Taisiya's eyes slowly open, and although her vision is a bit blurry and she can't really tell what's going on, she gets a bad feeling. The short, blond hair on her neck and back stand up straight.
"Daddy?" She murmurs, slowly sitting up and untangling her legs, which are wrapped in her light, carnation pink blankets. All Taisiya hears are Chip's paws as they hit the hickory-colored wood floor. "Daddy?!" She exclaims, jumping off of her bed.
M-maybe he's at work? Is he?
Taisiya wonders, her hazel eyes wide. "See, these are the times where I need a phone." She says, crossing her arms. "Wait, what about Daddy's car?" She asks, with her hand on the window of the living room.
Taisiya's dad's red BMW isn't parked in the driveway, and Taisiya begins to panic
Maybe he's... out.
Taisiya had always seen her father come home late, either holding on to a different woman each night or having lipstick prints on his dark neck and face. If he came home with a woman, they would waltz past Taisiya - her dad would pretend that she didn't exist - and into her father's bedroom. Then, at least two hours after Taisiya's bedtime, Taisiya would hear the woman's footsteps as she strode down the stairs, giggling to herself.
Whenever Taisiya would ask, "Daddy, who are those women that come to our home?"
Her father would respond, "Taisiya, you're only eight. So, leave me alone to do adult stuff. I pay the bills, no?" Her dad would snap back.
In total. Taisiya guessed that about 2,730 women had come to their home so far. Every time a woman came over, Taisiya would record it. And she showed her aunt, who'd been in the hospital for as long as Taisiya could remember. Every time Taisiya showed her the list of women, her aunt shook her head in disapproval.
After Taisiya searches the whole house with no trace of her father, she begins to cry.
"God," She whispers. "Could you please bring Daddy back?" Taisiya asks, her hands clasped together. She is kneeling, her straight hair in front of her face as she prays.
Taisiya hears the engine of a car pulling up to the house, and she stands up, smiling.
Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Repetitively. Chip begins to bark, lingering at the door, and Taisiya's eyes widen.
People only ring the doorbell like that when it's an emergency!
"Who is it?" Taisiya called.
"Uncle Doug." Taisiya's babysitter stood in front of the door. Taisiya looked over Rosé's - the babysitter's - shoulder
Uncle Doug stood on the doorstep, his usually bright brown eyes were droopy and dull. Taisiya's uncle's left eye was twitching, and his eyebags had doubled in size. His eyes looked like they were swollen, which was unusual for Uncle Doug since he'd never cried - at least, not in front of Taisiya. He glanced at Taisiya, then quickly turned away, whispering something to Rosé. Rosé's eyes widened, and she crossed her arms, her back turned to Taisiya. She pointed to Taisiya and pulled a tissue out of her pocket.
Uncle Doug turned to Taisiya, and he kneeled down, holding her small hands in his. "Taisiya, do you know what's happening?" He asked her, his voice sounding like the voice people use for babies. Taisiya hated that voice, especially because it made her feel as though people thought she couldn't understand anything.
"No," Taisiya answered back, her voice sounding like nails scraping against a chalkboard. "So, are you going to tell me or not?!"
"Uhm, yeah..." Uncle Doug told Taisiya, his eyes wide. "Well, Taisiya..." He began, bursting into tears. "Your mother... she's..." He stopped, his voice cracking on the word 'she.' "Dead."
Taisiya's brown eyes widened, and she looked at Rosé, who was staring back at her. Then Taisiya burst into tears, knowing that it was true.
Her mother... who had always been there for her.
Her mother... who had always listened to her.
Her mother... who let people make fun of her.
Her mother... who stood up for her every second of the day.
Her mother... the best mother Taisiya could ever have.
Dead. Gone. All in a second. All it took was a second. She was gone. Gone, gone, gone.
Taisiya repeated the word in her brain, falling to the floor as if someone had pushed her.
Taisiya sobbed, her arms covering her ears as Uncle Doug wrapped her arms around her and said, "I understand why you're so sad."
Taisiya shook her head, knowing that nobody would understand her pain. Nobody would be able to sincerely say that they knew her pain.
Taisiya opens the door, and in front of her stands... a woman. She has brown hair and her straight hair is styled into a pixie cut.
"Who are you? If you are looking for my father, he isn't here, so get into someone else's bedroom." She tells the woman.
The woman's eyes widen, and she plays with the sleeve of her white short sleeve shirt. Over the shirt is a pink watermelon-colored vest.
She shakes her head. "No, no, no. Sorry, uhm... what's your name?"
"Oh. Well, Taisiya, you're probably wondering where your father is and why I'm here." The woman tells Taisiya, a small smile on her face.
"Yeah...?" Taisiya says, a confused look on her face. "Where is my father?" She says, her eyes narrowing.
"Well, first... can I come in?" The woman asks.
Taisiya nods cautiously, moving out of the way. She watches as the woman sits down on one of the couches in the living room.
"Okay, well I'm from the NAEYC." The woman says. "The National Association for the Education of Young Children."
"Why are you here?" Taisiya asks, her eyes wide.
The woman glances at Taisiya, shaking her head and looking down at her hands on her lap. "Your father told us that he wants to disown you and give you away so that you can have a better life."