The well-worn leather journal rests on her lap as the frighteningly familiar scenery flashes by. It doesn’t matter that this is the place where Liz grew up. It doesn’t matter that, until her senior year of high school, she was perfectly happy here. Liz still refuses to open her eyes.
“Car sickness,” she said by way of excuse, to defuse suspicions or worried glances from her fiancé. Boyfriend. Life partner. She isn’t honestly sure what to call Eric, because she’ll never get married.
The truth is Liz would rather be anywhere else in the world right now. Ten years of avoidance down the drain.
Liz’s sole comfort is the journal in her lap. She clutches it like a lifeline as the car drives toward her childhood home. A family reunion. All seven kids back together for an anniversary party.
Whose crazy idea was this?
She had been all for a party. She had not been okay with the reunion. She had not condoned returning to Columbus, suburbs or otherwise. Jackie had been on her side. The younger five used the argument that this would be good for the healing process.
If ten years of being not here haven’t healed things yet, a family reunion definitely isn’t going to help either.
No. A whole week of concerned stares and questions and forcing repressed memories is not going to help. Liz is positive of that.
“We’re here,” Eric announces, folding the directions and reaching into the backseat to nudge awake their young daughter, Sara, who fell asleep only fifteen minutes ago.
Liz finally opens her eyes and stares at the house. It hasn’t changed in all these years. Perhaps a new layer of paint, but it looks the same as it did when Liz was seventeen.
Seventeen. The year Liz doesn’t want to remember.
She closes the journal, her one constant comfort. A journal much like it got her through that year…
Liz pushes the thought out of her mind, takes a deep breath, and opens the car door, taking the first step toward memories she knows she’ll have to relive but that she’d rather just forget. Forever.