Zoe Parker Ch. 02byBrokenMasterpiece©
Ch. 2 - The Addiction
The large rain drops splashed off of the top of the deep brown casket. The irony of a rainy day funeral was lost on Zoe Parker as she stared at the wooden box that held her deceased mother. Zoe observed the twenty or so people who decided to attend the burial ceremony. The small crowd creating a semi circle around the casket consisted of mostly people from her neighborhood smattered with a few of her mother's old friends. All of them had known Sandra Parker during the better years of her life. All of them seemed to have abandoned her over the past three years as she slipped deeper and deeper into her own personal void.
"Hypocrites," Zoe thought to herself. She could feel the bitterness and contentment building within her. The only emotion she had felt since she had finally left laying next to her just perished mother was hate. Being around this gathering of people was doing nothing to reverse that.
That feeling dwelled within her now as she looked over the people who disregarded her mother when she needed them the most. Those people who did not find a need to attempt to rescue her mother from the vices that ruined her life. They did show up however when those demons finally took it.
Hate is a powerful thing and Zoe felt nothing but that for these people. The seed had been planted six days before when she finally left her mother's side after being there for two hours and travelled next door to inform her neighbor. That seed was slowly watered as the police came to her home, roped off the house, and drew the attention of the entire block. They all gawked and stared. They passed their judgments and make their demeaning remarks. They were there to see her body wheeled out covered by a thin white sheet. None of them cared when she was alive, when she needed them the most. But they all stood at the pew of righteousness feeling better about who they were as people because they weren't the ones suffering.
"Damn them," Zoe had swore in her head. That seed of hate so quickly became a sprout and over the next six days leading to the funeral it would grow rapidly. She hated her father, Robert Parker, who couldn't make the trip the day he got the call, forcing her to stay with the neighbors she barely knew and who obviously felt so inconvenienced by her being there. He hated her step mother, Victoria, and her daughter, Gabrielle, for coming along. Neither Zoe or her mother had ever met the two but somehow they pretended to care enough to attend the funeral.
Having met them for the first time just eight hours earlier had given her time to hate other things about them. She hated Victoria's shallow, fake smile when she met someone. She hated Gabrielle's almost perfect blonde hair and beautiful features that donned too much makeup for her fifteen year old face. Gabrielle was only two years older than Zoe but with her overdone cosmetics and revealing, fashionable clothes she looked to be seventeen. Zoe, with her dark hair and humble looks, with her baggy sweatshirts and outdated jeans was the exact physical opposite. Right away Zoe hated Gabrielle for that.
Hate's an interesting thing. As Zoe stood there among the funeral's attendance, in between her father and stepmother, all she could feel was hatred. It didn't matter that her dead mother was about to be lowered into the ground. Emotions can be drugs. For three years Zoe was a constant user of sadness. When her mother died sadness was no longer effective. She needed a hard drug. That drug was hate and she was addicted.
* * *
The drive to her father's house was unbearable. Gabrielle with her stylish pink cell phone that slid open three different directions sat next to Zoe and had been talking for three straight hours. If you could call that talking. Zoe had lost count of the amount of "OMG's" and "WTFs" sputtered by her bubbly step sister. It had also been a drive of empty one sided conversation with her step mother so far.
"We are happy to have you live with us," Victoria commented to Zoe with so much fake sweetness it almost gave her a cavity.
"I'm happy too, Zoe," said her father. The first words he had spoken directly to her since her funeral.
"We had to rearrange Vicki's angel room and turn it into a bedroom for you but it was no big deal," her dad remarked kindly.
"Not for you maybe but you try putting together a room for a teenage girl with such short notice. I didn't have time to pain. I didn't have time to pick out new drapes. I didn't have time to do ANY real decorating. Not to mention finding a suitable place for my babies," her stop mother shot at her father.
Zoe muttered confused, "Babies?"
"Victoria collects porcelain angels and had the whole room filled with them. It's ok though. You needed the room more," her dad informed her.
Through the rearview mirror Zoe could see her stepmom roll her eyes at her dad's last sentence. Her dad continued, "It's not much. A dresser and a bed. A small night stand and a lamp. We'll work on making it more to how you want it as you get settled in. Maybe decorate it with those silly kittens you love."
"I haven't been into kittens since I was eigh....." Zoe began to reply but was almost immediately interrupted by Victoria blurting out.
"Kittens?! Robert, please. No girl in my house is going to decorate her room with kittens. I was already planning some really modern color patterns with......." Victoria trailed off as Zoe stopped listening. She could see her stepmother become exuberant talking about the interior design of her new room. Zoe didn't care so she drowned her out.
The second three hours of the trip had been easier on Zoe. Victoria put on a thick cloth beauty mask and fell asleep. Gabrielle switched from talking on the phone to clicking away at its keyboard and listening to the white ear buds of her bright pink iPod. Her father drove silently as her listened to the low drones of a sports talk show on the radio. Zoe studied her father through the mirror. The past three years had changed him. He was tan and leaner. He seemed to have lost the goofy, carefree demeanor Zoe knew for so long growing up. It appeared to have been replaced with a heavy sense of seriousness and almost a detachment from everything and everyone around him. It was almost like he was drowning out the world.
"I miss mom," Zoe blurted out. She didn't know why she said it. She didn't plan to say it. It just came out. Immediately as the words escaped her lips she felt dumb for saying it in this care, around these people. Then she heard another voice from the front of the care.
"Me too," she heard her father say solemnly. Zoe looked at him through the rearview mirror. She saw his eyes filled with deep sadness. The kind of sadness you feel only after a horrible loss. Then she saw it, her father's eyes fill with tears as a couple dropped to his shirt. He quickly rubbed his eyes and reached to the radio turning the volume up.
Maybe Zoe didn't hate him so much after all.
* * *
Zoe caught herself nodding off as they pulled down her father's road. Their road. The reality just hit her that this was now the street that her new home was on. Everything in her life was still in a constant state of change. So it was a bit surreal as the car passed through the middle class neighborhood, filled with clean white picket fences and neatly trimmed, perfectly clean lawns.
They came to a stop in the nicely paved, light gray driveway. To the left of the car was a basketball hoop. In front was the white door to a two door garage. Attached to the garage was a beautiful 3 bedroom white house with navy blue shutters. It looked like something out of a magazine. Suburban paradise.
Zoe slung her canvass duffel bag over her shoulder as she exited the car. It's amazing how light the bag was considering it held everything she owned. Except for one thing, her purple fuzzy monkey amigo Roger, who was tucked under her left arm. As she approached the house via the concrete walkway she clutched him so tight that if he were alive he surely would have suffocated by now. Step by step, slowly she came to the navy blue front door. She stood there, directly across from it and just stared.
Everything looked so perfect to Zoe. The shutters and door matched to the exact perfect hue. The driveway was absent of a single crack or blemish. The grass was green, the sky blue, and in the distance she could hear the chirping of birds. Zoe had been living a nightmare and now she stood in what seemed to be a dream.
She was snapped to reality as Gabrielle rushed by her, bumping her shoulder hard and sending her sprawling forward. Zoe was just able to catch her footing and not meet the concrete front step face first.
"Why don't you and your stupid ape watch out," her step sister said with bitterness.
Zoe collected herself and looked Gabrielle up and down. So many violent thoughts bounced around her head. Thoughts of pulling that perfect blond hair out of her skull were the most prominent. For even just a moment Zoe had taken a break from that dark personal realm of hate. But like an old friend, it had returned. With that feeling brewing within her she entered the house. Able to control those temptations to inflict pain and torture upon her step sister she closed the front door behind her already so cynical and doubtful that this new life could be any better than the last.