The entire car ride back to California I was silent. I would not allow my mother to put one finger on me. I pressed myself as far as I could into the door and stared out the window. The endless dessert flew by in a smear of brown and white. I imagined opening the door, falling out of the speeding car and becoming a smear of my own. I imagined it would probably be a red smear. I wouldn't even look at Bill. I saw him looking at me in the rear view mirror and I wanted to reach over the seat and smash his head into the windshield. That would have made a red smear too.
When we finally arrived at Bill's house, I went to my room to find it exactly how I had left it. Destroyed. I sat on the bed and cried. In the living room I could hear my mother and Bill arguing. Then my mother opened the door to the room and said, "OK, come and give me a kiss...I'm taking off." I couldn't believe her... Why had she come and taken me back to him?! Did he pay her? Why is she leaving?! Why did she do this?! I was so afraid to be left with Bill, but I would NOT kiss her or beg her to stay. My heart had nothing but hate in it. I turned my back away from her, "get the fuck away from me."
I had never sworn at my mother before and it was liberating. At that moment we crossed a line and she became someone other than my mother. She was no one to me. When she left I mourned her like she had died. I knew I would never look at her as a mother again. Bill wisely left me alone. The next morning I woke up and got ready for school. When I walked out into the living room Bill was waiting to drive me. "I don't want a ride from you. I don't want anything from you." I said it with as much disgust as I could. I almost spat the words out. Then I walked to the bus stop.
The only light I could find in my dark situation was that I would see Crystal again. We had not spoken on the phone once since I left and I knew it was because she was mad at me. I had left her. She needed me as much as I needed her... and I left. She didn't understand everything I was dealing with at Bills and I couldn't explain it to her. I knew deep down she understood me leaving was the best thing for me, but that didn't stop her from hurting.
When I got to school I found that Bill already had my mother enroll me and I had all the same classes I did 4 months ago. I walked from my first class to the central plaza and Crystal saw me from across the entire courtyard. We made eye contact and just like in the movies, we ran to each other. We both were crying when we hugged and relief flooded through me. No one knew what my life was like with my mother, except for her. As long as Crystal was in my life I felt like I would never really be alone. Part of me was worried that when I left I would lose her, but me leaving didn't change our friendship at all. It doesn't matter how much time passes between real friends, when it matters, they are there. Crystal taught this to me when I was 14 years old.
I spent everyday for the next three weeks staying over at Crystal's as much as I could, taking the bus to school and completely ignoring Bill. I wedged my door shut with a chair at night and stayed as far away from him as possible. If I couldn't ignore him I would speak to him with out looking at him. If I had to look at him I made sure he could see the hate in my eyes.
I drank all the liquor in the house and refilled the empty bottles with water. When the liquor ran out I decided to try smoking dope. My cousins all seemed to really like it and I needed something to help me escape. Bill smoked occasionally and kept a stash hidden in the drawer of his room. The pot wasn't as numbing as the alcohol, but it had other perks. I didn't get sick or lose control like I did with alcohol. I couldn't drink during the day because I would get caught, but smoking pot gave me a temporary high that was easy to hide. It was such a comfort to know I didn't have to go through life so aware of everything anymore... and it also gave me the giggles. My mother was a drug whore who basically pimped me out to a child molester for who knows what in return.... and I could laugh about it. I liked pot.
I had talked to my uncle on the phone several times since I'd been back and a plan was made. I needed about a day and half window to escape. I needed 4 hours to get to the airport and on a plane. I needed another 6 hours to land and get on the reservation. Once I was there I would be safe. By the time Bill found out I left it would be too late. The first time Bill went to go on another one of his gambling trips I made my move. Crystal's mom drove me to the airport. I boarded a plane and left California for a second time... just like my Uncle Dave had promised.