatened me'

Just that, nothing more. I saw red. Grounding my teeth I asked her, ' with what?'


' but I would have gone with you willingly'

She smiled sadly and said, ' she knows how to play a good citizen. She could fool anybody with her acting. No court would rule in my favor. A 20-year-old on run with no home'

'How did she know you were running away?'

She said solemnly, 'she heard the conversation with bob'

'You mean to say she knows what he did to you?'

'Yes. From the beginning'

Bile rose in my throat. Thank god I didn't eat anything yet or I would have puked my guts out. I can't even fathom what kind of Monster our mom was. Who could choose a blind eye to their own child's rape? And then I remembered all that taunting she gave me about Sophie leaving me' nobody wants you, Erica'. I can still hear her voice. I shook my head to clear it and said, ' why don't you come afterward?'

' thought of bob kept me away from you. And then you shifted from there. I don't know how to reach you. I felt guilty leaving you there'

'Did he tried anything with you?’, she asked, hiding her face with her hands after a while.

' he tried, but at that time I learned already how to handle such situations'

'I don't understand '

'Street fighting'

'What?' She gasped. Sophie was always a delicate flower. She knows how to make others happy, but doesn't covet violence.

'What else can I do? You left. The situation got worse at home. Mom started drinking daily. She left the job. Before at least she used to get some money. But after that, she was horrible, bringing all kinds of men daily. I have to learn to protect myself'

'But isn't it dangerous and illegal?'

'There was no other option' it's as simple as that.

'You are not into this, now right?'

I shrugged neither agreeing nor denying.


'Your order ma'am’, the waiter called.

'You didn't ask about mom', I said realizing belatedly.

'I know'

'How did you know she is dead?'

She just waved her hand saying, ' later' and started eating up.

'It's been 3 years’, I said to fill the silence after a while.

'Hmm', she said.

' why now', I asked again with no animosity.

'I'm getting married'

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