**Trigger warning: light mentions of sexual abuse, please do not read if this is a trigger for you.
“Yo man, I’m about to pull a mum move here and say that we can’t eat on the lounge unless there’s a towel down,” you mumbled through a mouthful, gesturing to Mrs Craig as she walked to your new lounge.
“Ah yes,” she said with a chuckle, “the ‘new furniture’ rule.”
“Mmhmm,” you hummed, putting your bowl down on the bench and running off to the room to grab a towel.
Once you returned and set it up you and Mrs Craig sat down for a good chat.
“I was born into a lovely family. I loved my dad, my mum was beautiful, my little sister was a lot younger than me… by, 14 years? But she was very sweet.”
“And?” you quizzed her, “so far I don’t see any
similarities between you and I.”
“Wait for it,” Mrs Craig said, taking another mouthful of food and chewing on it a little before swallowing and continuing, “then my dad died in a car accident. We were all shattered, my mum especially. She changed… and because I was a little older and at school most of the day I don’t think I coped as much of her outbursts as my younger sister did.”
“Sorry to hear that,” you said softly.
“It’s ok,” Mrs Craig said gently, “about 6 months later my mum bought home a new man. I didn’t like him from the first second that I met him but my mum kept insisting that he was a wonderful person.”
“Gut instinct is always correct,” you said knowingly and Mrs Craig nodded.
“They got married after 3 weeks and he moved in. That’s when he started sneaking into my room at nights… I don’t need to say any more for you to understand what was going on.”
You nodded sadly, the mac and cheese not tasting as good now.
“I tried to tell mum what he was doing to me and that I feared he might be doing the same thing to my younger sister but she got really defensive and then started blaming me for anything he was doing to me. She never denied that he was doing it, she just shifted the blame.
“For a while I started to make sure I was completely covered from head to toe. Not a piece of skin showing but he kept coming into my room. Pretty soon I realized that it wasn’t the clothes I was wearing that was causing him to do these things to me so I ran away.”
You nodded, placing your bowl down to listen to her story without distraction.
“I felt bad,” she continued, “because I left my sister at home… she was only 3 at the time and I have no doubts that he started abusing her because I had left.”
Your face contorted with pain, feeling very empathetic towards her and her sisters situations.
“I went to the streets and feel in with a gang. They looked out for me but we got into a heap of trouble,” she said with a sad head shake, a bit of a smirk pulling at her lips as well, “but after being caught stealing or selling drugs about 5 times the police took me to an orphanage.”
“Lucky you didn’t end up in jail!” you said with relief.
“I was close to being locked up, but begged for any other option… and that was the other option, so I took it.”
“So how long were you in the orphanage for then?” you asked.
“Only a short time. I hated everyone in there but they were always nice to me. I was just an really angry person.”
“Understandable,” you said with a chuckle, finally taking another mouthful of food.
“A foster family took me in. Mother, father and a younger brother. They put up with so much… nastiness—,”
“Just say shit,” you interjected, “they put up with so much shit from you…”
“Well yes, they did… but they showed me unconditional love and slowly I got my life together.” She smiled.
“That’s such a sweet ending,” you said with a smile, “do you know anything about your biological family? Did your step-dad ever get jailed? Did you try and save your sister?”
“I’ve tried so many times to find them but I can’t seem to locate them. I really want to see my younger sister again, Apologize at least… but I doubt I’ll ever have the chance,” she said softly, “I just hope [your mother’s name] is doing well.
“Woah,” you said with a laugh, “that’s my mum’s name…”
Mrs Craig looked up at you and stared.
“Sorry?” she asked in a strained voice.
“That’s…” your voice trailed off and you quickly did the age maths, still staring back at her,
“holy SHIT. No. Fuck. No, you’re not serious, NO?”
You got up off the lounge and started pacing back and forth with your hands clutched to your head, fingers intertwining into your hair.
“Y/N… Y/N? Is it her?” Mrs Craig asked urgently, “please. Do you have a picture? PLEASE?”
You stopped your pacing and looked up at her,
freezing in place for a few seconds then bolting for your phone.
With shaking hands, you unlocked your home screen and flicked to your camera roll.
Scrolling back to earlier in the year, you settled on a picture that you had taken of your mum when you had gone to renew her drivers license. She wanted to ‘practice’ on your phone and had taken a few pictures.
“Here,” you said, handing your phone to Mrs Craig.
She took it in her hand.
Looked at it.
And broke down immediately, taking your emotions down with her.
“Is it her?” you wailed, sobbing empathetically with her, “is my Mum your younger sister?”
She nodded while wailing, reaching out to embrace you.
You shared a long hug, both ruined by this sudden reveal and not really knowing how else to process it.
“Is she ok?” Mrs Craig finally choked out.
“No ” you sobbed, “no… she’s not, but she’s away from my dad now so I hope she’ll be better.”
“Y/N, what happened to her? This is all my fault, I should have taken her with me.”
“You cannot blame yourself for this! This is just a really shit situation and you were only young yourself. I know where Mum is. Would you want to see her?”
“I… I think so? But I just need to think about this.”
“Understandable,” you replied, trying to calm yourself down, “I’d need to check first too… I don’t know what kind of therapy she’s in.”
“I’m so sorry, Y/N, I had no idea that we would be…”
“Related? Yeah, me either,” you replied with a sob-hitched chuckle, wiping your eyes again, “so you’re my aunty then?”