That wasn’t how I found out, of course. No, I was still in bed when everything started, sleeping, dreaming about sinking into my pillows and breathing in the cotton. I was startled awake –rather rudely, I might add – by the shrill beeping of my cell phone.
My alarm wasn’t due to scream for another hour yet, so you can imagine my annoyance. I sucked it up, however, and reached for the offending piece of shit, trying to bite back the choice words I had for the caller.
I glanced at the caller ID – Todd Inlet, cousin from my father’s side of the family. He was just about my age, though we were never particularly close. He, like most of his immediate family, had chosen to stay in the town after graduation, enrolling in the police force and spending his days writing petty speeding tickets and bitching about sports with his cop buddies over coffee. So why the fuck was he calling me at nine in the morning on a Wednesday?
“Yeah?” I answered, trying to keep the grogginess out of my voice and failing.
The response was more of a snarl than anything else, rocketing through my phone and assaulting my ear. “Taylor Denson.”
And just like that, I knew.
I like to take my time getting ready in the mornings. I take long showers. I put on makeup. I try on my different outfits. I play with my jewelry. I use that time to feel ready for my day.
Apparently, when I need to, I can be out the door in less than five minutes.
When those words thundered in through my cell phone, the words I’d been waiting to hear for 10 years now, I’d shot out of bed, pulled on some fresh clothes, brushed my teeth, ignored my hair, swiped my car keys, and ran for it.
I wish I’d been more prepared, but it wasn’t something I could bare to prepare for. It was an eventuality, but one that was going to break my heart, and nobody prepares for a broken heart, do they?
It was only an hour to my hometown, but I expected to make it in half the time as my foot drove down hard on the gas pedal. I raced down the highway, hoping to avoid the cops or that they’d already been informed of my… situation. Any second of delay could be a second too long.
As I flew down the road, my mind flew back to a time when I hadn’t been so adept at hiding from my problems. Back to the root of the trouble from which sprang the future that I had grown for myself.