I do not own American Horror Story: Freakshow.
I doubt Ryan Murphy would even recognize it now.
Wherever You Are
She knew it was a long drive. You could see that on the map.
But nobody could really tell her just how long it was; it had to be driven to experience it. But she guessed that was kind of the way life was. People can tell you but they can't tell you.
Annabelle Margaret Walker squared her shoulders, rolled her neck, took a deep breath and let it out real slow.
She was almost there; she was well on her way.
Somewhere in the middle of Tennessee and heading home to Brandon, Florida.
It was the first time she would be home since going to college.
It seemed like so much longer.
Ma-Da and Ma-Ba sent letters every week, careful writing, full of uninteresting, boring details about the life of the typical American housewife.
But Ma-Da and Ma-Da . . .
"Your mom sends you two letters a week?"
"Man, my mom doesn't have time to take away from swinging with her new boyfriends to write me a letter a month, man! Much less two a week!"
"Oh, uh, I'm sorry."
"Why? You're not my mom."
. . . weren't anywhere near typical, . . .
"Dot has a cold and wants to take NyQuil but it just puts me to sleep and I don't have a cold."
. . . were they?
Annabel gripped the steering wheel, twisting and wringing it until her hands ached.
She wanted to see her moms and Daddy too but she would have been lying if she said she wasn't nervous as hell.
Everything had been so weird between them for such a long while.
And then when she had come home after running away, they had just . . . forgiven her.
Like she was their daughter.
Well, of course she was their daughter.
But they hadn't held it over her head on a constant basis like they deserved a medal for taking care of their own child or anything.
Everything had just been okay.
It had been weird.
She had just known they would have hated her forever for screaming at them, telling them the truth, stealing money from Lucy, and running away.
But they didn't.
They just . . . loved her.
And that of course made her feel guilty all over again for abandoning them and going off to Colorado for school.
But it's my life, dammit. And I had to get away.
And she had.
Somewhere nobody . . .
"Hey, I'm Jenny."
"Holy cow, your eyes are . . ."
". . . so groovy!"
. . . knew her.
"So where're you from?"
"Wow, that's cool! Do you surf?"
"Sometimes. Mostly I just drown."
"Ahahaha! You're so funny!"
Well, thank you, nobody ever notices.
She wasn't extremely popular at the University of Colorado or anything.
Some people still thought she was a freak . . .
"What the hell, man? You a witch or something?"
"That's right she is. So get the hell outta here before she curses you and your dick falls off, Gary!"
"No problem, Ana."
. . . with her mismatched eyes.
But at least she wasn't the freak with the two-headed . . .
"What's your mom like?"
"Oh, uh, well, you know. Typical mom."
"God, I wish my mom was typical. She's trying to work her way through all the men in Oregon. It's embarrassing."
"Mmm . . ."
. . . mom.
Annabel, twisted the wheel again, working her jaw.
She knew she shouldn't feel like this about Ma-Da and Ma-Ba, they were good moms but . . .
Ewww, just ewww.
. . . once she'd learned about sex and realized what was going between Daddy and them, it just . . .
. . . sent everything over the edge completely.
I mean, how am I supposed to deal with something like that anyway?
She guessed it wasn't really her business what her parents did.
But it sure had . . .
"Hey Annabel, heard your dad's boingin' the women at his grocery store now! How much sausage does that guy have to have to satisfy her and your two headed monster mom?"
And she had hated them all.
The kids who heckled her, the kids who were silent and turned their noses up.
The teachers who treated her with stiff, vague revulsion.
Even worse, the teachers who took pity on her, patting her sadly and giving her sideways looks they thought she didn't see.
And she'd had to get out.
Mountains was how she had chosen Colorado.
The most beautiful mountains she'd ever seen.
So much different than anything else she had ever experienced, so much different than the flat, dreary nothingness that was Florida.
The ocean was okay, she guessed.
Good for surfing and staring into until everything about you faded away.
But mountains, oh.
Mountains were everything.
So she applied to the University of Colorado.
Along with Kentucky State and MTSU.
Combined Ma-Da and Ma-Ba's name on the space next to: Mother.
Dorothy . . . Elizabeth . . . Walker.
Waited on pins and needles.
And got accepted.
Every single application accepted.
And chose . . .
They are never going to go for this.
. . . the mountains.
Moms had practically fainted dead away and even Daddy, the no-handed, Dandy-killing ex-carnie had seemed to slouch in defeat.
But then they had nodded, one by one. Summoned smiles.
And actually took tentative, burgeoning interest in the far away mountainous paradise of Colorado.
Annabel had felt surreal, relieved.
And had allowed herself to hope.
Allowed her heart to loosened, just a little.
Decided to make them happy, relax and try to be the good girl they wanted.
So she could leave knowing she had made them happy again.
Apologized to Lucy, whom she hadn't really meant to hurt in the first place.
And even worked with Daddy again . . .
"Welcome to Clark's. May I help you?"
. . . in his store.
And then in September, she had left.
Really left for the first time in her life.
And gone into the mountains.
And it . . . had . . . been . . .
"Hi, welcome to Boulder."
. . . unbelievable.
She had never seen so many trees before.
So many colors.
And the mountains, oh, the mountains.
They were even better than the pictures!
They had surrounded her, enveloped her.
She thought she was dying but in heaven.
And a little lightheaded.
"What's up with the air? I feel like I can't breathe."
"It's the altitude. You get used to it."
And she had.
She had loved it.
Surrounded by the mountains, gasping for air but also wearing really cool sunglasses anytime she didn't want to to talk about her eyes anymore.
Propping them on top of her head when she was feeling a little more brave.
Haunting the thrift shops with the little money Daddy sent her, wrapping up in layers because . . .
Damn, I'm freezing!
. . . it actually got cold for real here.
Going to class, grabbing a sandwich, going on hikes, staying up all night, sleeping til noon on the weekends.
Walking to the coffee shops, sitting in the commons.
Living on peanut butter crackers and Tang when she spent too much money in the pool hall.
And of course, just a little bit, pretending her parents were normal, average people.
Without any identifying features at all.
But now it was the holidays . . .
"Peace out, Ana! See you in nineteen-seventy-nine!"
. . . and she was . . .
"Welcome to Alabama. Please drive safely."
Yep, only eleven hundred more hours to go.
. . . finally going home.
Hello, all! How've you been?
Interested in more of what once was the Tattler sisters and Jimmy Darling?
I hope so.
I'm thinking weekly Sunday updates.
And if you think Annabel's still being a little unappreciate of her moms, well, give her some time, it's a journey.
Talk out to me if you like because . . .
Everybody appreciates feedback.