Continuing this story. Also continuing the trigger warnings for relationship abuse and self-harm.
“Where are you off to?” my mom asked as I grabbed my keys off the kitchen table.
“The library on campus?” I pointed to my backpack. “I have a study group.”
“On Saturday?” She didn’t sound accusing, just surprised. “You don’t mean to tell me that you’re all working on schoolwork on a Saturday, do you?”
I shrugged. “It was the only day everyone could meet. Plus, it’s air conditioned inside.”
“Well, then, you’d better be back by dinner,” Mom replied, fishing a five dollar bill from her wallet. “And pick up some diet pop and milk on the way home.”
“Yes, Mom.” I kissed her on the cheek, then headed out the door.
“Sweetie?” she called.
“Yes?” I poked my head back in the door.
Mom was frowning. “This class isn’t too hard for you, is it? That you’re working on Saturday? You don’t have to take classes in the summer, you know.”
“Yes, Mom, I know,” I said, rolling my eyes just a little, “but I’m not going to the study group to get help. I’m going because I’m helping them.”
It was not, technically speaking, a lie. Some of it even had the advantage of being the whole truth. Neither one of us had much money or free time. So studying — not to mention writing essays and term papers — became dates, which made it that much easier to hide from my mom.
A study group was a possibility; we had invited them. Never mind that the three other people had all said “probably not” or “I don’t think I can make it.” It could still happen, technically.
Of course, Mom would believe what Mom wanted to believe. That she believed I was smart, savvy, competent young woman was no doubt modeled off her own experience and a seventeen-year-old. Plus, it had the advantage of being true, technically, though it was far from the whole truth.
I can say now that if she would have pressed further, I would have told her the whole truth. Eventually. Maybe. In reality, I might have been so infatuated — with him, with the possibility of an us, with the mere idea of me going out on my own — that I might have lied anyway.
Still, I wish she would have asked.