My first real memory of my parents was also my last.
It was the refrigerator’s fault I remembered. I should’ve known better than to expect new appliances in my new apartment; I was lucky to have appliances at all. I sure as hell couldn’t afford to buy new ones.
The refrigerator, however, was a problem. Every time I looked at it, I remembered—and my first memory of my parents was how I, Alexa Zoe Daegberht, had killed them with a wish.
It was the same refrigerator, right down to its smoke-stained, pebbled surface and its loose handle. The years hadn’t done the damned thing any favors, and I wondered if the door would fall off its hinges when I opened it. Then again, they had built things better when I had been a child.
It was too bad I hadn’t been built a bit better. A lot of things would have been different. It wasn’t my father’s fault no one could touch me without irritating my sensitive skin. It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t kiss my cheek like other fathers could with their daughters.
It was his fault he had forgotten; if he hadn’t, my face wouldn’t have been itching and burning. If he hadn’t forgotten, I wouldn’t have run to the fridge, using it as a shield against his touch. If he hadn’t forgotten, I wouldn’t have parroted what he too often said while fighting with my mother:
If you walk out that door, don’t you ever come back.
Because I had believed it, had wanted it, and had prayed for it, wishing on a shooting star that night, I had gotten exactly what I had asked for. My parents had walked out the door and left me behind, never to return.
The ocean didn’t like giving up its dead, and planes smacking into the water didn’t leave a whole lot to salvage.
I dropped my bags on the kitchen floor, spat curses, and kicked the refrigerator.
It won; beneath the plastic was metal, and it refused to bend. All I did was crunch my toes, and howling, I hopped around on one foot. Through tear-blurred eyes, I glared at the offensive appliance.
“I’ll end you,” I swore.
Maybe I could spray paint the damned thing pink; it’d be at least four years before I earned my degree and rank as a Bach, and until then, I was stuck with it. Once I became a Bach, I’d be elevated to a better caste—a caste with a future, and a bright one at that. Once I was a Bach, I could afford to buy my own appliances, and I’d never have to see that make or model of refrigerator ever again. If I scored well enough on the exit exams, I had the slim chance of being accepted for Master training.
I had an entire life ahead of me, and it would be a good one. There was no way I’d let a stupid refrigerator take that from me.
I kept telling myself that, but I didn’t believe it.
I gave up and went for my last ditch resort; if macaroni and cheese couldn’t make things better, nothing could.