The World Is Ugly, you don't need to tell Arancione that twice...
Chapter 1 – Drunken Ramblings.
It’s 4 am and I can hear her downstairs. Crying to herself, feeling sorry for herself, drinking herself into oblivion. My Mother. She had me when she was only 15, claims she can’t remember who my father is. Ever since I was 11 she’s been drinking heavily, saying how she’s never had a real chance at life, and ‘if only she got another shot at it’, well, she definitely has lots of vodka shots, but I don’t think that’s what she means. It’s my fault she’s like this. Without me she could have done all the things she wanted.
So, here I sit, staring out of my window in my boring little house in a small town called Shirley, England. My name is Arancione Verde Sparsi; the surname is my Mother’s. I am 14 years old, depressed and with no hope.
A loud crashing sound pulls me from me my inner monologue. Running down stairs I see the sight of my mother, sitting in the middle of the living room with a shoe box, a smashed photo frame and a bottle of rum. Her once neat, black, curled hair was messy and unkempt; the red lipstick she always wore had come off and gone a dark shade of pink; her black mascara was now in two rivers running down her cheeks; the black dress she was wearing was creased and had various drinks spilled on it. This was the mother I'd grown to see.
“Mum, are you okay? What’s happened?” My words come out in a rush of confusion.
“Baby, co-come sit with me. I've got something for you!” Her American accent was still there, even though we'd lived in Birmingham since I was born.
Hesitantly, I walked over, dodging shards of glass, and knelt down beside her. The frame she had smashed held a small, worn piece of paper with a phone number on it.
“Mum? What did you want to show me?” Bewildered is an accurate word for how I felt right now.
“Baby, I'm sorry you’ve had to see me like this the past few years. You need to know how much I love you, and because I love you I want you to go and find your father. I've known all along who he is, he’s the only person I've ever slept with. I loved him so much that when I found out about you I ended things with him and ran to the other side of the planet. He wasn't ready for a child, neither of us was, so I tried saving him only to ruin myself and hurt you.
“Here’s his phone number, he gave it to me on our first date. I’ve checked to see if it’s right and it turns out that he bought his parent’s house. Baby, go ring him, tell him about yourself, tell him I'm sorry and let him know about what’s going on and how it isn't safe for you here anymore. You need him; I'm not a fit mother. Go on now, I love you baby.”
She passes the paper and a picture of a young couple kissing to me and I gently take it from her with my hand shaking violently. My jaw is hung open and tears stream down my face.
“Mum…” It’s barely a whisper, “Mum, no, I can't leave you. We need each other. You're my mum! I need my mum.” With each word I break down further into body-shaking sobs.
She puts her arm around me, like the caring mother she is. She’s a good mother, she just can’t cope. It’s too much for her. I need to do this for her. I have to leave so she can live; I’m killing her by staying here.
I compose myself, kiss my Mum on the cheek, and leave the living room with the piece of old paper tucked in my hand. Snivelling, I walk upstairs, to the phone, and dial the number. Three rings later and I hear a tired voice on the other end of the phone.
“Hello?” It’s a male voice, it’s my Dad.
“Is that Frank Iero?”
“Yes. Who’s this?”
“My name is Arancione, um… I think I’m your daughter…”
“Okay, if this is a fan, I don't know how you got this number but plea-“
“Fan? What do you mean? My name is Arancione Sparsi.”
“Yeah, my Mum is Iris. Do you remember her?”
“Yes, yes I do… but she left. She left and didn't come back, she also didn't tell me about a child, so I think you have the wrong person, honey. I'm so sorry.”
“You’re the only person she’s ever been with! Please! Trust me? She got pregnant when she was 15! She tried saving you by leaving, you weren't ready for a child and she wasn't going to abort it, so she ran. Actually… you know what, never mind. I was stupid to call… I’m going to hang-up now, I’m sorry about all of this. Just forget it, yeah?”
“No! Don't go, please, let me talk to your Mother.”
“Okay, I'll go get her…”
I walk downstairs with the phone. The air hangs with silence, a disturbing presence lingering everywhere. I tip-toe into the living room, she’s passed out in the spot where I left her – rum bottle still in hand. I sigh and lift the phone to my ear.
“She’s passed out I’m afraid. Drank too much agai-“
I was cut off mid-sentence when my Mother’s body began convulsing. I drop the phone and rush over to her, ignoring the shards of glass under my feet. I grab her shoulders and gently move her away from any furniture. I stand next to her in pure horror as her body carries on fitting. After about 20 seconds she stops and I immediately put her in the recovery position. I can hear a small shouting voice coming from the device on the other side of the room. I crawl back over to the phone, my leggings getting shredded by the glass.
“Arancione! Hello? What’s going on?”
“Frank!” I'm hardly even coherent. “Oh my god, Mum’s just had a fit! I don't know what to do! I can't stay here! I’m killing her!” I’m crying down the phone, unable to hide my fear.
“Hey, shhh. I want you to ring an ambulance; they will take her to hospital and make sure she is okay.”
“No, she hates hospitals; I can't do that to mum! Plus I'll go into care! I can't go into care, she’ll have people coming over to the house, and she won't be able to get better. I’m getting the next plane to wherever, I don’t care, and on my way to the airport I'll call an ambulance. I'll be long gone by the time they get here.”
“You can’t go ‘wherever’! Get the next flight to Newark Liberty International Airport. I’ll pick you up there, if that’s what you want?”
“Really? And of course it’s what I want, are you sure that’s okay with you? Do you even think you’re my Dad?”
“Yes really! I believe you need to be looked after until your mum is better. When you get here we can to a DNA test to find out the truth. Wait, will you have enough money to get the flight?”
“Thank you, so much! And I have the money, it’s in savings that were meant to go towards my private school, but, I'm not going there anymore, so screw ‘em!”
“Okay Arancione, be careful. I’ll be waiting at the gate with my wife, Penina, and daughter, my daughter’s name is Mia, I’m sure she'll like you, she really wants a big sister!”
“Wow, I can't wait! I best go now Frank, I need to pack and call the ambulance. Although Mum looks like she’s sleeping now…”
“Better safe than sorry honey, call me when you're at the airport.”
I hung up, a guilty smile on my face – guilty because I was now closer to happiness yet my mother was lying opposite me, unconscious.
I slowly arose from where I was sitting, phone still in hand, blood running down my knees. I ran across the hallway and up the stairs and into my room. As I grab my black and white tartan rucksack I think about how much better Mum will be without me, she can have a second chance at life. Meet someone new, maybe have a kid?
In my bag I put underwear; my red tartan skirt and my green tartan skirt. Can you see a tartan-patterned theme here? I also put in 5 pairs of knee length black socks, 3 ironed white blouses and my black cardigan. I packed the only CD’s I owned: Highway to Hell – AC/DC; A Night at the Opera – Queen and The Wall – Pink Floyd. This was the only music I have ever listened to. Mum and I have never been able to afford anything else.
Taking one last glance around my room, I silently say my last goodbye to the life I knew. As I look into my dirty and scratched mirror I see my hazel eyes look back at me, confirming this is real, my Mum and I have a second chance at life. I put my shoulders back; lift my chin; hike-up my rucksack onto my shoulder and walk out my bedroom door.