The road was quiet. It was the quietest she’d ever known it. As the clouds rolled in casting a dark shadow across the asphalt surface, the wind began to pick up. Fall leaves whirled in the wind, her hair wild around her face and in her eyes. She stood alone at the end of the street, waiting. But she knew not what for.
Carla was alone. She was always alone now. Carla’s family had moved on without her, she only being a far off thought in their busy lives. She stood gazing up at the darkened sky. She hadn’t felt this way in a long time. Dread, the feeling beating at her like the waves crashing on the rocks, wearing away the stone bit by bit. Carla hadn’t felt dread since that night in the dark, that night after the arguments with her parents. She’d walked out of their lives, forever.
Carla was a normal teenage girl. She was clever, popular in school, the apple of her parents’ eye, the oldest sibling. She had a plan for her life and her parents made sure she stuck to it. That Monday morning she dressed for school as usual. Her uniform laid out on her bed by her mother, pressed and ready. Carla showered thinking of the mundane drivel which would be the highlight of her friends’ day; who’s dating who? Who was seen with whom at the cinema? Who was in detention for smoking behind the bicycle shed? She knew she would have to listen to all of this and pretend to care, all day long, passing comments and faking a smile. She lathered her thick brunette mane and rinsed as she considered her essays due in that day. Carla knew absolutely that they were all perfect. She’d spent weeks on them, re-reading them over and over, spell-checking and editing every day. Her school work was her prize. All her friends didn’t believe that she did it alone, without help; she was destined for greatness her teachers said. Carla knew she was. It was all in the plan.
Carla dressed making sure her striped tie was knotted exactly right and her blazer had all her favourite pens in the inside pocket, ready for when she needs them. She buckled her shoes and straightened her socks, heading for the stairs. She met her mum, dad and young sister eating breakfast in the kitchen, her dad was hidden behind a large newspaper, her mum bustling around the coffee machine and her sister doodling in her school book. None of them much noticed that Carla had entered the room. She sat at the breakfast bar and studied them inquisitively over her mug of steaming black coffee, savouring its addictive aroma, she laughed inwardly.
Susan and her husband, David, were the typical husband and wife. He went out to work whilst the housewife stayed home ensuring all was ready for the breadwinner’s return. Susan was a member of the PTA and women’s church group and always wore pearls. David was quiet and liked to play golf on the weekends with his corporate team; he was a banker, or an investor, or something; Carla wasn’t really sure, only it was to do with money, lots of money. They didn’t really talk about his work. At the dining table her mum would tell them about her day, grocery shopping, the ladies’ lunch and all that, they would ask Carla about school and her classes, they would chat with her little sister about her music lessons and how she liked school; things of no consequence, nothing intimate. Susan and David had no idea what was happening in Carla’s life and Carla liked it that way. After all, she was 16, she was allowed to have some secrets.