When Chloe was three years old, her parents divorced. Actually, they were never married so they only could be considered “breaking up”, leaving Chloe to live with her mom on the weekdays and her dad on weekends.
Her dad’s was pretty normal. He met a woman named Kaylee, who was about five or six years younger than he was. Chloe didn’t know that at the time.
Kaylee seemed amazing, every time Chloe would go to her dad’s house, Kaylee would give her a present. It would always be small, like a necklace or a charm bracelet, but Chloe always held onto them. Kaylee was also very beautiful. She was kind and funny,she made up nicknames for Chloe. Yes, Kaylee was amazing until she wasn’t.
Chloe was four, she believes, when it first happened. It was a saturday tradition to let their chef have a day off so Chloe and her father could make pizza. They would go to the nearest store, buy already made dough, pizza sauce, cheese, and enough toppings for five pizzas. Her father had to be on a business trip, leaving Chloe alone with Kaylee for the first time. There was a call from her father, Chloe spent most of the call talking to him, and Kaylee didn’t get as much time. “We’re going to the store soon?” Chloe asked after Kaylee hung up the phone.
Kaylee glared at Chloe, it was a harsh glare that Chloe wished she could unsee, to this day it haunted her, making her feel small in every nightmare. Kaylee stepped closer, backing Chloe into a wall. “You are just so selfish .” she began, “You’re taking him away from me little girl, you have to be punished.” Kaylee growled.
Chloe doesn’t remember what happened after that. Her mother said she called, begging to be picked up and crying over the phone in a hushed whisper in the dead of night, but truthfully, Chloe remembers nothing else from that trip
She remembers the events after. Whatever Kaylee did, Chloe had already forgotten, but was strangely afraid. Kaylee decided to take her to Chuck E Cheese, mainly so her father could work. They lived in an apartment that was so high off the ground, and to a five year old, Chloe was terrified for falling. She stepped slowly down every stair, holding onto the railing for dear life. Halfway down, Kaylee grew impatient. She remembers her hand being ripped from the railing and being pushed down half a flight of stairs, crying while having cuts and bruises all over her.
The rest of the time spent at her dad’s she doesn’t remember. Apparently Kaylee and her father fought a lot, and Chloe would call her mom every night she was there to distract herself. But it should still be fine, right? She hoped her dad would wake up to see how awful she really was.
He did the opposite. Chloe remembered it being dark. She remembered looking UP and not seeing a star in the sky, grasping onto her dad for dear life. “You can’t go with her!” The now six year old Chloe wailed. “You’re my dad! You can’t move to California!” Chloe sobbed, over pronouncing California.
“Chlo-Jo I have to.” her father sighed. “We already bought a house, you can visit every summer.” he offered. He must have had no idea what was going on.
“No! I won’t! You’ll be cross country! I’ll never see you again!” she cried. Her mom had to pick her up and drag her away.
“I’ll call you every day!” his father called off. They left a minute after, Chloe sobbing in the backseat of her car.
He never kept his promise, but it never mattered anyways. She knew That he would be gone for good. Chloe lived full time with her mother and her mother’s new husband. Chloe loved her mother at the time. They hardly fought before her father had abandoned her, but that seemed to change.
Chloe sobbed in her room, it being a month after her father decided he didn’t want her. She had gotten into a fight over god knows what with her mother, finding it hard to even breathe. She could hear her mother in the living room, apologizing to their guests for Chloe’s behavior. Chloe could hear the anger in her mother’s voice. She hated people being angry at her. She took out a page from her coloring book,one that was mostly blank, and wrote out an apology letter, feeling if she spoke she would burst into tears. She wondered if their guests would laugh at her or stay quiet, she didn’t really know.
Either way, after signing the letter, Chloe went outside of her room, weakly giving her mother the slip of paper. She watched intently for her mom’s reaction, tears still pouring from her eyes. “No. If you were really sorry, you would say it.” she was told. Chloe tried, but she couldn't get the words out. When she tried, Chloe choked on a sob, running back into her room. She collapsed on her bed, sobbing into her pillow. All she could think of was the same phrase she was told by Kaylee.
You’re a terrible daughter
Chloe didn’t sleep until she tired herself out from crying.
Chloe loves school. She has friends and no one yells at her there. She never cries and she gets to play all day. She was good friends with Jake Dillinger. Last year in kindergarten they had gotten married, a flower being tied around her finger, shy smiles to their classmates. The flower was white and yellow, but she had lost it since. The thing she liked most about Jake, her best friend as well as husband, was that he was someone she never cried around, someone she liked hugging. She didn’t like hugging others. Her skin burned when strangers, her step dad, sometimes even when her mother touched her. Her skin never burned with Jake. They talked a lot, something that was apparently not okay in first grade. They had separated seats, which made Chloe angry. It was like Ms. Kandy was taking Jake away from her. Now she sat next to a girl named Madeline.
Madeline was mean, plain and simple. Chloe hated her. She wished Madeline would move schools, or countries if that was a better option. Madeline always touched her to make her skin feel as if flames were licking her. She would lash out at Madeline, and Jake would be across the room talking to some other kids, and look over at Chloe worriedly. They were across the room for each other and not allowed to move.
“Give me your pencil.” Madeline said, trying to grab at Chloe’s pink unicorn pencil which, at the time, was her favorite.
“Get your own pencil you-” Chloe paused for a moment. Her mother always said in necessary situations, sometimes certain language was allowed. Well this was an urgent situation. “You bitch! ” Chloe yelled, earning a gasp from the whole class. Chloe snatched her pencil away, tuning out what was happening to do her work.
Next thing she knew, her skin burned again, she wanted to scream from anger, since everyone knew only Jake could touch her. She instead glared up at Ms. Kandy angrily, being dragged outside.
“Chloe, you do not use that language in school, or at home!” Ms. Kandy scolded. She seemed to be yelling, another thing Chloe hates. She didn’t meet her teacher's face, looking away. “Chloe, look at me! Look into my eyes!” Chloe looked back at Ms. Kandy, looking into her gray eyes. She tuned out what was being said. Chloe didn’t want to get yelled at and start crying, and six, almost seven year old felt like sobbing. School wasn’t a crying place, she knew that. “Chloe!” Ms. Kandy said, causing Chloe to tune back in. “I said you’ll be in time out every recess and lunch, and you will write Madeline an apology letter.”
“Move me back with Jakey!” Chloe begged suddenly. “I’ll never make another peep and I’ll do all my work, just please get me away from Madeline!” she pleaded.
Ms. Kandy contemplated it. “If your letter is good enough, I’ll consider it.” she nodded. The bell rung, signalling recess. “Now you can go get your lunchbox and sit over on that bench.” Ms. Kandy said, pointing at the bench farthest from the playground. Chloe frowned, but supposed it was going to be the best she could get. She went into the classroom, luckily no one looked at her funny, everyone was getting their stuff. Chloe followed, getting her purple and pink lunch box from her cubby. She decided to walk out of the classroom before the other kids could follow. She sat down on the bench, taking some of her goldfish crackers out of the bag. Jake sat down next to her, pulling out some fruit snacks.
“So do you wanna talk about it?” Jake asked. Jake was older than Chloe, he was already seven.
“She touched me and tried to take my pencil. She was being awful Jakey!” Chloe sighed, “And I have to write a stupid apology letter but mommy says if it’s a letter I don’t mean it.”
Jake frowned, giving Chloe a few of the green fruit snacks, her favorite ones so she would feel a bit better. “Why would your mommy say that?”
“Because I tried writing her an apology letter and she said I didn’t mean it.” Chloe shrugged. “Everyone’s always yelling. Ms. Kandy yelled at me, mommy yells at me, Daniel yells at me, even stupid Madeline!” She teared up, quickly wiping her cheeks.
Jake noticed this, hugging his friend. “I’ll never yell at you, Chloe.” he promised.
He kept his promise, the first person in Chloe’s life to keep a promise. Chloe was a third grader now, and everything was different. She still had tons of friends, people she talked to and played with, but they all seemed to gravitate towards the new girl, Brooke.
Brooke was pretty, she reminded the eight year old of the sun. Her hair was the color of wheat, and in the sun shined and reflected the light. Every day Brooke wore something yellow, apparently her favorite color. Since Chloe and Jake didn’t talk as much anymore, being put into different classes with different teachers, Chloe also gravitated towards the bright and shiney new girl.
Brooke’s handwriting was so much prettier than Chloe’s Brooke had clean, neat, flowy handwriting. Chloe’s handwriting was awful. Brooke got praised on her letters, and how she wrote her W’s. Chloe wanted to be praised like her new friend. She changed every W to look like Brooke’s.
After giving it to her teacher, Ms. Dornet’s eyes popped. “Chloe, every W on this page is capitals.” her teacher said. Chloe nodded.
“Brooke does ‘em like that.” she shrugged.
“Do you not know when the right time to use a capital letter is? You can’t use them in the middle of a sentence.” her teacher sighed, it was the same sigh her mother gave whenever she would get annoyed with Chloe. Chloe hated hearing it. “You should have learned this in Kindergarten.”
“I barely remember kindergarten! I barely remember who my teacher was!” Chloe said defensively, tearing up. She had done something wrong, she wanted someone to be proud of her but nobody was. The next thing she knew, the bell rund. Chloe ran back to her desk, getting her things, hoping she wouldn’t cry. Not at school, everyone would notice and they would make fun of her and she would have no one. No one wants to be friends with a crybaby.
Chloe walked out of the school, her mother’s car being nowhere to be found. She considered walking in front of a bus and letting it hit her, she felt like such a failure. No one wanted her, no one was proud of her. Her father only spoke to her because he finally realized how horrible Kaylee was, and was now struggling with money. She wondered if their conversations had to end in trying to talk to her mother. She wondered if they had to be about talking about money. Whenever she brought up something that happened in school, everyone seemed to brush her off. Chloe wondered if she even mattered to the people in her life, and to think, all of these thoughts plagued the child over capitalizing a W in a few wrong places. Finally, her grandmother’s car came. Chloe climbed in quickly. She immediately noticed her grandma was coughing into a tissue. Chloe took a few deep breaths. “Grandma, why do you have that tissue?” she asked.
Her grandma seemed to quickly put it down, crumpling it up so the little girl didn’t have to see the red covered tissue. Chloe saw it anyways. “I’m just sick, honey. I’m going to the doctors today, your cousin Beatrice will be watching you when I drop you off at my house.” her grandma smiled weakly. Right, her grandmother cared for her. She would be proud of her W’s.
“Beatrice is mean to me. She watches scary movies and doesn’t share her popcorn.” Chloe crossed her arms.
“I know honey. Try to get along? For me?” her grandmother asked. Chloe sighed, but nodded. Eventually she was dropped off at her grandma’s house. She wondered where her mom was, but had no idea. She entered the large house, not bothering to make her entrance known. Chloie just walked to the guest bedroom, planted face down into a pillow and cried until she felt like she got it all out. All she could think about was that she could never let anyone know about it.
“Chloe?” Beatrice asked quietly from the door.
“I was sleeping!” Chloe sniffled, hoping she hadn’t seen her cry too much.
“Chloe, I know you were crying. What’s wrong?” her cousin asked. Chloe sat up as Beatrice sat next to her.
“I capitalized to many W’s so they would look like Brooke’s, because Brooke got told she had pretty handwriting and I wanted someone to tell me I have pretty handwriting! No one tells me I have pretty anything.” Chloe sobbed, burying her face in her hands. “I’m such a failure! I can’t even write!”
“Chlo, you aren’t a failure.” Beatrice frowned. She wanted to wrap her little cousin into a hug, but Beatrice knew better.
“How would you know? Everyone loves you. Even my mommy loves you more than me. She always wants me to be you.” Chloe huffed. “And why are you talking to me? You don’t care! No one does!” she exclaimed.
“Chloe-” Beatrice began.
“You don’t get it. You don’t know what it’s like for everyone to yell at you and no one to tell you that they love you. You don’t know what it’s like to not have a daddy. You have everything!” Chloe protested. “Just go watch your stupid movie and eat your dumb popcorn!” She cried. Beatrice sighed, getting up.
“I’m actually going to make brownies. You can help if you want, I’ll even let you eat the bowl. I know that’s your favorite.” Beatrice tempted.
“No, I’ll just ruin the brownies.” Chloe stated bitterly, wiping her eyes. Beatrice left the room.
Chloe has never felt so dumb in her life.
The now fifth grader knew she was stupid, but her teaching putting her in a line based off their test scores made everyone know she was stupid.
She hoped she would be paired up with Brooke, Brooke wouldn’t judge her.
But she was paired up with Rich, some short kid who was the smartest in the class, opposed to Brooke being the dumbest.
Every time they solved a math problem, he made her feel stupid. He didn’t mean to, Chloe knew that, but he did. Chloe huffed as she changed another answer. “I don’t get this! Long division sucks.” she groaned.
“It’s not that hard.” Rich shrugged. Rich was not only short and a loser nerd, he had a lisp. The world was just stacked against little Rich Goranski. “All you need to do is multiple this.”
“In division?” Chloe asked, giving a confused look. Getting another nod, Chloe slammed her head against the desk, wincing. Though, she probably deserved it for being so stupid. “I hate math! And English! And History! I hate school!” Chloe sighed.
“I like it.” Rich shrugged.
“Yeah, of course you do. Only losers like school. And you’re the biggest loser I’ve ever met.” Chloe rolled her eyes. She didn’t know why she lashed out at him. It seemed to be the new thing she did to people she didn’t like, or people who she didn’t trust.
“Hey, I-I’m not a loser!” Rich frowned.
“Whatever.” Chloe rolled her eyes.
The behavior didn’t stop. She continued being awful to people through the course of middle school and most of high school. Then she was squipped. And it was herself.
“Oh Chloe.” her squip said at the play. “Don’t you want to stop being such a bitch all the time? Don’t you want mommy and daddy to love you?” her squip asked. “I know you, Chloe. I know all your thoughts. I have access to all your memories, and Chloe, you’ve never been loved. Maybe by Jake, but he doesn’t love you anymore. Maybe he never did.”
He’s always kept his promise to never yell at me. Chloe thought at it, glaring despite wanting to burst into tears.
“Keep that tough girl act up, it might just fall one day.” her squip laughed. Chloe felt awful as things she never thought of she remembered. She was in a trance as she thought back to Kaylee, the night her father left, the first time she had ever swore, getting yelled at by teachers, getting yelled at by her mother, calling Rich a loser, everything she wanted to forget.
Then there was pain, followed by darkness. Then there was nothing.