By Zoe Moga, TIWP Student
The day her mother slapped her face, Jolene faced a crossroad in her destiny: leave her childhood home or stay and suffer. As Jolene looked out the window in the old Victorian house, the everlasting Tennessee sky seemed larger than life. Stars twinkled while her mother screamed at the old TV set. Pleasant was not a word to describe her childhood. “Jolene fetch me my whiskey!” Jolene’s mother once was a beautiful young woman. Long golden locks. Large almond shaped eyes. Skin as pale as a magnolia petal. That first sip of whisky twenty-four years ago ruined any chance of the perfect life she dreamed of. “Jolene! Get me my bottle right now!” Her husky voice echoed in the large house. At this moment, Jolene realized her fate. She grabbed her suitcase and stuffed it with most of her clothes, a journal, her grandmothers’ picture, a phone book, and a pair of her best Mary Janes. Jolene marched down the stairs. Her face was an odd mixture of fear and determination. “Where are you going child?” Her mother’s blazing brown eyes stared deep into Jolene’s. Anger took over old Savannah Mae’s face. But for the first time in Jolene’s seventeen years of life, she stood up for herself. “I’m leaving mama. And I’m not coming back.”
Jolene stormed out of the house and ran across the field. The sky seemed to speak to her, telling Jolene to grab her fate and take it on the ride of its life. Jolene felt a surge of confidence pulse through her body. She became enraged with everything. Her mother, the house, anything and everything from her youth. Jolene turned to the old Victorian house and screamed. Anger turned to sadness. Sinking to the ground, Jolene choked out a sob. A blast of wind slapped her on the cheek just like her mother had did and Jolene sunk down lower. Her vision became blurry with memories of her sick childhood blocking Jolene’s sanity. Memories of when her mom first hit her. Memories of every time Jolene’s mom asked for a second drink. Then a third. Then a fourth. The house stood there haunting Jolene, mimicking her pain. As Jolene closed her eyes, her life flashed before her. Every moment she had ever experienced shifted around her. Tears streamed down Jolene’s cheeks like a rushing river. The current became too strong for her to handle. Emotions were reaching higher and higher, breaking the atmosphere and crushing any limit ever set. Blood rushed to Jolene’s head and she howled in agony. The pain overwhelmed Jolene. It wasn’t a physical pain but an emotional one. Savannah Mae took away her childhood, her life, her happiness. Her mother committed a crime only the most broken people can commit. Jolene pushed herself off the grass and summoned all the strength she had ever had. She stood her ground like a lion. For one last time in her life, Jolene looked at the broken down Victorian house with large bay windows, its pointed rooftops, and a lifetime of pain.
“This is my world Mama, and I am going to live in it.”