When I was a little girl, I always thought that there were three jobs a girl could have. A teacher, a nurse, or a nanny. My mother however, proved me wrong.
You see, ever since I was six, I saw my dear mother work twice as hard compared to the other mothers in the neighborhood. With their shiny cars and their big houses. And their husbands. My mother didn’t have one of those though. She used to always tell me, “Annabelle, you don’t need no man to get along fine in this world, and you remember that.” I always thought she was crazy. I thought that no girl was gonna get anywhere in the world without a wealthy husband to hide behind when times got tough. But then my mother became what every girl my age really wanted to be. A ballerina.
Work as a dancer was everything my mother had ever hoped for. The freedom to express herself, without a man holding her back. All the other women in our neighborhood thought she was crazy for not ever getting married. As I grew up, I tried not to let her influence me. I just wanted to fit in like the other girls who knew they would grow up and get a handsome prince from the bunch. But after all, I was my mother’s daughter. She taught me what I didn’t wanna be taught; I don’t need a husband. And even though I always tried to deny it, I couldn’t. When I turned ten and my mother signed me up for dance lessons, I realized how pretty all the girls were. And I’m not gonna lie, they were really pretty. My mother realized before I did. After all, nobody else was going too. It was just me and her. She of course, supported me, because to her, men were not worth it anyways. The other girls made fun of me, and eventually I dropped out of the lessons and my mother taught me. I wanted to dance, I really did. But the thought of everyone judging me was just too overwhelming.
When I lost my mother, I lost myself.
That day I got home from school when I was twelve, I thought it was just a normal day. Mom had a late recital that day so she had told me she’d be home two hours later than normal. I thought wrong. I knew I wasn’t going to that recital because it was a school night and I had a test coming up the next day. So I did everything like normal, ate, took a bath, and went to bed. I left a plate of mac n’ cheese in the fridge for her to eat when she got home late that night. I woke up to someone knocking on the door. When I opened the blinds, I saw a dozen bright lights that blinded me half to death. So I went to my moms room and opened the door. But the lights were on already, and the bed was made. Confused, I walked down the hall to the kitchen. The fridge was open -apparently I had forgotten to close it before bed- and I saw the untouched plate of macaroni on the top shelf. The knock came again. I went and unlocked the door. That’s when I saw three people on my doorstep I had never met before.
“Are you Annabelle Evenson?” the soft-faced police officer in front of me asked. “Y-yes,” I stuttered, as I felt my throat begin to swell, even though I didn’t know why. “Where is my mom?” The woman on the side of the officer with the red hair done up in a messy bun covered her face in her hands. The third person on the side of the officer was a gray-haired woman, who stepped forward. “Annabelle, you’re mother got into a car accident on the way home. She’s gone.” she said. That’s when the silence came. I looked up at the three of them, and things went silent. I saw her continue to talk, but I heard nothing. I saw the officer place his hand on my shoulder, but I felt nothing. Then my eyes swelled, and I saw nothing. I was nothing.
When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. There was no Ghostbusters poster above my bed. There was no blue lamp on my nightstand next to me. There was no nightstand. This was not my room.
I sat up and my- I mean, the bed creaked. Then a familiar face opened the door and the whole room lit up with a yellow-ish light. It was the red haired woman. “Hey, Annabelle.” she said. “Where am I?” I ask. “Remember the officer from last night who carried you to the car when you fell down?” I tried to remember. I recalled the officer, but not being carried to the car or falling down. “I’m his wife. This is our house.”
She sat me on the couch and gave me a cup of milk. It was a nice house. “Do you remember what happened last night?” she asked, as she handed me the cup. “No.” I said, not stopping my focus from the spot on the corner of their rock fireplace. Of course I remembered. My mother was dead. How could I forget? “Do you know that your mother passed away, Annabelle?” she asked. I nodded, and never broke eye contact with that spot on the fireplace. I felt like I would burn a hole in it with my sight if I stared any longer. I couldn’t think about what she was actually saying, I just answered. I was numb, to the point where I couldn’t tell what was happening. I didn’t feel it when she walked me back up the stairs. I was useless, because I couldn’t feel.
The next morning, the same woman was sitting on the bedside, and the familiar face of the officer was peering over her shoulder. “Good morning.” he said. “We wanted you to know you’ll be staying with us for the next few days while we sort out the locations of your remaining family. My name is Mr. Daniel, and this is my wife, you can call her Ms. Talia.” Ms. Talia handed me an envelope. “These are some pictures of your mother we got for you, if you wanna look at them.” she said. I opened the envelope and instantly started bawling. The overwhelming sight of my mother hit me like a truck. The only person who had ever truly loved me was gone. Ms. Talia put her hand on my shoulder, and I put my face in my hands. Slowly, I begin to stop my tears. They looked at each other, and then sighed and got up and left.
As I look back on that day, I think about how far I’ve come since then. What am I now without my mother? I’ll tell you what I am. I’m a dancer.