The night my mother left my step dad and fled north to canada was one of the greatest days of my life.
But it was also one of the scariest as well.
All my life I've lived in the city of Cleveland, my mother worked as a receptionist at a local law firm and I was in my third year of high school. My mother and I never gone out of our city, ever. My step dad wouldn't allow any venturing, and if ether my mother and I had tested him, the discipline would be swift.
My Mom had been married to Jared Authors for 12 years, since I was 5, and all I can remember of Jared is that he was a man who was shinny and good on the outside, but rotten and foul on the inside. My mother and Jared met the old classical way, my mom had a flat on the side of the road and played the damsel in distress while Jared played the hero in shinning armor. Six months later they wed at the same church my daddy and mom got married in, and where he was buried in the back, with my moms plot right next to his. I still wonder if he rolled over in his grave that day, with a broken heart. If not, I'm sure his heart broke a year later when good ol' Jared came home drunk and decided to take out his anger on my mom. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was in the living room coloring my homework, we were coloring all the states in the united states of america and I was just finishing coloring Florida purple, not blue, because blue was the ocean and we weren't allowed to color any of the states blue. Jared came in slurring and falling all over the place, it was barly even six o clock at night and he looked me.
"Where's dinner Olivia!" He demanded from me. I just looked up, my mouth hanging wide open catching flys. "Damn it Olivia, where is dinner? Don't you, or your mother know that dinner is supposed to be ready when the man of the house gets home?"
I remember not understanding what he was talking about and feeling scared all over. I dropped my purple crayon on the floor from fear, such a simple thing made his more angrier.
He picked up the crayon and his hand made a fist over the purple wax, I heard it break in half, than heard it crumble in his hands even more. MY heartbeat quickened and I tried to make myself small, so maybe he would leave me alone. I sulked in my chairs and slid half way down a bit, trying to disappear. I focused my eyes on my homework and traced the purple state with my fingers.
"Look at me!" Jared snarled, his face turning red with bubbling anger. Jared walked towards me, his hand aggressively grasped my should before a hammering fist smacked down on the table, on my beautiful rainbow u.s.a. His hands contracted, grasping my homework in his hands before he crunched it up in his fists.
"No! Thats my homework, I had to hand it in tomorrow!" I cried, hot tears now seeping out of my eyes.
"Enough!" Jared shouted, his hand angrily came down punching the table once more. "You stupid girl, shut up! It's time you learn some respect!"
Jared still had a hand on my shoulder, but his other hand raised. I wanted to scream but I kept thinking to myself, don't bring mama into this, you don't want her to get hurt. I cringed away, and put my head into my shoulder before i let out a sniffle of fear, thats when I heard my mama come out of her bedroom and walk into the living room.
"Jared!" I heard my mom say in surprise and in anger. "Get your drunken hands of my daughter, or I will kill you!"
I felt the pressure from my shoulder being released and I took that opportunity to run to my Mama. I ran into her stomach and cried out like I had never cried before. I was still so scared of him, and he was still only feet away from me and my mama. I felt her quiver from fear and anger from under me.
"Livy baby." She said trying to be calm. "Go into your room, okay? Mama has to talk to Jared alone."
I did as I was told even though I was still to scared to be alone. I wanted her with me, and I didn't want her to get hurt from Jared, but my mothers pleading eyes sold me, and I ran to my room, and slammed the door. I ran to my bed and hid under the sheets and sobbed. I tried not to listen at the screaming outside my door, so I sung the song my Daddy used to sing to me, then I prayed, which was very unusual for me.
"Please god, don't let Mama get hurt." I cried out loud trying to drown out the screaming from beyond my door. "Please, please, please let us be safe. I'll do anything, I'll pray every night, and I'll do all my homework, and I'll be so good for Mama."
I wasn't sure how long they had been fighting for because I had eventually talked myself into sleeping, but later on that night my Mom had slipped into my bed and cradled me into her arms. I pretended as I was still asleep because I was still so darn afraid.
"Oh Livy." My mother cried. "Baby I'm sorry, I love you."
"Mama, I'm scared." I managed to say through a daze.
"Oh Livy hunny, I promise you, if he ever touched you, I will leave him so fast." I heard her say.
I had always remembered that promise, and she must have threatened Jared with it as well because he never did lay a hand on me until just a week ago, and my mother did keep her promise from years eleven years ago, she woke me up in the dead of night one day when Jared was at one of his mistresses and we stole away in my mothers other baby, a 1982 camaro.
My aunt Jody, who was a police officer with Ohio police force met us outside of town, with a yellow folder in her hands. She didn't look too worried until I stepped out of the car, and the evidence of Jared's beating red raw on my neck. Her face flushed as she faced my mother.
"I can't believe you let it get to this Abbey." My aunt Jody said to my mother. "What would Caleb say think?"
"Caleb is dead Jody!" My mom cried.
Aunt Jody was my fathers twin sister, and even though they weren't identical they still looked very much the same, black hair and green eyes. I looked more like my aunt Jody then my mother who had brown curly hair, and brown eyes. The only qualities I had of my mothers was the curly hair, and the petit figure while my aunt Jody was tall and broad.
"Listen, I see this all the time." Aunt Jody said as she paced infront of the cruiser. "But you had to do exactly what I say is that clear?"
My mother nodded.
"I had one of my guys check out on Jared and he is not allowed to cross the border into Canada." Aunt Jody told us. "So I called Chuck's cousin Betty and they found you a place to rent until we can put Jared behind bars."
"I didn't know uncle Chuck had family in Canada?" I asked aunt Jody, Chuck was her husband.
Aunt Jody looked at me and laughed. "Yea hun he's from a place called Gavin Hills, it's in northern Ontario, it's kinda in the bush."
For some reason the though of living in the bush would be way worse then living with Jared. I had never gone camping, nor had I ever been even though what they call "the bush." Was I going to have to go hunt for food? The thought of killing an animal made my stomach sick. I looked at my mother who was probably thinking the same thing I was, but she needed to be away from Jared, and I would have to be the strong one here.
"Will I go to school?" I asked.
"Yes of course silly." Aunt Jody laughed. "In Canada you have to go to school until your at least 18, so you still have a year to go until you try that one."
Aunt Jody gave my mother directions, Canadian cash, and all the legal documents we would need to live in Canada and attend school and find jobs. Then my aunt Jody pulled me into a big embrace.
"Your Dad would be so proud of you Livy baby!" She told me, her green eyes watery with tears. "And I promise you, that no good loser Jared will be put behind bars if it's the last thing I do!"
"I love you Aunt Jody." I told her hugging her one last time.
"I love you too Livy Love." She told me back and kissed me on the forehead.
Gavin Hill was a whooping 7 hour drive from Cleveland. After we passed Toronto it was mostly country, trees grew everywhere and I watched as civilization passed behind me. It was like entering a new world, there were times where just my mothers cherry red camaro would be on the stretch of high way. For the first time in my life i had seen a heard of deer grazing out in a field, my mother and I actually pulled over to car to watch them. Heavens, the only time i had actually ever seen a deer was in bambi and when i went to Ohio zoo when i was seven.
When we reached Gavin Hill, i was oddly surprised. It had a grocery store, a catholic and a public school, small little shops on the main street, and a big grand postal office connected to town hall.
In my mothers directions given from aunt Jody it said we'd have to pick up out keys from the real estate office in town. So my mother and I pulled into the little parking lot and walked into the tiny little building. A bell dinged as the we entered the office and a plump little lady came waddling towards us.
"You must be Abbey and Olivia Halls, I'm Betty Lee, Chuck's cousin. So glad to meet you!" Betty said with a big smile.
While my mother was signing and chit chatting with Betty i decided to go for a walk down the street to check out the high school. It was a warm October day, with a cool breeze. The street was decorated with old fashion lights that looked like they still had to be lit by hand, but as i studied them closer I discovered they were electric. To get to the high school I had to pass by town hall, and as I did i noticed a big golden plac decorated on a golden and green bench that matched the street lights. The plac said:
"In memory of those who died on the arctic shuttle, flight 201
and to those who survived and made it home safe
The Arctic shuttle flight 201 crashed on it's corse to Alaska on JAnuary 21st 2006
on the flight was 45 of our Gavin Hill boys hockey team
On February 14th 2006, the plane was found in north of Alberta
15 dead, and 30 survived."
I wondered if those who survived still lived in town as i continued to walk to the school. When i reached the school some of the kids were just starting to arrive. I wondered who would be in my year as I watched all the kids walk up the the beautiful school. It seemed that even though were were in "the bush" there were still a lot of people, especially teenagers.
When i walked back to the office i walked in on a very interesting conversation going on between my mother and Betty.
"Jody said you had receptionist experience." Betty asked my mother as i slipped into the chair beside my mom.
"Yea, I went to school for it before i met Caleb." My mother said as she sipped a mug of what smelled like coffee.
"Well, our receptionist Cindy Dee is leaving on maternity in a few weeks, maybe we will give you a call." Betty told my mom.
I watched as my moms face lit up. I knew that she was worried about how we would survive if she didn't have a job to go to, and now that she didn't have to work at a coffee shop and she had a chance to be a receptionist and have some sort of her normal life back she was beaming.
Betty handed my mother the keys to our new home. "Your landlord is named Marley McCabe, she's got two sons and is a very nice lady, so don't be afraid to ask her for anything."
We left the office briefly after and stopped for a quick lunch before we arrived to our new home. I was surprised when we drove up the gravel path and saw a big grand house made of brick and stone. Beside the house was a smaller cottage that looked like a log cabin, our new home.
Inside the small cottage it was beautiful. A big fireplace welcomed us, with plants and dark wooden furniture. The kitchen was even nicer, the appliances were all stainless steel and the countertops were marble with a nice dark cherry finish on the drawers and doors. My room was painted yellow and blue with a white dresser with a grand mirror attached.
We didn't bring much with us, mostly our valuables, like the teddy my daddy got my for my first birthday, my ipod, and all my clothes, so it didn't take much time to unpack.
I fell asleep sooner after, dreaming of a luscious forest, with deer and thumper the rabbit.