Donna was sitting on the kitchen stool when Delilah walked through the front door.
“Where were you?” she asked without looking up from her coffee mug.
“At-” – Delilah began as she took off her shoes.
“Don’t lie to me,” Donna asked, lifting her head and looking straight at Delilah. “I called your school, and I checked your room. You weren’t in class today, and there is no note under your bed. The window’s closed, too,” she added, getting up from the stool.
Delilah bit her lip. She must have forgotten to leave the note out when she left.
“Kaila and I didn’t feel well, so we stayed home today. It must have been the sushi from last night. Joan came over after school to fill us in,” Delilah said as she shuffled to her room.
“Uhum,” Donna grunted to herself. She decided against telling her daughter that she spoke with Kaila’s mom, who said she had never seen Delilah at her house. Or that Kaila herself confessed that she had never been friends with Delilah.
It was all Daniel’s fault. She ignored his first affair with their nanny, chucking it to a mid-life crisis. Even though she knew he also had one with Heather from accounting, she could not prove it. So, she waited for extramarital affair number three. When she barged into that hotel room when he was supposed to be away on business, Donna got what she came for. Her husband was on top of a blond-haired stranger half Donna’s age.
Since then, Donna and Daniel have been spending weekends together in counseling. They found a therapist in Sweden whom they both liked, and they teleconferenced with him on Saturdays and Sundays. In between the calls, they would sometimes kiss and make out, while other times argue some more.
“If Daniel were a real man, none of this would be happening. I wouldn’t have to be such a bitch, and Delilah wouldn’t be such a rebel,” Donna thought to herself, mixing the mostly gone coffee.
“Is she back?” Daniel asked his wife as he entered the kitchen.
“Uhum,” she responded.
“Is this new?” Daniel asked, pointing at a vase filled with sticks.
“Yes. I couldn’t sit still worrying about Delilah and you at the same time. Shopping calms me down,” Donna replied.
“You have a problem, Donna,” Daniel exclaimed, slamming his fist into the counter before walking back to his office. The doors slammed shut.
Delilah, with her ear still against her bedroom door, jumped, startled. Her father walking away was not the end of this fight, but only the beginning. Donna never allowed anyone to walk away from her without her having the final word. Delilah quickly wiped the tear rolling down her cheek with her sleeve, walked to her bed, and sat down for a moment.
Realizing that she could not stand another argument between her parents, Delilah got up and emptied her backpack. All sorts of wrappers fell out. She then threw the granola bar, banana, and a water bottle from her desk into her bag, zipped it up, and tossed it over her shoulder. She quietly opened her window and climbed out. Having your room on the first floor definitely made things easier for Delilah to sneak out. Still, she watched enough movies to know how to slide down the rain gutter downspout if necessary.
She walked briskly, looking around, making sure that her parents were nowhere near the windows to see her. That was more of a precaution than a legitimate fear. Delilah knew that her parents were too busy trying to gouge each other’s eyes out to be interested in her.
Upon reaching the end of the back yard, she turned around one last time. Most of the lights were now switched on in the house, and muffled shouts could be heard from its direction. Delilah wasn’t sure whether the voices really carried that far or if it was just in her head. Sometimes she swore she could hear her parents argue when she closed her eyes at school.
It was not hard for Delilah to imagine that Mom was currently walking back and forth between the kitchen and Dad’s office, telling him that she does not need his money. After all, Donna earned more than her husband and she reminded him of that whenever she could. She can afford a diffuser, or a lamp, or a painting if she wanted one.
That house was not where Delilah wanted to live. She frowned, wondering if maybe it was not her soul that was stolen, but her mother’s. She pondered the possibility of not being the real Delilah. “What if Delilah’s soul did leave this body when my first photo was taken. Maybe it got lost, and in the meantime, I, a different soul came into this body?”
Unable to come to any helpful conclusions, Delilah turned her back to the house. “I would have left you a long time ago if it wasn’t for Dee,” she remembered her father telling her mother once, during an argument. Delilah could not help but think that they would have been happier without her. An idea came to her and she smiled. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all three of the Cobwebs could be happy? No more arguing. Just peace. She figured she’d ask Mr. Thumper his opinion on the subject. He was so wise.
As Delilah stepped through the gate, she made sure to lock it behind her so no one would know she went that way. Her parents’ screams still echoed in her ears. She had to get away. Picking up her pace, she ran and ran without ever looking behind until she could not run any farther.
Yes, some of you were right – there will be part 4. To those that are still reading this: A big ‘Thank you!’ I hope to see you again next week for the conclusion. Have some burning questions? Come over here next week and you shall find those answers.
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