Livvy tried as hard as she could not to make any noise. Her mother was clinking bottles and muttering under her breath about ungrateful little girls and how they never did what they were told. Of course, what she had told Livvy to do was get her some more alcohol, and Livvy, being too young to buy it, also lacked the overwhelming desire to aid her in becoming more of what she already was, which was drunk as a skunk. So, Livvy tried to make as little noise as she possibly could while she waited.
What she was waiting for happened about 20 minutes later. Her mother slumped down on the couch and started snoring, loudly. Livvy took that as her signal to leave. She covered her mother over with a quilt from the back of the couch, gave her a somewhat awkward kiss on the forehead and tried not to judge. Her mum had started drinking long before Livvy was even born and stopped just long enough for her pregnancy to be a safe one. Livvy figured she did the one thing she could and left it at that, most of the time.
Of course, there were other times.
Times Livvy wanted a normal family and clean clothes she hadn’t had to wash herself in the Laundromat downstairs in the apartment buildings basement. Times when she didn’t want to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner or eat dry cereal. Times when, more than anything she wanted her mum to look at her, see her, love her…the way Livvy had seen other mothers do. Even scoldings looked like love to Livvy.
She carefully locked the back door and put the key around her neck. She took out her flashlight and flicked it on and off twice. There was a pause and then a return signal ahead of her. Livvy smiled. Seth was already at the treehouse.