by Luke Worthington
Rach gazed up at the stars. They were much clearer out here in the country. Even just an hour’s walk out of the little town, you could see them so much better without the light pollution. The sky seemed so open, so bright. It made her feel so free. The opposite of everything she’d left to come out here.
She couldn’t wait to go home. Her mother would slap her if she heard her call Madrid home. But she felt at home there. Her friends, her flatmates, her boyfriend. They were all there. Her things, her job, her flat, her whole life. There was nothing for her here. Family, she supposed. But what was that when she was sitting out in a field in the freezing cold at one in the morning, just to avoid going back to a fight. She’d come “home” to see them, and to escape the oppressive heat, and she was already beginning to regret it. She’d rather melt.
She was under her mother’s roof three days and she’d already had two fights with her sister. Stupid shit really, she couldn’t even remember what had started them. But they were too good at pushing each others’ buttons after twenty years’ practice. She’d accepted a while ago that they would never get along, but even when she tried to shut an argument down, sometimes, her sister just wanted a fight. She knew it shouldn’t, but it got to Rach.
She checked her phone: two missed calls from her mother. She felt guilt churn in her stomach. It tore her up to see the two of them like this. But she wasn’t ready to talk to anyone just yet. She wanted to gaze into the stars just a little while longer, let the damp from the grass seep just a little further through her jeans, before she started back. She wanted to forget that she was even going back.
She’d spent most of the previous week nervous about coming. She knew what was going to happen. Her mother had even said not to feel obliged. Rach knew that she’d understand if she hadn’t come. She also knew it would crush her, to think that her daughter felt uncomfortable even staying a few days in her home. That was why she was there, stomaching it. It was why she’d be back for her birthday, why she’d be back for Christmas. It was why she knew she’d be back sitting under these same stars before long.
But she would come back. It would suck. She’d fold in two with nerves beforehand. And she’d fight with her sister. But she’d be back. She was sat out under the stars because it felt bright, and open, and free. Because it reminded her of home. And she was “home” because it gave her mother that same feeling. An escape. Like everything was back to normal. Like she was back in the home she missed.