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Pure Heart: Chapter Two

Pure Heart: Chapter Two

No one can help you. I walk alone. Every step I take I walk alone. ~Tarja Turunen, I Walk Alone.

Lizbeth gets into her Uncle Thomas's royal-blue 2008 Dodge Avenger, numb with grief for her mom and not remembering anything from the funeral which was only two days ago. She's leaving their little house in Victown with its fading colors and shabby furniture, not knowing what anyone's going to do to it. She hopes they don't tear it down.

The house has lots of memories. Most sad, but some were happy too. Like her first bike ride with her mother when she was five right after getting the little Toyota. Her mother loved the little house and little car and Lizbeth has learned to love them too, understanding why her mother chose the smaller things over the larger, more extravagant cities and living arrangements.

She started to understand a lot as she got older. Like how life isn't always fair. People don't always die of old age, and kids can't always grow up with their parents all the time. Parents don't always take care of kids, sometimes kids take care of parents. Like she had.

Uncle Thomas is driving of course and Michael's back here with her. She doesn't know why. He could be up front, 'cause her aunt--Liz had found out her name was Amelia--is driving her Camry. I hate this, Liz thinks to herself, I wanna be at home, well, the house, not with Uncle Tom and other family I don't even know. In the big city at that. Bleck! I miss Mom.

She looks out the window at the trees passing by. She won't see barely any of those in the 'big city'. It's actually just a small city, but it's a lot bigger than her town of 4,086 people. The city has a population of about fifteen thousand. To everyone outside their little town it's known as a suburb, to them it's a 'big city.'

The town is known as Dull-town to anyone else, but to Lizbeth, it's home. It's fun and interesting, and not as scary as the city will be. She's heard that lots of crimes happen there. Barely any happen in Victown, so she'll have to get use to not going out after dark. And there are three different schools. In Victown there's grade school and high school. High school consists of grades eight through twelve and grade school is K-seventh. Now she'll be going to a high school with only grades nine through twelve, and she won't know anyone. Except Michael that is, and she doubts he'll even talk to her.

She looks at him. He looks really happy to be going back home. Her, not so much. It won't ever be home at her uncles' and she's already found that her aunt is a real... witch with a "B". She promised her mom when she was thirteen that she would never swear really badly, she's not about to break that promise now.

"I miss you, Mom," she whispers to herself, not intending that Michael would hear her. But he does, and he turns toward her, a look of sympathy on his face.

"I'm really sorry, Liz, I wish I could do something about this." He just said that? He doesn't even know me! She looks up at him, thinking that he couldn't possibly understand what's going through her mind right now. That he doesn't know anything about her, or her life, or what she wants to do with her life. She wants to help. Help the homeless, the poor, the bullied, everyone. So a soup kitchen is in her future, Peace Corps, some kind of anti-suicide thing. And he has no idea!

"Don't you start thinking that," he says to her, kinda like he's giving her a scolding.

"Thinking what?" she asks innocently. How could he tell I was thinking that?

"That I don't know what's going through your head." Well, she thinks, how could you know? It's not like you lost some part of your close family. Your father's right there driving, and your mother's in my car. I don't see how you'd possibly understand. "I do know exactly what's going through your mind." Uh-huh. Right, she thinks, and I know what your favorite movie is. Ha!

She looks back out her window. They're almost to the city now, or, well, suburb, and there's barely any green left. Once they get to the city, she won't be able to see barely any sky either, because of the tall buildings blocking her view, so she soaks it all in for as long as she can.

"Almost there!" shouts back Uncle Thomas, "couple more miles and we should be home." Home. He says it as if it really is home. Nowhere will ever be home for me again, Lizbeth thinks to herself, as they enter Douglas City, Washington.

They drive through the city, and she realizes it's not all that bad, but then, she's not really paying that much attention. She's spacing, and imagining what it would have been like if they could've gotten hold of her dad. If they could've paid for the treatments.

If her mom was still alive.

She closes her eyes and sighs, tired of all the pretending. She's had to pretend that she's okay through all of the ride, because her uncle warned her, "Lose control over your emotions, and you'll be sleeping in the attic, got it?" and she'd nodded her head, not complaining. Her uncle and her mom weren't close, so he doesn't understand at all what she's so upset about. She won't try to explain, because she'll just get in trouble, so she just pretends.

Don't blame me, Uncle Tom. I don't want to be here just as much as you don't want me to be here. And it's not my fault I love my mother! She realizes that she's starting to drift off and sits up, yawning. "What time is it?" she asks, to no reply. From up front anyway. She sighs, "never mind."

"It is" says Michael, looking at the clock on the dashboard, "eight o'clock." They left at about two, because everything was already packed, and had hit three and five o'clock traffic. She remembers Michael saying, "Man, for being sixteen you sure as hell have a lot of stuff," and she had reminded him that she's a girl and needs a lot of stuff.

"Oh. Okay. Thanks." She says, stifling another yawn. She hears her favorite song start on the radio, "Take a breath. I pull myself together. Just another step until I reach the door. You'll never know the way it tears me up inside..." Save you by Simple Plan. I love it!

At the chorus she starts singing along to it, and realizes how true it is. He's talking about cancer and how it takes people away from us, how it tears us up that we can't do anything to save them, and it's just how she feels about her mom.

"Sometimes I wish I could save you and there's so many things that I want you to know. I won't give up till it's over. If it takes you forever I want you to know..." She stops after the chorus, knowing that if she sings much more she will lose control over her emotions. Breathing deeply and closing her eyes, she lays her head back against the seat and relaxes.

A few minutes later she's aware that someone's staring at her. She has a feeling she knows who it is and why, and she opens her eyes, looking over at Michael. Not surprisingly, it was him that was staring. "What?" she asks him.

His mouth opens, then closes, then opens again, and he finally answers her, "You- you just sang that chorus. How did you do that?" She rolls her eyes at him.

"I could have sang the rest too, but it's so close to the truth that I had to stop--if I didn't want to cry anyway." She pauses, "It's just a hobby. Just like soccer, or woodworking is. It's nothing much." What's so interesting about my singing? I mean, yeah, I've been told I'm really good, but I don't think so. He'll probably be just like everyone else who's heard her sing.

"Your voice is amazing!" Told ya so. He goes on, "Why is it close to the truth? What's the song talking about?" he asks her. Man, does no one know what Simple Plan's talking about in this song? Oh well, I'll explain.

She sighs, "For the last time, my voice is not amazing. It's just my voice. And in this song, Simple Plan is talking about cancer and how it takes people away from us. How it feels to just sit there and watch as someone you love dies of it. And you can't do anything." She chokes back her tears this time, but just barely. She closes her eyes and takes a big breath, then opens them and continues, "I can't talk about this much. As I've told you, it's too close to the truth. It hurts too much."

He blinks at her, and clears his throat, "That's, uh, wow." Wonderful vocabulary you have there Michael, she thinks to herself. "And your voice is amazing. Can you sing again?" Again? Aw man

"Sing what? I mean, I know a lot of songs, and I've written lots, but--" he cuts her off in the middle of her sentence.

"You write too? Talented little thing aren't you? How come you got all these talents and I got nothing?" I doubt you don't have a talent. It's probably a sports talent or something. Like track, or whatever.

"Hey, I'm not little! And you probably have an undiscovered talent. Everyone's talented at something. What about sports?" She kind of doesn't want to be talking to him, she wants to just look out the window and forget everything, but, then again, it gets her mind off things.

"You are so little. You're, like, what? Five feet? Maybe? And I guess I kinda like track. I mean, I love running, because I can just block everything out and just run, but it isn't a talent. I'd love to be able to sing, or play something instead." I'm five feet four inches you idiot. Just because you're six foot at sixteen doesn't mean I have to be super freakishly tall.

"See, you're looking at this all wrong. What relaxes you the most? Playing music on your own, or running?" she pauses a moment, waiting for his answer, but thinks of a random question first. "Hey, how long does it take for you to run the mile?"

"I'd have to say running relaxes me most." Then that's your talent, you dipshit, she thinks, but doesn't say it aloud. That would be mean.

"Then that is most likely your talent. Singing, playing, and writing relax me the most, and I guess they're my talents. That's what everyone says anyway." She pauses, looking out the window. They're in a neighborhood-like area now, so they're probably pretty close to her uncles'. "And I still don't agree with anyone that my voice is 'amazing', 'cause it isn't."

"Yeah, it is." He argues against her. Dude, no way in hell am I ever going to let you win this argument, you understand that right?

"No it's not!" She says to him, thinking that she probably shouldn't have shouted.

"ENOUGH!" Shouts her uncle from the front of the car. "Silence in this car the rest of the way home, got it Lizbeth?" She cringed when he shouted, but answers anyway.

"Yes, sir." She says in a small voice.

"Good." He keeps driving, and she looks out the window. The green has almost completely disappeared other than bushes and trees in yards and they probably have about five minutes left of the drive 'home', so she doesn't mind the silence. In fact, she welcomes it.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012-2019 by Aria Leitner aka Colors_of_the_Wind

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