Tuesday's Story - The Runaways

Tuesdays shory story.jpg

Chapter One

Blanche wakes me up by opening my curtains way too dramatically. I hate it when she does that. I have a headache from drinking too much of Daddy’s bourbon Harvey and I stole from his drinks cabinet last night. Blanche knows this of course because she knows everything, dramatic curtain opening is her way of letting me know. As long as she doesn’t divulge my late night drinking habits, I guess I can’t really complain.

“Get yourself in the shower before your parents see you,” Blanche says, making a scene of cleaning up all of the clothes and pillows I’d thrown on the floor trying to find my pyjamas.

“Your disapproving tone is too loud, B,” I say, my voice cracking.

“Don’t give me that, young lady. I raised you, don’t you forget that.”

Blanche had been around since I was in nappies. I have more memories with her than I do with my actual mother, but I guess that isn’t really that hard considering they are in a different country every other week. Where are they coming back from today? Spain? France? Did they even tell me? I can’t remember.

“And I am very grateful for it, B.” I say in my usual sarcastic tone, but I really do mean it. Blanche gives me that look I know all too well and throws the pile of clothes onto my bed.

“Get up, get dressed. Your Grandma Edi is coming in a couple of hours, remember.”

Ah yes, how could I forget? Every Sunday Grandma Edi and I have afternoon tea in our library, her claiming that ‘we would never see each other if I didn’t arrange this’ which would probably be true but it still feels more of a chore than a social occasion. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn't have to watch her constantly pouring whiskey into her tea. I don't know why Blanche continues to be surprised when I, on occasion, nick some of Daddy’s alcohol. It’s in my blood.

“Urgh,” I groan.

“Don’t be rude, come on,” Blanche says as she exits the room, leaving the door open even though she knows I hate that. I roll my eyes and force myself to get out of bed. The room spins and I have a flashback to Harvey dancing on my dresser wearing one of my old dresses from my bigger days. I don’t remember him giving it back to me or him actually taking it off. I resist the urge to throw up and stumble into my bathroom. The half drunk bottle sits on the cabinet by the sink. Who knows why. I pour the remains down the sink. Daddy would kill me if he knew. I splash my face with cold water and tell myself to get it together. With a quick brush of my teeth and taming of my hair, I make my way down into the kitchen.

“Morning Sue,” I say to the chef. She isn’t normally in the house but today is a special day because Daddy and Mother are coming home. So she has to be here to answer their every beck and call.

“Morning Tuesday, fancy anything?” She asks, wiping her hands on a tea towel. I think of all of the possibilities in my head; eggs, french toast, pancakes… But the thought of any of those makes my stomach churn. I pick up an apple instead.

“No, thank you,” I say with a smile.

I head out into the garden and wonder where I should hide for a couple of hours so I don’t have to clean my room. Making myself disappear is something I've always been really good at. ‘Honestly, Tuesday, it’s like you’re invisible!’ my mum would say to me when I was a kid after she spent hours looking for me herself, on multiple occasions. I was always right under her nose and I used to think how funny it was that all she had to do was look up and she would find me in the tree. Or if she just looked behind that statue, or looked a little closer in the flower bed. She’s stopped bothering to look, knowing that I’d come back eventually. I decide to head to the flower garden around the back of the house because I remember Rodney, the gardener, saying that the display was going to be extra beautiful this year. They all look the same to me and have done so for the last five years, but it’s nice to keep the staff happy, you know? I’ve lost count of the number of times Rodney has seen me sneaking back into the house in the early hours of the morning after being at Harvey’s. Complimenting his roses is the least I can do in the grand scheme of things.

flowers.jpg

……

“Tuesday, what the hell are you doing?!” Mother hisses through gritted teeth. Her voice makes me jump and I fall backward and land on her tulips. She doesn’t bother trying to help me up, of course, just watches as I wrestle with the flowers.

“Mother, you’re home early,” I say, picking beheaded flowers off my torso.

“Go and get yourself cleaned up, your guest is waiting for you!”

Grandma. My guest is freaking grandma. Well, Grandma and whatever guy she has on her arm this time. The last one was closer to my age than he was hers, but I guess that’s not really that hard to do considering she’s lived long enough to see the queens coronation.

I glare at her, and she glares back. But she never wins this game, my gaze is always much colder.

I pick myself up off the floor and make a scene of walking away. “I hope you had fun in Spain,” I say, spitefully.

“It was Portugal,” she says back.

“Same difference, you weren’t here,” I say walking off not even looking back once.

Chapter Two

“Ah Tuesday, darling, how are you?” Grandma Edi says rising from her seat. For some reason, she always wears fur even when it’s way too hot outside for it. Today was no exception. She wears a fur scarf around her neck which happens to be the same colour as her latest beaus hair. Not her usual type I'll admit, but he does have a strong jaw and wrinkles around his eyes so definitely a little older than the last one. Still has mummy issues though so I guess he’s not all that different. Nevertheless, I’ll put on my fake, ‘please-to-meet-you’ persona I always do.

“Hey Grandma,” I say, kissing her on both of her cheeks. Her perfume makes me smile. “And who is this?” I say, turning my attention to her newest fling.

“Oh, this is George, darling. Lovely boy, very keen to meet you.”

I could tell by the look on his face that he was not very keen to meet me. I doubt he wanted to meet me at all, why would you want to meet your girlfriend’s (ew) Grandchild? I have to admit though that this is one of my favorite parts of the week because it’s just so hilarious to watch them squirm in their seats. No wonder they don’t last very long. I wonder what Grandma does with them once she is bored, does she just leave a string of broken hearts behind her or are they actually glad to get rid of her? I guess now isn’t really the time to ask her.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, George. What is it you do?”

I have got this routine down to a T by now. I say how glad I am to meet them even though I never am, and I always ask them what they do for a living. So far my favourite answer has been a lifeguard because I still can’t for the life of me figure out where she met him. Possibly Tinder. Is it weird to think of your grandma being on Tinder? Probably.

“I own an estate a little south of here, but I must say this is a wonderful place.”

“Oh?” I ask. “And is it actually you who owns the estate or is it your father?” I say, pouring myself a cup of tea and managing to remain composed when Grandma kicks me under the table.

“Erm well, it’s my father right now but he is handing it down to me.” Gotcha.

“I see,” I say. “My father said he doesn’t think he could hand this down to me because I’d just use it as a party pad and destroy the place.”

“Well, I think my father trusts me with it because I’m older.”

“Only a little,” I say. This gets me another kick in the leg.

“Tuesday!” Grandma says. “Don’t be rude.”

“It was a joke, it was a joke!” I say, but no one is laughing except me.

afternoontea.jpg

Grandma gives me her stare before changing the subject. “It must be nice to have your sister coming into town, you haven’t seen her for a few months.”

“Henrietta is in town?” I ask. I wouldn’t say me and my sister were the closest of people, but I thought we annoyed each other enough through childhood for her to tell me when she was coming home for a visit. A text at least. It seems absurd that Henrietta, the darling of the family, the perfect one, would mess up in a way such as this. I can use this against her later ‘oh, dear sister, how could you not tell me you were coming home? After all we have been through? I can’t believe my big sister would do this to me, I look up to you!’ and maybe do some dramatic fall down the stairs. That could work.

Grandma furrows her brows. “Why, yes didn’t your mother tell you? She’s visiting with her new fiance. That’s-”

I spit out my tea. “Fiance!?” I say. “I didn’t even know she had a boyfriend!”

Grandma looks just as shocked as I feel. “For goodness sake, does no one in this family tell you anything?”

“Well, clearly not!” I say.

The sound of the doorbell ringing downstairs breaks the tension in the room.

“I’ll get it,” I say and before anyone can protest, I’m walking down the stairs. I can hear Grandma calling after me but at this minute I don’t care.

I answer the door to Harvey’s stupid smiling face. I hate it, I hate him.

“Hey, how are you fe-”

“Henrietta is engaged,” I say, closing the door behind me and making my way down the patio stairs.

“Ah man, there goes my shot at the girl of my dreams,” Harvey says behind me.

“Don’t joke Harvey, she didn’t even tell me. I’m pissed off.”

“Why? It’s not like you two are particularly close.”

I stop in my tracks. “That’s not the point Harvey!” I growl, turning around to face him. Anger was speeding through my veins. A hot, fiery anger. I can normally brush off anything that goes on in this family. Grandma and Grandad getting divorced and no one telling me? Okay fine, I can live with that. Auntie June moving to Australia? Fine, whatever. But for Henrietta, the person I grew up with, the person who used to read me bedtime stories, the person who played hide and seek with me, the person who I laughed, screamed and cried with for ten years of my life to not tell me she had a boyfriend, let alone is getting married? I can’t deal with that. “She is my sister, I would’ve thought she’d at least drop me a text.” My voice breaks halfway through as tears threaten the back of my throat. I hate crying. I hate how it makes me feel. I hate how it makes my face look. And I hate how Harvey pulls me in for a hug and doesn’t let go until I tell him to, but right now that hug feels pretty good.

“Hey, fuck them okay?” He says. “Remember the plan? We’ll leave together and never look back, that’s what you said right? Run away from all of this?”

“Yeah,” I’m beginning to think that the plan needs to happen sooner than we think,” I say, pulling away and drying my eyes. Harvey and I were pretty much genetically engineered to become best friends, with our mothers being self-proclaimed sisters after all. I think their plan was to have us get married but I would rather die before I take part in anything so pointless. Besides, it could never be to Harvey. He’s my brother. Ever since we were little, we always planned on running away. In fact, I think the idea was formed under the table of a fancy dinner at some fancy house, both of us bored out of our minds. Of course it was a joke at first, but the older we got the more it became less of a joke. And now it’s very much a reality, it’s just a matter of when.

“I can’t do this much longer Harv. This life. I feel like I’m suffocating and nobody actually gives a shit. Nobody tells me anything, I’m just a joke in this family. I have to go, I have to do it.”

Harvey stares at me for a really long time with his hands on his hips nodding his head. For a moment I think that he is going to bail on me, that he is suddenly going to tell me that he thought all of our planning over the years was just a childhood fantasy, that he actually really likes his comfortable little life and doesn’t want to leave it. But instead, he looks into my eyes and says “what’s the plan then?”

“Well you have access to your savings account, right?”

“So what, I just pay for everything?” Harvey said defensively.

“Obviously not,” I say. “I’m 21 in a few months I can pay you back for everything then.”

“Okay great,” Harvey said. “But that wasn’t really what I was talking about. What I meant was where should we go?”

“I don’t know Harvey, everywhere? Isn’t that what we said when we were kids? That we’d go everywhere?”

“Yeah, but we’re not kids anymore, Tuesday. We have to have some sort of plan if this is going to work. I’m all for spontaneity but we have to have a starting point.”

I roll my eyes and say “I guess you’re right.” We both stand in silence for a moment, thinking about where to start. It’s different when running away is a fantasy, but when it’s actually a possibility the weight of everything seems so heavy.

“I don’t want luxury, Harv,” I say. “I want to actually live, you know? I don’t want private planes and fancy hotels.”

“Neither of us have ever wanted that.”

“Amsterdam.”

“What?”

“Amsterdam. That’s where I want to start.”

“Amsterdam. Really?”

“Sure, why not?” I say, shrugging. “It looked nice in Killing Eve, didn’t it? Other than the whole murder thing. We want to see everywhere don’t we? So why not start there?”

Harvey stands there shaking his head. “Okay,” he says. “Amsterdam it is.”

Chapter Three

“So I hear Henrietta is engaged?” I say over lunch with mother. I watch her as the corner of her mouth does that twitch she does. The one as if she is sucking on something really sour.

“Well, I was going to tell you if you didn’t storm off earlier,” she says, taking a sip from her glass of water. I bite my tongue. Play nice. I say to myself. Just play nice, that’s all you have to do.

“Yeah, I’m sorry about that,” I say in the most sincere voice I can. I hope she can’t tell that I really don’t mean it. “What time is she arriving?”

“Oh, not until later this afternoon. She’s having her engagement photos taken in the garden, I’m sure she’d appreciate if you didn’t make a nuisance of yourself.”

I let the comment slide because of course she is having her engagement photos taken in the god-damn garden. I don’t know why I expected anything less. She has always been like that, growing up she would always find ways to show-off in subtle ways and this wasn’t any different. ‘Oh, where were they shot? Would you believe that they were taken in the back garden of my childhood home? I know, just stunning!’ Typical. I bite my lip to stop myself from laughing.

“I see,” I say. I eye up the food on the table that should really be feeding a family of six, not two people and I try not to think about how much of it is going to waste. When I was young I was constantly scolded for eating too much, how I had to watch my figure and stay healthy, but the thought of wasting food really bothered me and still does. My many suggestions and ideas about our over-consumption were always met with disapproval and comments such as ‘you don't have to worry about that’. But I did. I still do.

“May I be excused? I’d like to freshen up before she arrives,” I lie.  I don’t care about freshening up. Something lights up in mother’s eyes, something like excitement but not quite. She does force a smile though, so I guess she is sort of trying.

“Of course, darling.”

Darling. Gosh, I can’t remember the last time she called me darling. It feels like a punch in the chest. I avoid her gaze as I leave the room and head up the stairs, but instead of turning right towards the closest bathroom, I head left towards Daddy’s closet.

This was my very best hide-and-seek spot when Henrietta and Blanche were actually fun. I hid amongst his suit jackets, breathing in his scent, pretending he was actually there when in reality he never was. I hid there for hours, talking to an imaginary version of him, one that would be there to have imaginary tea parties with me. When Blanche found me that afternoon, she told me Daddy would be furious if he found out because the suits were very expensive. Blanche told me never to go in there again, and I didn’t.

Well, until now.

As the door opens, his cologne hits me and instead of feeling comforting and homely like it used to, it somehow smells bitter and dark. It’s not how I remember it at all. I shake away the memory and head to the cupboard at the very back of the room where daddy keeps all of his stuff that he doesn’t use anymore but refuses to throw away. A vintage leather jacket Mother thinks was thrown out after they got married, all of his fishing equipment and most importantly, rucksacks. I rummage through the small pile and find the biggest one. I feel the same exhilaration as I did from those hide-and-seek days, although this time getting caught would be a disaster rather than a mild inconvenience.  I pull the rucksack out from its position sending some coats and bags toppling over. I throw a coat over the pile, doubting anyone will notice the mess, and when they do I’ll be long gone.

Checking the coast is clear, I tiptoe across the landing and down the first hallway that leads to my bedroom. I really don’t need to be stealthy, this is my house after all and I’m pretty sure nobody else is in this wing of the house but disturbing the silence seems wrong. Like I will somehow be found out if I just make one little sound.

But of course, I don’t get caught. I make it to my bedroom gasping for air because I held my breath all the way over here. I lock my door (Mine and Blanche’s little secret) and enter my wardrobe.

What exactly does someone pack when they are running away from home? Is it even running away? I mean, I’m twenty, I can technically leave whenever I want but do I have a plan? No. Am I prepared for this in any way? Of course not. I don’t even have access to my savings account yet but whatever, it’s fine. One hurdle at a time.

I look at all of the clothes staring back at me and they all seem wrong. Like they belong to someone else. But for now, I guess they will have to do.

I grab at random trousers, blouses, and dresses trying to ignore Blanche’s voice in the back of my mind telling me to fold them, that they’re going to crease. I have no time for folding. I stuff the backpack until nothing else can fit. But where am I going to hide it? I can’t hide it in here, it will be too risky going upstairs and coming straight back down again with a backpack. That’s how people get caught in movies. As I’m looking around the room, the window catches my eye. The window! There is a flower bed on the ground below, the perfect hiding spot. I think about going downstairs and hiding it there myself, but throwing it out the window sounds cooler. I just hope no one is in the room below me. Mother will be furious about the flower beds being ruined, but I guess that won’t be my problem anymore. I open the window and send the rucksack tumbling down towards the ground. It makes a louder thud than I was expecting, but at least it's hidden.

Letting out a deep breath, I head into my bathroom and take a shower. A long one, a really long one.

Chapter Four

“God would you look at her? It’s so pathetic,” I say. 

“Gimme those! I Can’t see,” Harvey says snatching the binoculars off me.

“You don’t have to sound so keen to spy on my sister as she takes her engagement photos.”

She has been outside the greenhouse for an hour. Her new fiance hasn’t appeared in any of the photos thus far, he’s just standing on the sidelines watching Henrietta strike pose after pose after pose. I mean, even a peacock decided to make an appearance in some of the photos for God’s sake! Could she be more like Disney Princess if she tried?

“I can’t believe your sister is getting married,” Harvey says.

“I know,” I reply, but it isn’t that much of a shock to me. Henrietta has been planning her wedding ever since we were little. She kept a scrapbook of her dream wedding. It had everything in there, from the venue, the dress and even the husband, but her fiance doesn’t look much like Dougie from McFly. I bet everything else is exactly what the scrapbook depicts though. She used to slowly turn the scrapbook pages explaining each picture in detail, a huge smile on her face. I guess she forgot about the wedding scrapbook she promised me we would make for my non -existent future husband to be.

“The guy isn’t even that hot, either,” Harvey says. “Like look at him, he’s got this really weird nose. I don’t know what she sees in him.”

“I dunno,” I shrug. “Maybe he’s a really nice guy. That or he’s like filthy rich. Even richer than daddy. That’s probably why they’re making such a big deal out of it.” I get up from my position on the ground and brush the grass off the back of my dress.

“Come on,” I say. “I think we’ve been creepily staring at her for long enough. Let’s go say hi.”

I reach out my hand and he takes it, and just as he is dusting himself off I shout “race ya!” and sprint off down towards the greenhouse. I can hear him calling behind me, complaining that I’m a cheater, but this is payback for all of the times he has done the exact same thing to me.

I win. Duh. And Henrietta looks rather shocked to see her younger sister come crashing through the flowers, gasping for breath.

“Tuesday?” She says.

“Hey,” I say holding my hand up in a wave. She picks up her dress and comes running towards me, pulling me into a hug.

“It’s so good to see you!” She says.

“You too,” I say. “When were you planning on telling me exactly?”

Henrietta rolls her eyes and lets out one of her annoying giggly laughs which are not fake at all.

“It was meant to be a surprise but I guess no one around here knows how to keep a secret.”

“Oh.” I feel my heart twinge a little for assuming she was a total cold-hearted bitch. It turns out it isn’t completely true. “Why is it a surprise exactly?” I say.

“Because you’re going to be my maid of honour, silly!”

“Maid of honour?” I stutter. Great. Just great. It’s like the universe is trying to keep me trapped in this house forever. Just then Harvey comes to a halt beside me, slumped over trying to catch his breath.

“And hello Harvey,” Henrietta says.

“Congratulations,” He manages to say.

“I’m going to be maid of honour, apparently,” I say to him and we both exchange a look. This certainly puts a spanner in the works. A pretty huge spanner.

“Thanks Harvey, are you staying for dinner?” Henrietta asks. Harvey adverts his eyes to me for an answer and I shake my head as slyly as possible.

“Erm, no no I can’t. I’m sorry. My, er, Grandfather has come to visit and we all have this family dinner. What’s the time? I should probably get going really-”

“I’ll walk you out,” I say before Harvey rambles anymore. We walk down the gravel path towards his car at the main gate, and he waits until we are out of earshot before he says.

“So is the plan still on? What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know Harvey, I don’t know!” I hiss. There is no good way out of this. Either way, someone ends up miserable. I stay here and slowly have the life drained out of me for several months, floating through this house like a ghost because Henrietta will take priority. Or I leave tonight as planned and Henrietta makes a huge scene about what an awful person I am. I won’t be here to see it I guess, which makes that option more bearable, does that make me a bad person for saying that?

“Look, assume it’s all going ahead as normal. I’ll text you tonight and let you know, okay? I just… need to... I don’t know, there’s a lot of information.”

“Okay, okay. Let me know,” he says. I give him a smile and watch as he gets into his car drives off down the path. And I’m left with the heavy feeling in my chest wondering what the hell I do next.

Chapter Five

I push my food around my plate at dinner, trying my best to zone out of the third speech of the night about how Henrietta is getting married and how happy everyone is. Nobody looks in my direction. To be fair, Henrietta does look happy, but that’s probably because all of the attention is on her. Considering I’m meant to be her ‘maid of honour’ which, correct me if I’m wrong, is a pretty huge deal. But no one has mentioned that. Not once. I mean, yeah sure, Henrietta is getting married and that’s amazing and blah blah blah but… Surely the maid of honour should be mentioned in at least one of the speeches? Or is that me just being selfish?

“To my sweet, sweet girl, Henrietta. You’ll always be that little girl to me,” Daddy says, raising his glass to her. I don’t touch the champagne in mine, that should be a dead giveaway that something is wrong. I need to keep a clear head.

I look around at these people whom I’m meant to call family and wonder where I fit in. Would they notice if I just slipped away in the night? Would they even care? Would they be glad to see me gone? I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel like a disappointment, like I’m not a burden that they're carrying until I'm at a respectable age to be married off. Do they even know I’m sitting here right now? Does mother have one eye on me making sure I use the correct fork for every meal? Has Daddy noticed that he hasn’t spoken to me since he came home and I’m looking at him, reaching for him, begging for him to just make eye contact with me? But he doesn’t and he hasn’t. Maybe I really am invisible. I force a smile, raise my glass but I don’t drink from it even though I really want to. I’m not a crier, I don’t cry, not even when the animals die in the films. But I really want to cry. I can feel my face getting hot and red. But I hold my breath and count to five just like I was taught to do. I go back to pushing a potato around on my plate until one of the waiters for the night takes it away and replaces it with some fancy looking dessert.

I stare at Henerietta’s fiance, who I learnt an hour ago is called Jack and is some young entrepreneur who made a fortune from some app. I can’t remember which one it is. Not that I really know my sister anymore, but he is not the type of person I would have imagined her with at all. He isn’t from ‘our world’, which is why I’m so surprised that Mother and Daddy have been so accepting of him. But money is money I guess. I thought for a second that he met my eye contact, but it turned out that he was just beckoning the waiter standing behind me over. I have to laugh.

I get up out of my seat as loudly as I can, but still, nobody looks up. I roll my eyes and head up to my room, trying to block out the sound of their laughter as I walk up the stairs.

Chapter Six

My alarm rings at 1:30am but I don’t think I was ever really asleep. I fumble around on the bed for my phone in the dark, turning it off as quickly as I can. I have five missed calls from Harvey, and I text him back saying the plan is still on. I get a thumbs up emoji back.

I change into a new blouse and trousers and open my bedroom door, listening for any signs that someone is still awake. I was expecting to hear the soft humming of voices coming from the dining room, some clinking of glasses and drunken laughter but all I hear is silence. With my shoes in hand I pad down the stairs and into the entrance hall I think I've made it, that I’ve got away with it until I hear a voice say “Tuesday?” behind me.

I turn around and see Henrietta staring back at me, wide-eyed through the moonlight. She’s still wearing her clothes from last night, a half drunk glass of champagne in her hand.

“Still sneaking out I see.”

I suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of guilt and I can’t look into her eyes. “Er, yeah, well trying,” I manage to say.

“Don’t worry I won’t tell Mother and Daddy. Just make sure you’re home before they wake up, okay?”

“Henri-” I say as she turns around starts to walk away. “I’m not… I’m not coming back.”

She turns back sharply to face me, furrowing her brows. “What do you mean you’re not coming back?”

I don’t try to stop myself from crying, it would be pointless. I can already feel tears falling down my cheeks before my brain even registers what is happening.

“I… Can’t stay here anymore, Henri. I just can’t. I feel like I’m trapped, like I’m living someone else’s life. I need to go, I can feel myself going crazy, I just can’t do this anymore. And they can’t stop me, I checked, I just-”

I was expecting for Henrietta to give me a lecture on how irresponsible I’m being, that this would break mother’s heart and I’m being selfish. But instead, she comes up to me and pulls me into a hug, a proper hug. A kind of hug that I don't think she has ever given me before.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” she says into my hair. “I know, it’s okay. It’s okay. I’ll tell them, I’ll tell them.”

My head is starting to hurt, not knowing how it should feel. Confused? Relieved? Grateful? Sad? All of those things all at once?

“Tell Harvey I said to look after you or I’ll kill him,” she says.

“How did you-”

“Oh please,” she says, pushing me out of the hug and wiping the tears from my eyes. “There’s no way you would leave without him.”

Henrietta lets out a sigh, but not the kind that means she’s annoyed. She’s smiling, I think. I can’t really tell in this light. The sigh sounded like she was smiling.

“Just promise me you will be back for my wedding okay? Wherever you are, please?” She says.

“Of course,” I reply.

“Now go on, before we wake up Blanche, I doubt she will be so understanding.”

I give her one last hug and unlock the front door as quietly as I can. I don’t look back, I can’t. I turn myself on autopilot, grabbing my backpack from the darn rosebush and half walk, half jog down the gravel pathway towards the front gate. I think of all the times that Harvey and I would stare up at those big iron gates, plotting our grand escape involving black outfits and fancy spy gear. The escape that seemed impossible didn’t seem so impossible now as it comes into my vision in the distance. I smile because I never imagined all those years of planning and dreaming would come down to me wearing my normal clothes leaving the house with the blessing of my older sister. Who actually seems happy. The iron gates don’t seem so huge now. I see Harvey’s car waiting for me on the other side and I punch in the code to unlock the gates, slinking out of them before they fully open. I slide into the passenger seat of Harvey’s car, and it’s only then that I allow myself to fully breathe again.

“You ready?” He says.

“Yeah, I am,” I reply.