This was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. Finally...Graduation.
I was soon going to be a free woman, I’m not a little kid that grew up in a Southern ranch. I was an adult. But who knew this day would go so wrong...
“I can’t believe it.” My best friend Fiona said. We were at my apartment getting ready to go shopping for Grad dresses.
“I know right.” I agreed...it felt like yesterday when I first went to college. I remembered mom crying as she waved at me from the airport.
I had decided to go to California for my Masters even though there were plenty of good colleges in my home state of Georgia. I mainly did not want to be treated like a baby...mom was...well let’s say...over affectionate and overprotective. When I was in high school and I had finished giving my graduation speech mom had actually ran towards me at the stage...with everyone seeing and giving me a hug...I was flushed as I saw my classmates trying hard not to giggle.
When I decided to go to California mom didn't stop me which threw me off...mom would have never let me out of her sight...ever.
“You're all grown up...I can’t keep you locked in the house...you need a break...but your old mother will miss you.”
That's all I had to hear. I was welling up tears. Turns out I’ll miss mom more than she’ll miss me.
“Awww honey don’t cry, you can stay here if you want.” My mother knew me so well, she really didn’t want me to leave that day.
I had convinced her a million times that I was going to be just fine on my own but mom...was just mom...she made sure I took my vitamins, made sure I brought the right kind of sunscreen...she was so helpless...to not be helpful.
“Hello...earth to Bella...you there.” Fiona said, snapping me back to reality.
“Ya, it’s just I haven’t seen my mom for three years and well she’s coming tomorrow for Grad but I guess I’m just nervous.”
“I get ya, I’d feel the same way.” Fiona said.
‘Lucky for her to say’ I thought. Her parents were only an hour away from our campus. They visited her every Friday...I’d become really close with Mrs.Smith, Fiona’s mother...she always reminded me of my loving mother back in Georgia...hours away from where I live.
Mrs.Smith made the best brownies which Fiona and I would gulp down in an instant. Fiona never cared if her mother treated her like a baby or embarrassed her in front of everyone...she was happy...that was all that mattered.
“What about the pink one.” I suggested. We were at Macy's as Fiona tried one by one all the dresses Macy’s had to offer.
“Nah, to fancy.” She replied as her eyes caught a purple floral dress.
“Nice choice.” I remarked. While Fiona was endlessly searching for her spotlight dress I decided to rest for a bit. I sat at one of those rest areas as I pointed to different dresses to see if they appealed good to Fiona.
I was at the edge of dozing off when someone was tapping me on the shoulder...thinking it was Fiona I slowly opened my eyes.
“Fi...oh..um...can I help you?” Standing in front of was a man, he looked like his early 30’s. His eyes were cold as he stared at me. He had a suit on and his hair neatly combed under a hat. He kind of looked like a secret service guy that they show wherever the president’s come to the public.
“Yes, you can actually, is your last name Alvarez?” He asked in a suspicious voice as if I would try to lie my way out.
“Yes.” I said point-black...wait...how does he know my last name?
“What’s your name...miss.” He asked again suspiciously.
“Why do you need to know?” I was one step away from calling the cops and running out of this uncomfortable position.
“It’s...your mother.” He slowly said...trying to read my emotions.
“Mom...what happened to her.” I was freaking out.
“Nothing.” The man quickly said. “She’s all right, she just came here and well she asked me to search for you.”
“She’s already here...I thought she would come tomorrow.”
“Eh...she came early I guess.” He shrugged as he said that.
“Where is she?” I looked around hoping to catch a glimpse of her but she was nowever to be seen.
“She’s not here, she’s in a...hotel…” He added.
“Bella...do you…” Fiona stopped, she was holding the purple dress she had chosen before as she stared at the mysterious man. “Who’s this?” She asked me.
Before I could reply the man piped up.
“I’m Trevor, her mother has sent me to find her.” He said pointing at me.
“Your mom’s here!” Fiona said as she grabbed my hand and led me to the exit.
“Fiona...slow down.” I said as I was being dragged like a dog on a collar.
The man followed us as Fiona and I quickly paid for her dress and left the store.
I looked back to see that Trevor was texting someone. Maybe it was mom?
“She said she’ll meet us at your place.” He called back. “Tomorrow.”
“Why tomorrow, when she’s here already.” Fiona pointed out.
“Um, she wanted to get ready.” He said hesitating.
Fiona shrugged as we reached our place. The man still followed us.
“Do you need anything?” I asked, trying to not be rude.
“No, I just wanted to know the address so I could bring your mother here.” With that he left, coming the way we came.
“Weird.” Fiona said once we were inside.
“Who, that Trevor guy?” I asked.
“...Oh no not that, I meant that I had a matching necklace to go with this dress that I didn't even realize matched...weird right.” Fiona replied.
“Ya...right.” I said, not even knowing what she even said...I felt something was going to be off. I felt like tomorrow was going to be bad for some reason...I didn't know why I felt like this.
‘I’m going to graduate, tomorrow should be the best day of my life’ I reminded myself...I hoped I was right.
I woke up to the sun shining on my face. I blocked it with my hand. I looked across the room to see that Fiona had already got up and she was making pancakes.
“You hungry?” She asked me when she saw I had woken up.
“Ya.” I replied, getting up.
I took a quick shower and wore some warm clothes as I sat down at the table. Just when I was about to have my first bite the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it.” Fiona volunteered.
“Oh, hi.” I heard Fiona say.
“Hi, you must be Fiona, Bella told me all about you.” I heard the newcomer say.
I got up and I stared past Fiona...With the same loving face that I had seen when I was growing up...it was mom.
I waited no second as I was soon in her arms hugging her.
“Oh, my little Bell, I missed you so much.” My mother kept saying as she cried happy tears.
“I missed you too.” I said.
Fiona kept looking at the door as if someone else was to come.
“Where’s Trevor?” She asked my mom.
“Huh...who’s that?” My mom asked, confused.
“The guy you asked to help you find me.” I replied.
“What?” Mom was clearly confused now.
“Didn't you come here yesterday?’’ I asked, now worried.
“No, I left yesterday night and came today at 5 a.m.”
“Then…” Fiona started but she stopped. “Maybe it was a misunderstanding.” She finally said.
I smiled, as I nodded, but mom looked pale as if she'd seen a ghost.
“Mom you ok?”
“Ya?” Except she said that like a question, like she doesn't know if she is ok or not. “Come on girls, let’s get you ready, today’s your big day.”
In less than an hour mom had finished Fiona’s arrangements.
“Wow, Fiona...you look lovely.” I said... I was so proud of her.
Her purple dress flowed all the way through her feet. She had on mascara and a dark magenta eye shadow. Her brown hair was decorated with beads and tied into a bun...she looked elegant.
“Your turn.” Fiona said.
“I can do it myself.” I countered.
Mom didn't listen as she soon started to apply makeup on my face. When makeup was done mom bought me a plastic bag.
I looked inside...there was the most beautiful dress I’d ever seen...it was silver decorated in light pink flowers...mom helped me put it on.
I stood in front of the mirror as mom did my hair.
When I finally showed Fiona, she had almost fainted with happiness. We hugged, careful not to rub our makeup.
“Welcome one and all to the Greenville college graduation ceremony, I am so proud of all of you....”
Fiona and I looked at each other, hand in hand as the principal gave his speech. Fiona was trying not to cry but there were small tears coming out of her eyes. I squeezed her hand...she smiled.
Everyone in our classes gave small speeches to the crowd...I almost cried myself when Fiona mentioned how much I had meant to her.
When I had a chance to speak, I grabbed the ends of my dress as I made my way through the crowd and up the stairs.
“I would like to thank you for such a great experience…” I had started, I looked at Fiona giving me a thumbs up...all my teachers were smiling...I searched for mom...I finally spotted her at the very end...she seemed to be in tears. I smiled at her...then I saw him… he had something in his hands...I couldn't tell what it was from where I stood.
I was on the edge as I tried to focus on my speech but something kept bugging me that I was losing time, I didn't know what to do...some kids started to become impatient as I just stood there staring back to see what was going on back there...when I heard the noise….
“Mom...I’m coming.” I yelled as I dived through the crowd, everyone seemed to be confused and frightened at what was going on. I finally saw her, she had blood oozing from her, I cried...harder than ever before...I didn’t care if people thought I was a baby...I didn't care about what they would say, I cared about mom…
“I’m sorry.” My mother managed to say. “It’s my fault, I did... something wrong... in the past, I’m suffering for it now.”
“Mom, don’t leave me.” I kept saying...but by then it was too late....