My stepdad was the best ever. When I was little, we used to play Superman where he would swing me around the living room. I soared above the couch and chairs, looking down at all the people in the city. My mom would always yell from the kitchen, “Put her down, you're going to drop her.”
stepdad never listened. He raised me higher and higher until I could almost touch the ceiling with my finger tips. I only wish that those memories weren't tarnished with cheating and divorce.
In high school, my parents argued more and more. It became so bad that I had to stay at a friend's house some nights. When I found out my mother cheated on my father, I was utterly devastated. How could she do that to him?
The divorce followed soon after and the custody battle was brutal. In the end, my mother won because she was considered the “fit” parent. I was to stay with her and my father moved far away. I only had a couple more years of high school left before going to college so it didn't matter that much. Though, I still didn't like the idea of what my mom did.
What made made matters worse was that the man my mother slept with became my step father. It all happened so quick that I barely had time to react. I wanted to sink six feet into the ground and close the coffin lid.
Christopher was his name and he was the opposite of the man who raised me. He was big, strong, and always angry. I couldn't even speak to him without him yelling at me. I tried to talk to my mom and tell her that Christopher was bad news but she wouldn't listen.
They were married only a couple months after the divorce.
“Amber!” my mother called from downstairs. “It's dinner time!”
I sat on my bed, doing homework, trying to avoid another “fun meal time” with the parents. All they did was question and judge me. It was like they wanted me to know my whole life plan ahead of time. The problem was I didn't have a clue as to what I wanted to do. I hadn't picked a college yet nor decided on what I wanted to major in. Big life choices scared the hell out of me. What If you made the wrong decision?
I reluctantly walked downstairs, only out of extreme starvation. I hadn't eaten anything since lunch and the smell of steak and potatoes drifted all the way up to my room. The goal was to eat quick and get out of there before the interrogation started.
“Come sit down, honey,” my mom said, pulling out a chair for me at the dinner table. Christopher was already in the middle of stuffing his face with meat. It was so polite of him to wait for the whole family before starting.
“How's school going?” he asked, chewing on red potatoes.
I stabbed a piece of bloody steak, imagining it was Christopher's head. “It's going pretty good,” I replied.
“You better make sure you get straight A's this semester,” my mom said. “You want your best chance of getting into the right college.”
The conversation was already going places I didn't want it to go.
“I'm trying, Mom. I'm doing a lot of studying but you can't get mad if I'm not perfect.”
Christopher butted in. “You aren't trying hard enough. I hear you in your bedroom talking to boys all night. If you don't get an A on that science test tomorrow, I'm going to have to punish you.”
I gave him a sneer and set my fork down. He'd only been my step-father for a short time and he was already acting like he was responsible for raising me. “I'm not going to let you guys continue to badger me.” I stood up and left the kitchen. I ignored their yells for me to come back and strolled back up to my room.
I lay on my bed, my heart thudding in my chest. I hated the feeling of being angry. It felt so wrong.
But I couldn't help it. My parents were crazy.
They wanted me to get good grades and I was going to do the exact opposite. To hell with the consequences. They needed to learn a lesson.
The next day, I took my science test and totally flunked it. I purposefully chose the wrong answers and I wrote rubbish for the short answer questions.
“Amber, can I see you after class?” Mr. Simmons asked when he returned my paper with a large F circled in red. My classmates let out a collective “Ooooo” because I'd never been in any sort of trouble before.
“What's up Mr. S?” I asked, walking up to him after the other students left.
“What happened on the test?” he asked, taking his reading glasses off.
“Nothing happened,” I replied. “I just didn't know the answers.”
“Amber, you've aced every test I've given you this semester.” Mr. Simmons grabbed the paper from my hand. “This test looks like you didn't even try. If there's something going on here or at home, you can talk to me.”