The Right Guy - Liz Lovelock

I can’t believe I’m back here again.

Stepping into my old bedroom feels like time has warped, like it’s playing some kind of sick joke on me. The smell of musty old things immediately hits my senses. That mold—mixed with some other scent I would rather forget—leeches into me, making me screw up my nose at the disgusting odor that lingers all around me.

White curtains with a lace trim line the windows; only now the trim has browned with age. I quickly walk over, moving them out of the way, and shove the window sash up to let in some fresh air.

As I swing around, I notice the walls are still painted pale pink—well, sort of. The pink has turned into more of an off-pink now, and some of the paint is peeling from the ceiling. Even my original pink bedding from when I was here last is perfectly made on the bed.

That’s going to be the first thing I change.

Why did she not update the decor?

My bags drop from my shoulder and fall to the floor with a heavy thud.

Attempting to find something—anything—that will help me connect with this room and my past, I expel a heavy sigh and close my eyes tightly. Panic stabs right through me as anxiety takes hold, while a memory of the way my father’s loud, angry voice used to echo through these familiar, yet not-so-familiar, walls.

I release my breath and open my eyes, endeavoring to push thoughts of that man far from my mind.

I didn’t have to come here. I could’ve stayed exactly where I was—in a house that now belongs to me, considering my father has passed away. Only, I want nothing to do with that house anymore. That’s why I came here. I need closure because, for years, I waited for my mother to come to me. When she didn’t, it left me feeling inadequate. Lacking. Wanting more from a mother who simply wasn’t able to provide the motherly love when I needed it the most. And quite frankly, she never fought for me.

They say when parents split, it’s the kids who suffer. Well, I most certainly did. I never got to know my mother. My father, a decent man—or so I thought—left with me in tow when I was nine and told me my mother was unfit to take care of me. Now he’s gone, and I’m here with her, ten years later, in her home.

This is not exactly how I remember it, and she has a new family now.

A family I didn’t know existed.

My father lied to me.

Everything he ever told me about my mom was fabricated. He said she was unfit to care for a child and had not one ounce of motherly love in her body.

When he first took me away, I remember begging him to take me back. I missed my mom. I missed her touch. I remember living in this house, and I know these walls hold the answers to my past and where my life all went wrong.

I waited for the day when Mom would show up at my dad’s door to take me back home.

Only, she never came.

I wish I knew all the details of what came to pass, but my father died with his lies, and now I hope my mom can help me discover the truth.

“Are you all settled in?” My mother hovers by the doorway, which makes this whole situation even more uncomfortable than it already is.

Shrugging, I say, “Uh… yeah. Perhaps I need to redecorate.” I smile.

She laughs, a hint of nervousness coming through in the tone. “Oh, yes, of course. I didn’t want to go ahead with changing anything unless you had a say.”

I swallow then reply, “Thanks.”

I stare at her as she twists her fingers nervously, an action I am mirroring. My hands freeze and then drop to my sides. The more I look at her, the more I see myself. And the more I see, the more I want to know her. I have a million questions, but not today. Everything is still so raw, like a graze on my knee that stings every time it’s touched. Only, this graze is on my heart.

Her shining green eyes are masking a shimmer of tears. “Charity, I am sorry about your father. I’m so sorry for failing you. I should have done better.” Her voice cracks, and the lump in my throat returns. It seems to be a permanent fixture lately whenever someone brings him up. That familiar pain, the