"In a forever that is a moment
In a moment that breathes forever
In the vein of a lustre
Of a lustre with no vein
You can drink from my ocean
And I will bend like water
Parting before your eyes
A way that leads home
When home is my hands
You can go on a forever
You can appear in a moment
Yet these hands will be staying
Because you are coming
Hurry back my sweet child
Mama's hands have all the answers"
I wipe a tear away as my eyes travel down those words on the wall, beautifully calligraphed into an onyx plaque. These tears would run widely, flippantly, not caring for my opinion, every single time they kiss that beautiful poem
My saving grace...
Turning away, a sharp pain rents through my heart and I throw my hands up for a squeeze, rumpling my dress and ruining Evans effort at commanding uniformity when he pressed it this morning. Another sharp pain wrings out from my spine, sending me fizzling to the floor and screaming out at the top of my voice.
"Mama... my heart aches... Mama!"
They only lingered around obligatorily for a while after she was submerged five feets under. Then they left. Even Evans, knowing how horrifying my emotion becomes when I want to be left alone, decided to hang around the neighbourhood until I was ready. But I could not bring myself to walk away. Believing I would be betraying her precious memory, I drove straight here, all the way hoping to get closer to her, though not bodily, but then I just could not walk. Not like I did before. Not. Ever. Again.
She never did. Mama never walked. Everyone told her to, but instead, her arms held open still, expecting, hoping, letting me fall into them and ringing out all the words I would not bring myself to utter out of guilt. It rang, though not even a whisper would elude her as she was the embodiment of quietness itself when it gets reverberatingly noisy. Yet the hoot seemed to loom inside me, only inside me, bouncing around in there rampantly and recoiling with the intensity of tennis balls against wall. To someone else, it would have gone unheard, but to me, it would be the only sound I hear as her beautiful fingers would run through my hair, her soft voice hushing me compassionately.
Why did you have to leave Mama? Why did you have to bereave me of your arms so soon? I only just got around to basking in its warmth again. Why did you have to take it away from me now? Why?
It all started that wretched day.
Damn, that cursed day I flung a bagel bag in the air and brought it to sit proudly on taut shoulders as I walked into the calloused hands of the unknown, I had hurt her to pieces.
Sitting up and clenching my knees tightly together, I bring my arms around them shakily and chew at my lower lips desperately as I reminisce on the day a fool had indeed been born.
"Noel!" Mama looks at me disbelievingly, her green eyeballs which strongly claims her Irish heritage, almost popping out of its socket. Her hand fly to her chest as if holding down an explosion in there but my only response is a frown.
"I mean it mom. I'm through with this shit. I feel so sucked up and drained. Hell, its so hard being your daughter. I'm leaving mama, so don't try to stop me."
She starts to advance towards me, and finally extends a hand when she is at an arm-length, but I slap it away and turn to pick my bagel bag on the fluffy sofa. Since dad lost everything two years ago, and no one cared enough to help, I have reached a decision. It sounds arrogantly selfish but it's the only one I want to allow entry into my jumbled head for now. Tiana said it was the best I could do for myself.
Ripping the bag from the chair, I turn in the direction of the door, striding past mama. Her raspy voice follow me all the way, threatening to kill my pace with every breath, "Listen to me darlin', you don't understand what you're doin'. Where do you think you'll go? You're only sixteen for Christ sake! Please don' walk away. I'll work harder, get another job if it comes to that, but please baby don't leave mama. I can never live with you gone. Please baby..."
I can feel her drawing closer with every second as I linger at the door handle, momentarily pausing to catch a breath. But then, frowning again, I turn the handle and with a swagger walk into the proud hands of the unknown, only gifting her with a mumbled requisite goodb...
A bang yanks my memory from the maze and another frown spread across my cheeks in disdain. Who the hell is it now?
Pulling my weak form to a jittery stance, I stagger toward the door, a storm of hot retorts already brewing up at the tip of my lips and cuing in an ascending degree of mutiny.
I finally get to the door and pull it open, my lips prepared to deliver, but, what the...
"Hello sugar. Can I come in please?"
Damn right you cannot!
But then my traitorous lips answer in the affirmative. I step around to let him through and turn into the house after him, my eyes flaring and anger already prevailing over pain in me. I clip it down as I watch him walk towards the Grammy wall of mama's poetry and my steps carry me on its own accord till it kills before the fluffy chair. What's with mama and the fleecy soft spot? Frowning, I flop my frame into it anyways, welcoming the softness for the first time in years.
Soft footsteps echoing closer sends another frown creasing every facet of my cheek region and my ears begin to throb from the exertion. Way to go Noel, keep that up and you'll be scheduling an appointment for plastic surgery soon.
"Sugar", I snap and turn toward the voice, taken aback at his closeness. He was stooping beside the arm rest, his gaze cowardly flipping between my face and some myth on the ground, "I can come back if this isn't a good time, you know."
Of course, his nested role. Very typical of you dad.
I tighten my lips together, ferociously biting at them to keep a sound from filtering out. I do not owe this man anything. He could go if he wanted.
"Pls sugar, talk to me. I'm sorry, I sincerely am. What do you want me to do? Name it and it will be done. But please don't give me the cold shoulder, please. Lash at me, but not..."
"Sorry!" My tongues finally could not resist and a strength I could not fathom jut me upright. "I thought that would be enough. We both imagined it would be enough. But you had to dish that spicy soup only now? When it is stone cold? Who the hell do you think you are? She waited... every day, she waited. For damn fifteen years you made her wait!"
Regarding him with a flimsy gaze, I let the words sink in and then commence my tooting. "Then I betrayed her too. I left her too. We both tormented her with anxiety, zapped her of tolerance, drained her spinelessly and yet she waited! Thank God I came back. But you know what? You didn't dad. You. Did. Not. She would sit in the veranda out front with her little bible on her lap and the ever-ready smile blushing her lips deliciously and wait. But hell, you had to show up only now? How dare you!"
Paralysed as fresh acrimony begin to mount in me, I throw myself back into the chair and close my eyes. These damn, duplicitous tears. They have ruined everything. I had reviewed this argument a thousand times and while my repetition promised to be laced with the cruellest of tongue lashings, girly whimpering had not been a welcome path down that lane. Damn the tears. Damn everything!
You are as guilt... those cursed words that would not seem to afford me a breath of deserving air begin to loom in my mind.
No, I can never be as guilty as this man. Thoughts controlled by me colluded with aggression to match, refusing to give that demon a space to thrive. I could never be as guilty as this monster.
You are as guilty...
No! I am not. Never. I could never be. He never returned but I came back. For six years, I stayed by her side, but he is only just showing up now. After she...
"It was the only thing I could think to do Sugar." That had to have been in my head. Surely, he did not just make that statement.
"It was the only way to keep you safe. I could not think of any other way." His repetition begins to infuriate me. Is he really playing the self-pity game here? Is he bugged with the most primitive traits of insanity?!
"Really? You're going to go defensive here? You are actually going to..."
"Listen to me Sugar please." His tone holler desperation and I hiss in disgust. "You have to believe me. It was the only way. I was a..." That unbecoming pause, it sickens me to the bones. What was so heavy to spit?
"I was a secret agent for a private agency." He was what? I give him a foreboding questioning look and a tight smile is his grim response before he continues. "A detail I was assigned to died mysteriously under my supervision. I'm sorry, a detail is..."
"I've read enough crime novels to know what that means dad."
"Oh OK. My identity slipped and I couldn't bring myself to put you guys in danger. Then the agency advised that I stay away. I never realised 'away' would skyrocket into five years. They promised they had taken you two to a secure location and I was not to worry. Then on that exact day, five years later, I realised they had lied. In fact, the agency was a... was a scam Sugar. They were an attaché of some fraudulent underdog devil shrine and I had been foolhardy enough to get myself into that mess. Flushed with rage, I tried to escape but unfortunately, I got into an accident on my way and went into coma for ten awful years. The person who saved me was kind enough to help me tail you two. But... but then... God... I was too late. I appeared just when she was disappearing... forever... for..ever..."
He sinks to the floor and his knees dig into the fur rug, crying like a baby. I watch him helplessly, comatose and bereft myself, the realisation washing over me with apprehension.
I am guilty... alone.
Dad had never been guilty... I have been such a badass to both my parents. What sort of a daughter am I?
I start to shake literally, my guiltiness gaping at me with unrestrained dereliction. I am the only guilty soul. These two, they did their best, but I messed up, big time...
"I now see why." I turn my body towards his quaking form, my heart hurting for him. "Mum came in one day stating rapidly that we had to leave. Then we condescended to living in the slums. She never allowed me out of the house. Sometimes, she would even lock me indoors at the beginning. Then she started to home-school me and... but, when it began to take a toll on her, she conceded to my pleas to go to a real school. That's where I met some really shitty friends and... and they goaded me into leaving the neighbourhood with them. But they lied papa. They sold me... they sold me into... into... prostitu..." My voice croak and dad is beside me instantly and damn, he holds me. Like a real parent would. The real parent that he is.
"Hush... Hush Sugar... Hush my darling. It's OK... I'm here now... It's going to be OK." Not even Evans had been able to fill this void. This emptiness. But in a second, dad is doing a great job so effortlessly. I cling to him like life itself and unload all the pent-up anger and grieve. He soaks it all in, rubbing my hair and whispering soft, soothing words into my ears.
My hands, they are back... Only that now, they belong to dad. But then, they were just as good. It is going to be alright. I can go through this. The many years with mother is reopening with dad.
With this thought roaming blurrily in my mind, I wrap my hands tightly around him and welcome the peaceful sleep shuddering lazily around.
A Quick one from me
I just wantred to drop this in.
This write-up is a second trial. The first I wrote in here directly using my phone (over a thousand words) got wiped off mistakenly when I clicked on a back button. I had to start all over (but this time with MSWord) because I really wanted to share Noel's short story as I know it could help someone out there.
I was crying writing this and hope you enjoy.
But that's not all of the reasons I stopped to leave this. I was wondering if it was possible to pass a suggestion across to the tech team to enable saving your write-up before submission. In case, i don't know, someone could fall into the same shit I was in yesterday.
Thanks for this prompt. I really enjoyed writing this story and hope you enjoyed reading it.