A/N This is kind of crappy, cause I threw it together just now when I got inspired, but oh well.
Pokemon Capture Attempted: Poliwag
Needed Characters: 5000
I lose my way
And it's not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that's weakness in your eyes
I'm forced to fake
A smile, a laugh everyday of my life
My heart can't possibly break
When it wasn't even whole to start with
I hide in my closet as I listen to the screams from downstairs. The anger, hatred, and mistrust seem to flow up through the ceiling of the kitchen, the floor of my room, and into the center of my chest, where it lodges itself, black and ugly, a cancerous growth that is nearly tangible. Tears threaten to overflow from my eyes, but I hold them back. There is no room for crying in my life. Instead, I squeeze the small Pokemon in my lap to my chest. He whines softly, like a frightened animal.
“Shh,” I whisper. “It’ll be okay.”
BAM! The door slams shut downstairs and the yelling of two voices turn into one wailing and crying. I set the Poliwag down, where it immediately burrows under some clothes, its squishy purple and white body completely hidden. Only its paddle like tail sticks out.
“Stay here,” I command, my voice hardening into that of a trainer’s. I know he will listen. He always does. I slip out of my closet into the darkness of my room. Without turning the lights on, I navigate my way across the cluttered floor expertly. I’d done this before. Now is where the real courage is needed; I take a deep breath as I tiptoe down the stairs and into the room where my mother lies curled up on a couch. As I come closer to her, everything else disappears; nothing else matters. The first time you see one of your parents cry is heartbreaking. At least this isn’t the first time. “Mama?” I ask her, turning her name into a question. She raises her head, and I see the tears, the makeup running down her face, the whites of her eyes turned red from crying.
“I’m sorry,” she tells me, her voice breaking, and just like that everything falls apart. I see dark spots in the center of my vision, but I shake my head and cling to consciousness. I am not allowed to fall to the floor. I can’t give in and let someone else take care of everything for me. Thirteen years old, I am unable to fail. Rather than going back upstairs and hiding under my covers like I wish I could, I push my mother aside and slip onto the couch beside her. She clings to me like I clung to my Pokemon, and her tears fall hot and damp on my shoulder. I am uncomfortable and falling to pieces inside, but my face stays stony. I let her grab my hand and squeeze as hard as she needs to. This is my job. This is all I can offer her.
Eventually, the sobbing stops and she falls into a sleep without rest. I cover her with a blanket and flee to my bedroom. My brothers are already sleeping; they are too young to understand what is happening. They will probably forget this night. It will never curse them like it curses me, flitting through my head like a bird in its cage. I finally lay in my bed and let the tears come, though they come silent. I make no noise, don’t allow the muscles in my face to move. There can be no proof of the pain that threatens to rip me apart. I stay awake, watching the numbers on my clock change, not sure if I want my dad to come home tonight or not. Around three thirty-seven, my Poliwag pokes his head out of my closet. By now I am no longer crying, and I call to him softly. He scurries to my bed, where he jumps up and nestles into the crook of my arm. He is warm and at last, my eyes close and I sink into blissful unawareness.
I wake with the sun, three hours later. I creep downstairs, as silent and dark as my own shadow. I sit and watch my mother as she sleeps, her chest rising and falling beneath the quilt I threw on her. I ache inside and remind myself that my eyes are traitors; they will reveal me if I let them. I decide to busy myself. By the time she is awake, my brothers are dressed and have eaten. I make her eat toast, though she claims she doesn’t want to. I talk her ear off, my voice cheerful, as I make up things to say: school, my Poliwag, a boy that I invent. I don’t miss the fact that she’s staring at me blankly, because half of her is gone, in some dingy motel, because she is no longer good enough for him. Still, it takes at least part of her mind to listen to my nonsense. As long as part of her is safe, it’s enough.
I don’t know if she’s aware that I know the truth. I let her tell me that my dad decided to go on a trip this weekend. The lie is good for her. She tells it to herself as she says it out loud for me and my brothers. Inside, I know that he is somewhere with Her. Now I know that I don’t want him to come back, but he will. He always comes back, sometimes with flowers. The apology flows from his lips and he kisses her and then me on the cheek. When he does I will burn inside with the urge to lash out, to strike him for what he is doing, but I cannot. I will stay quiet. I will do what I have to for her as long as I can. She tells me I should go play with my Poliwag. She smiles a little. It’s fake, but it’s a start. I take him to the park.
I call out moves for him. Water Gun, Double Slap, Body Slam; he performs each one without fail and for a moment, I can forget about what I have to go home to. As I train him, I remember that he is my only hope. He’s my only chance to be free. Finally, I look up and notice the sun is already setting. I feel a lump form in my throat, but will it away. I’ll take him home for now, so I can keep taking care of her, but I am preparing for the day that we’ll go and leave her behind. The idea hurts, but… we’re going to be free. I smile.