Mia's secret is one that she doesn't just keep from other people, she also avoids it herself. Even her mother seems to be forcing the harsh memories from her mind and refusing to talk to Mia. They would both rather not have to think about it, but Mia's unanswered texts are beginning to dig their way into her heart, and it turns out her mom is keeping something as well. Soon, they might be forced to face the tragic accident of their past.
I was pacing the hallway outside my dorm room with my phone pressed against my ear. It rang over and over again as I held my breath, synchronously wishing that she would answer and that she wouldn’t. This was how it was whenever I tried to call her now. I sighed as it turned me over to her voicemail. After the beep, indicating I should start my message, I had to take a few breaths before I could get my voice to work. “Hi Mom,” I said. Those two simple words sent my heart racing.
“It’s Mia, and I uhh…” My mouth went dry and I couldn’t think of words. I took another breath and forced myself to keep going. “Well, I just wanted to say that I miss… them. And I miss you too. I wish you would answer this. It’s okay if you don’t want to talk to me, but… if you get this, please just let me know you’re alright? I… can’t lose anyone else.” As soon as I said the last sentence, I regretted it. I was supposed to be calling just to check on her, but I always found myself spilling all my inner thoughts. I was bad at lying and I always had been, which was one of the things I found most annoying about myself.
I tucked my phone into the pocket of my jacket and headed back into my dorm room. I needed to be around Caitlin and Josie who always managed to distract me, even though they didn’t know about all my family drama. Josie was a year older than me, and Caitlin was a year older than her. We’d done track together for a few years when we were younger, and it was pure chance that we’d ended up in a dorm together. Traditionally roommates were all in the same year, but since Caitlin and Josie were sisters, they’d been allowed to be together, and then I’d come mid-year and there’d been no other dorm available.
Our dorm room was really big, like the rest of the school. There were two different small bedrooms- each made for two people- that connected to a kitchen and common area, and we even had our own bathroom. Caitlin and Josie shared one room, while I had the other. Our common space was decorated with colorful art on the walls and fluffy pillows on the couch, but all the decorations came from Caitlin and Josie. Even my room was bare compared to theirs, with just a stack of books on a shelf, and plain gray sheets on my bed.
I grabbed my textbooks and sat at the table to work on my homework, desperate for a distraction from the latest call my mom had ignored. “Hey, you okay?” Caitlin asked, shifting her body from her position on the couch to look at me.
I shook my head, trying to brush my disappointment away, and smiled. “Yeah, thanks.”
“Do you want to come sit with us?” Josie asked, standing behind me and looking at the math laid out in front of me. “We’re about to watch Hamilton for the twentieth time. And I made popcorn!” She held out the bowl filled with popcorn, offering me some.
“Tempting,” I laughed, taking a few pieces. “But this is due tomorrow.”
“Ah, okay. Well, the offer remains if you need a break.”
And I did end up joining them after an hour of frustrating math. I didn’t even know how many times I’d already seen the movie, but the familiarity of it was comforting. And it got my mind off my mother for the night too, so I was able to sleep well.