Liza was happy and proud of the place she had worked so hard to get to in life. While it was true, things hadn't turned out the way she had imagined, she was happy nonetheless. In life, she didn’t have it harder than some, but she definitely had it harder than most. After everything, she would remind herself everyday that she made it. She had a good life, a good husband, and good kids despite all the trials earlier in life. She was forced to grow up quickly and was robbed of the All-American childhood. There wasn't much she actually remembered from her childhood but one memory stuck with her.
Her father sat at the top of the stairs. A duffel bag beside him. She wasn't sure where her brother or the eldest of her sisters were. Her sister, Charlie, and her sat beside him as he promised to call everyday. He said "only three sleeps, three sleeps and I'll be picking you guys up". She tried to hold back the tears as she begged him not to go. He gave them each one last hug and a kiss on the cheek and headed towards the door. Liza darted after him, screaming for her father as the door slammed shut. She crumbled to the ground, sobbing. If felt like forever when she finally looked up. Her mother was standing at the top of the stairs looking down on her. She began to pull herself up and run up the stairs to her.
"Quit your fucking crying already" her mother stated and walked away.
Liza was only five when her parents split up. Too young to fully understand what was happening and why. She never heard her parents fighting. As she thought about it she never saw them being affectionate with each other either. They were a middle-class family. Both her parents had to work to sustain the house. With four kids, this meant they worked opposite shifts, like two ships passing in the night.
Her mother was a cocktail waitress at a local casino. Her uniform was shiny and glamorous. Liza used to sit in the hallway watching her mother get ready for work. She'd note every move. The way she carefully lined her lips before putting on bright red lipstick, her making fish lips as she swept the blush across her cheeks, and counted one-two-three-four-five before she'd release the eyelash curler. She was like a movie star. After she'd leave for work, Liza would mimic her actions being extra careful not to put anything back out of place.
On the night her father left, Liza noted her mother was getting ready earlier than usual. She could hear her mother smack her lips after perfecting her lipstick application. As she came out of the bathroom she was yelling for Liza's eldest sister, Raelynn. Raelynn wasn't the oldest child, but her brother was nowhere to be found. She was talking fast and Raelynn was following her around like a shadow being sure not to miss a single word. As her mother bent over to put on her heels, Liza notice she wasn't wearing her normal work uniform. Instead of the overly shiny, cocktail waitress uniform, she was wearing a tight, short, black dress. Her mother kissed them each goodbye and headed for the door. Once closed, Liza ran to the window to watch her leave. Her mother hopped on the back of some guy's motorcycle and left.
Raelynn walked over to Liza, put her arm around her shoulder and asked "Ice cream for dinner?" with a smile.
The next morning, Liza managed to get up from bed. Her eyes were swollen from crying all night. She somehow managed to get both herself and her kids ready for the day, even though she felt like her knees were going to give out at any moment. On her drive to work the events of the previous night replied over and over in her mind. Then it hit her - was watching her mother’s history with men the reason she was so certain there was someone else? That had to be it. This wasn't Wade. She reasoned with herself that she always had trust issues, and this is just her imagination going wild once again. That was it. It had to be it. She knew she just had to choose to believe her husband, address the issues in her marriage, in herself, and do everything in her power to save her marriage. She was going to save her marriage, she was sure of it!