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Red, that is the color she saw the moment Lilly heard her mother utter the words, “You have a week to get your stuff out of the house.” She was livid that, after the years of mental abuse she suffered for that woman’s enjoyment and her sister’s benefit, she was being thrown out of her own home. All because her mother decided to start an affair with a married man and then when that fell apart, move several states away after stopping paying all bills.
As if all the years of taking care of the house, her mother, and her sisters had been forgotten, she now faced the rage of her mother over as senseless of a topic as a life choice, escalated only by the fact that Lilly cared more for her sisters and her friend more than her mother and her mother was probably well aware of this.
The tension had been mounting since Lilly had first become friends with and started a relationship with Lacy. Her mother would purposely create tension, both in the house and out of it. Holding that relationship against her, using it as mutually assured destruction if she ever decided to speak of the affair outside the house. It was utter torment for her. Lilly loved Lacy, but did not want her around her mother, fearing that her mother may hurt her, physically and emotionally.
Lilly watched her mother become more and more mentally unstable. Her mother claimed this affair would make her happier, she seemed to act it, but Lilly could see the vindictive nature of the relationship. Her mother was just playing god, wanting to prove a point that nothing could ever stand in her way. Lilly hated every minute of it, trying to escape it at Lacy’s house, where she felt even more trapped by Lacy’s mother who was very similar to her own.
The words Lilly’s mother screamed on the Fourth of July still ring in her ears. After confronting her daughter in public and ending the conversation with “I hope you’re happy, you stupid bitch!” she stormed off. Her mother never saw her daughter fall like a ragdoll onto a public bench, sobbing and shaking while her grandparents, Lacy, and her little sisters tried to comfort her and figure out what was wrong.
That woman never saw the terror she inflicted on her daughter and would never stop to think what her action would do to her later. This happened all throughout both of their lives. There was no give and take, there was only take.
Lilly soon realized this was because she had picked Lacy all along. Lacy’s father was the man Lilly’s mother was trying to have an affair with. Lilly did not want to see her best friend’s family destroyed any more than she wanted to see her own. Knowing no matter what either family would be ruined, Lilly decided she would rather have it be her own. She loved Lacy too much to let her suffer. Additionally Lilly had never really had a relationship with her mother, meaning the separation would not have been too bad. Until Lilly realized how much she would miss her sisters, who were practically like daughters to her.
Red was the only color Lilly saw for months afterward. There was no room in her heart for betrayal, nor was there room for a second chance. She despised any thought of dealing with her mother. Knowing that she needed the contact to have access to her sisters was unnerving. Lilly resented how controlling her mother was; she resented that she couldn’t have supported her sisters and pulled them out of that horrible environment.
After five months since getting kicked out, the red ebbed. Lilly no longer saw it as much as the distance settled in. There was no longer any pull on her life except the pull she placed on herself. She finally started to settle into a life without her brutish mother. She moved in with her girlfriend’s parents and is setting a date for the following summer to be able to try to get an apartment.
While it is true that Lilly’s family decayed and rotted away, she found comfort in a relationship that truly fits her better, one that has opened the world and all its possibilities to her.