It is the early evening. I am in a silver Chevy Silverado with a friend. He drives me to a CVS parking lot. I get out of the truck, check the bed, and grab a tied up Walmart sack. My friend comes out of the truck and asks me what I'm doing. At the same time, we see another person searching around with a red worm on a string. I tell my friend I am doing the same thing that other person is doing. I open the bag and inside are several worms in different colors with mouse noses. I pull out a teal one, whose string has fallen off. I tie the string around the nose to reattach it and put the worm in the tailpipe of a brown sedan. We get back in the truck and leave.
We drive to a neighborhood and turn into a cul-de-sac. Another pickup truck is behind us and starts aggressively tailgating us. We drive up to the end of the road to turn around and get to the house we are heading to, and the truck stays on us, flashing his brights and honking. We stop in front of the house and he continues. My friend suddenly guns it to the end of the street and stops for a moment. When the other truck follows, he puts the truck in reverse and quickly backs up. I start crying and say he's going to get us killed. Just before we collide, he clicks his garage door opener and the other truck stops. My friend says the other truck is now trapped. I sigh with relief and ask if we can go back to the CVS to get more worms. He reluctantly agrees.
I am living in a house with my sisters, my brother and his wife, my mother and her husband, my father, my cousin, my uncle, my partner (at the time), and several other people. My sister-in-law asks if we can go out and play boomerang. I reluctantly agree and we leave the bedroom we are in. Out in the hallway I run into my father and he makes a snide comment that makes me angry. I start yelling and cussing at him. My mother comes out into the hall and starts defending him and tells me I should be respectful because he is my father. I fly into a rage and start throwing things and spitting and knocking things off shelves. I pee in a nearby toilet and clean myself with nice hand towels that I then throw into the toilet. Not intending to flush, I simply close the toilet lid, but it flushes automatically so I run, knocking more things down along the way. I go back into the bedroom my sister-in-law and I were in and try to hide, but my father finds me and is screaming at me about how terrible of a person I am. I throw a chair at him and bolt past him to the outside door.
Outside, I put on my flip flops and dash straight out into the countryside. My mother sees me and tells my cousin to follow me in his Jeep, but he says he legally can't drive after me for a day after I run away. My mother says that's ok and that I'm not very clever, and she can easily guess where I am running to. I cross a hilly field and slide down a cliff into a fertile valley, trying to lose their sight, but I can hear my mother commenting on where I am the entire time. I scream that I wished she was dead and throw middle fingers out in all directions, but I continue to run. I can hear her talking about where I am as I run through several places, including a library, a Barnes and Noble, and a giant convenience store. After a few days of running, in the middle of a store in a town on the border between the US and Mexico, I finally stop hearing her and know that that means she doesn't know where I am, so I collapse onto the ground.
Five years pass. I am working at the store I passed out in. My shift is over and my friend, an older woman named Maria, tells me it's time to go home. I tell her I don't want to go home because I get depressed living by myself and she offers to make me dinner. I see her kids, Gabriella and Manuel, arguing down the street, and decide they will be too agitating today, so I thank her for the offer and decline. As I turn to leave I fall over. Maria helps me up and gasps when she sees my face. She tells me I have a butterfly rash and asks if I have lupus. I tell her my grandma had it so I have a family history of it. She tells me I need to see a doctor immediately and helps me get up, supporting me as I walk. As we pass a storefront, I see in the corner of my eye what I believe must be my father and I try to make a run for it, but I am too weak and nearly collapse again.
My father gets to me easily. He has aged terribly. I ask him why he looks so bad and he tells me my disappearance has had a huge impact on everyone. I ask where my mother is and he tells me she killed herself a year after I left. I'm not as devastated as I wish I was. I ask how my partner is. He tells me he started sleeping with and dating other people almost immediately after I left, showing me his Instagram filled with selfies of him with dozens of girlfriends and boyfriends. He has also grown a beard. I notice the pictures only last for about a year. My father tells me that on the anniversary of me leaving my partner killed himself as well. I say that I am angry not just with him for cheating on me but also for killing himself before he could apologize to me for what he has done. Empty inside, I sit down at the end of a pool and stare at the decorative lighting in the bottom of the pool. The lights remind me of my partner, and I break down sobbing.