Unsettled

By: Alisa Mullen

Book One The Chosen Series



One

2000

In early May, Boston nightlife was a mixture of rowdy college students savoring a nightly break from their upcoming finals and noises from the Green Line packed full of Red Sox fans who poured out of Fenway Park. The scraping of train rails made the honking cars unnoticeable. Fragrant smells from flowerbeds growing in tiny window boxes of the apartments along Commonwealth Avenue hardly negated the exhaust from the cars and trains.

I held out my hand from the window of Darcy’s new black Mercedes Benz. The hot waves of early summer gave Beantown a new surge of vibrancy. I took in a long inhale of the mixture of flowers, exhaust, and the lingering trash cans left out on the sidewalks. I felt my own surge of energy in anticipation for the summer to come.

My name is Lizzie O’Malley and I’d just returned home to start a fresh new life. Later that night, I’d find out that this night out would be the start of a life I’d never dreamed of. At age twenty-three, I was back from Portland, Oregon. After the sixty-third day of constant downpour, I decided to finally move back home. Four years of enduring depression from the weathered city was enough for me. It was all I could do to jump in my little shitbox of a 1991 Geo Prism and get the fuck out of dodge.

I followed my boyfriend, Chase, out west to find a fresh new life when I was eighteen. Chase had a job already lined up and I wanted to travel the country with him. What people didn't know was I really wanted to run away. Running to a new place and meet new people who didn’t know anything about me or my past was enticing. I like strangers, and there are a lot of them in the world. I can be anyone I want to be with strangers. I can be fun and generous. I can be moody and negative. Strangers never saw all sides of me. Portland, Oregon was the right place to go as it was the furthest state from the east coast, where family and high school friends watched me go through ups and downs that didn't always shine a bright light on me. But five years later, that light dimmed on me once more when Chase and I broke up.

I tried to make him see that five years of playing house was enough time for us to be a forever couple. He didn’t see it that way and so I broke all the commitment rules. I hung around for several months after the breakup to see if anything changed. When nothing did, I saw no reason to stay in Portland. It was my fault, of course. I didn't want any more from that city. I didn't want to meet new strangers anymore. I got bored. So, running back home was damn good plan and I was prepared to reinvent myself in my hometown and meet new strangers. Again.

I get bored pretty fast with just about every person, every place, and everything. When I was thirteen, I bought an impressive horoscope book and created astrology charts for all my friends. Of course, I did mine and was astonished to read that, as an Aquarian in sun position and a Leo in moon position, I would never settle down. I was a creative and carefree person, it said. I didn’t want to believe the predictions, but as life went on, I realized that I was the indifferent girl that the chart portrayed me to be. I always felt like a drifter. I went with my own flow. Most would say I belonged on Shakedown Street at a Phish concert because I’m a tree hugging, crunchy hippie. I didn’t bother with makeup or primping for guys. I was audacious and found normalcy mundane.

A friend once described me as a resilient and incredible woman. I could see why she would say that. I appeared that way on the outside but it was still difficult to swallow that compliment because it simply wasn’t true. Low self esteem was engrained into the very core of my being, although outward appearances convinced everyone else otherwise. The heartwarming thank you I replied with was plastic. I attempted many times to become someone that I could love. Alas, being outspoken and defensive found me in predicaments that required mending. Mending the fuck ups in life took much more time than working towards life goals. Therefore, I stuck to what I knew made me feel better. Partying seemed to be the only way to escape the reality of my life.

The outward beauty of my past boyfriends had never been important unless I felt a deep emotional connection to the guy. Once I saw their inner luster, that’s when they became hopelessly beautiful. My friends would probably say that is also a bunch of bullshit because I typically date tall bad boys. Regardless of who I was with, in the end, I always drove relationships away with my drinking. I liked to drink, and when I did, the alcohol convinced me that I was the most beautiful person in the room. I became the life of the party and people gravitated to my many stories of drifting uninhibited through life. Even in high school, I found smoking pot in the parking lot to be a better living experience than sitting through my history class. I lived in the moment, and when shit got tough, it was time to move on.

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