“Are you done packing up your things?” Valeria, mother of Aliana, asks just outside her room. She caught her husband with another woman inside a hotel room last month that he owned and she was only elicited with the reason that he was drunk, which she found very absurd and shallow. She knew he wanted what happened, and it's not because he was drunk.
Why do cheaters always blame their insatiable nature on alcohol?
In truth, her husband was so sweet; she felt cared for and loved. They even planned to go to Italy for a whole month's vacation last month. Everything was already planned; they had already booked airline tickets. Valeria was even thrilled about it, and she could see the excitement of her husband swarming in his eyes. That's why her mind can't still grasp the fact that he cheated on her just a week before their supposed vacation.
Valeria looks up as a warm liquid saturates the corner of her eye because the unbearable scene at the hotel plays back in her head.
His husband between a woman's legs is something she least expected when she opened the door of the hotel room with a cake in her hand. She wanted to surprise him because it was his birthday but it seemed like he was the one who had been planning a grand surprise for her. She appeared so stupid in front of them. She felt so insignificant as she watched her husband enjoy someone else's body, and their moans sounded mocking in her ears.
She feels her heart tighten in her chest. She loved—loves him with all her heart. How could he cheat on her? She bits her lower lip as she tries to stifle her impending sobs. She's been crying all day and she feels weak from crying. She wants to appear strong in front of her daughter, especially now that they are now alone, but her facade that she's trying to build always caves in and she hates it. She hates that she can't control her emotions.
“Hmm yeah. I'm almost done,” Aliana shouts just as she gently shoves her journal into her pink luggage.
Valeria wipes her tears off her cheeks with her finger before she says, trying hard not to sound like she just cried. “Okay. I'll wait for you in the car.”
Aliana's belongings with sentimental value lay strewn across the floor in front of her. She doesn't know how to fit them all solely in two pieces of luggage. After two minutes of just staring at the bundle of clothes and some things that she badly wants to take along, she reaches for her coral fleece blanket on the bed, buries her face in it and releases a frustrated breath.
“You're a piece of an asshole!”
She's referring to her dad because had he not cheated on her mom, she wouldn't be suffering from waking up at five a.m to pack her things up. She didn't see exactly what happened, but when she got home from her night out with her friends, she found Valeria crying in her room. At first, Valeria didn't want her to know what happened because she didn't want her to hold a grudge towards her dad, but Aliana was rather persistent. Despite the pain he brought to her, she still thought about his relationship with his daughter. For her, it's fine if her relationship with him is ruined as long as his relationship with his daughter is still the same as before, but what Valeria doesn't know, Aliana already hates her dad even before because she already caught her dad cheating a lot of times and she just kept it in.
Valeria decided to move to Chicago, Illinois in her mother's place to start a new life there and also for her to breathe because each second inside the house suffocates her. She just waited for her divorce order to be finalised. Fortunately, the result came out yesterday. Aliana wanted to stay because she has a lot of memories of this place, but she is left with no choice.
She can't let her mom live alone, especially since she's an only child. Her grandparents were dead already, so no one will be there for her mom if she's not going with her. She can't be selfish. Her mom needs no one at this time but her. When she found out what happened, she wasn't so surprised because she already saw it coming. According to her, men are men; born cheaters. Actually, she would be more surprised if her dad didn't cheat.
She firmly believes that it's already their nature to cheat because they can't live by just being only with one woman and she wished that her mom knew that even before. Actually, Aliana's dad isn't 't her first husband. The first one didn't work because of the man's infertility.
Almost all of the fathers of her friends cheated on their mothers, too, and just yesterday, she caught her friendʼs boyfriend with another woman roaming inside a mall while they held hands but as usual, she's not surprised even in the slightest. Her expression didn't even fluctuate when she caught sight of their sweet moment, but she didn't expect James to catch her looking at them, and so when she was heading towards the restroom, she was taken aback when he suddenly grabbed her arm.
“Don't ever think of telling Christine about what you saw or else. . .”
She quickly withdrew her arm from his grip, as though his hand bore some contagious virus, stepped back and held his gaze unwaveringly. She couldn't believe what he had just said. “As if I care about you going out with another woman in broad daylight while you're indulging in my friend's flesh at night. . .”
She smiled before she continued, “I want you to know that you're not worthy of my time. Who are you, anyway?” She turned her back on him, not waiting for his response. She didn't care nevertheless, because in her mind he was just one of those men who think they are relevant and superior, but in truth, they are just nothing but big cheaters. She felt disgusted as she continued her steps toward the restroom without even thinking of looking back to see James' ashamed expression.
“b***h,” he cursed as he followed her back with his gaze before he left with long strides, heading back to where he left the woman he was with.
After Aliana folds and puts her clothes and all her important things inside the two suitcases for about ten minutes, she zips them up, holds the handles, and hoists herself up from the cold surface of the floor.
“Thank God,” she says under her breath with a smile curved on her lips and dragging her feet towards the slightly ajar door with the luggage at her sides. She's glad that all her belongings fit in because she can't afford to give up some.
For the last time, she roams her green eyes around the room. Her expression says she will miss her room. However, her mind still can't process that they are leaving this house and that she will be sleeping in an unfamiliar room for the rest of her life in the next few hours.
She wonders what her life will be like in Chicago. She's been there once when her grandmother died, but it was already years ago and she has already forgotten what the city looks like and how it feels to be there, but she's certain that it's way different from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan; she thinks Chicago might be better. Valeria was a secretary at Ferrari company—his ex-husband's company—but she resigned two weeks ago. That's why Aliana plans to find a job as soon as they get there.
Aliana's eyes catch a silver bracelet resting peacefully across the nightstand with his name in cursive curved on it.
She never wears or touches that bracelet again since the last time she laid it there because it contains memories she wishes to be buried forever.
“It's been two years,” she murmurs. Sadness glints in her eyes, but it is immediately replaced with resentment, making the former appear like a mere illusion. She turns around, flicks the light off beside the door, and heads out. She has decided to leave it there with the painful memories it holds.