Sad Drama

Okay. Deep breath in, deep breath out. 

I said I would do it on the first day of spring. I have to at least try. If no one answers, then no one answers. But if there is an answer … This is why I have to try. 

I glance at the calendar, hoping that it is not March 19th, that somehow it still says March 18th.

Or a year ago, before I even had good reason to do this at the start of every season.

Today’s calendar card reads loud and clear. March 19th, 2020. 

I sigh. 

Well, I said I would do it today. I did not say when.

No. Best to get it over with. I have to try. 

So I dig out the phone. 

With shaking hands, I pick up the piece of paper. Slowly, I read the scrawled set of numbers. There’s really no need because I know this particular phone number by heart.




It rings. And rings. And rings. And then a click. 

You have reached the voicemail box of

Amelia Patterson

There it is. Her voice. I’ve never heard more than Amelia Patterson in almost a year. 

At the tone, please record your message. 

I set down the phone. Like every other time, there was no answer. Why do I even try?

I tell myself that there is always the chance that there will be an answer. That is why I call. 

I walk over to my room, passing the room that used to be hers. On the table next to the bed, there is a framed photo. 

Amelia and I, standing in front of a Ferris Wheel. On her birthday, we went to the carnival and a man took our picture. She loved that day. 

But seeing the picture just fills me with sadness and regret. 

I leave the house, not bothering to lock it. Even with the tears in my eyes, I keep going. 

I get in the car and drive. Drive far away from the house. At some point, hours later, I stop the car and let out a heart-wrenching sob. 

Was this how Amelia felt? Did she sit somewhere crying, before someone came up and snatched-

I tell myself to quit it. She’s gone, stop thinking about it. But the memory comes, along with a feeling of regret. 

Amelia yelled at me. I yelled back. Then I regretted what I had done. She was all I had left. 

 I went into her room only to find a backpack filled with clothes. I saw this and guilt poured in. I knew I had to make things right, or else she might get hurt.

“Amelia, I really am sorry. Please don’t-”

“Don’t what, Mom? I’m leaving.” 

So I watched her go. She would come back, after blowing off some steam. Then I could make things right. But for now, I would leave them be.

After an hour, I became worried. After two, I called the police. 

I never saw her again. 

That is what haunts me. If only I had never yelled, Amelia might be safe and sound. If only I had gone after her, she might still be in my life. If only, if only. 

I’m jolted back into reality by the sound of a car driving by. I look up to see that a truck has stopped. Sitting in the driver’s seat is-


“Well now. If it ain’t Charlotte Patterson. Remember me?”

“As if I could forget,” I say dryly. 

“Yea. S’pose I owe you an apology, Charlotte,” Jim says. “Sorry. Anyway, what you cryin’ about?”

I don’t say anything, but he seems to realize. Everyone heard about what had happened. 

“Gurl, the world’s never been fixed by a couple tears, and it ain’t never gonna be. So you should prob’ly be gettin’ on home.”

I nod. He offers me a handkerchief, and I wipe my eyes, turning on the car.

“Where am I?” I ask, smacking the dashboard. I’m not in the mood, but it’s the only way for the car to start. Jim answers as the motor roars to life. 

“Just outside of Springfield.” 

I begin the drive home, Jim’s truck following me. The sky is teetering between night and day when the house comes into view. 

Inside the house, I feel like I am seeing it for the first time. I haven’t been cleaning a lot since… Well, it’s a mess. My cheeks flush as Jim looks around. 

“Well, I best be headin’ home, Charlotte,” he says. 

“Thanks” is all I manage to say. 

I stare at the front door for a long time. I eventually snap out of my reverie and walk around the house, cleaning and organizing every room. Every room except Amelia’s. 

It is time. I need to clean her room. I needed to do this long ago, except I held out hope that she would be back. 

It’s been a year. Amelia isn’t coming back. 

So I walk into the room and take her clothes off their hangers, her books off the shelves, her notebooks out of their drawers, until everything is gone. Then I sort through everything. Only a few things I decide to keep. The rest I will donate. Another girl will enjoy the things Amelia once loved. I’ll stop calling, stop breaking my heart again. 

These thoughts pain me, but not much. 

I want to learn to feel joy, not sadness, when I think of Amelia. 


I pick up the picture of Amelia and me at the carnival. I smile as I pack it into the box. 

“Charlotte? You ready?” Jim calls from outside. 

“Almost. Just need to finish packing up Amelia’s stuff.” I answer. 

After tucking away Amelia’s journal, I seal the box and haul it to the driveway. Jim puts it in the back of the truck, atop another box marked CLOTHES- C.

I climb up into the driver’s seat of the truck and start it up. Jim slides in across from me. 

We head down the highway, a Just Married sign flapping on the bumper of the truck. 

April 03, 2020 15:18

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