Take Care of Momma
By: Autumn Williams
Momma’s been sad since Daddy left. She doesn’t move from the couch anymore. I guess it’d be too painful for her to go upstairs to bed…to their bed. Her and Daddy have shared that bed for as long as I can remember, longer actually. No. I don’t blame Momma. I wouldn’t want to lie up there either. I wish I knew what to say to make her feel better. Poor Momma.
Now, personally, I’m not really sad about Daddy. For whatever reason, I feel like he’s not too far from here, but besides that, I’m just angry with him for making Momma this way, making her so sad she won’t even speak to me. He could’ve been truthful with Momma, told her it was over and he wasn’t coming back. But he didn’t. He lied, and he lied with the jolliest expression a person could possibly produce.
“I’m going to the market, Sweetheart.” That’s what he called Momma, “Sweetheart.” Daddy even waited for Momma to give him a list for shopping. He gave her a hug and a kiss, and drove out of Momma’s life without so much as a “goodbye.”
“Be back soon!” that’s what Daddy said. “Be back soon.”
But Daddy didn’t come back “soon.” Daddy didn’t come back at all. He even shut off his phone so when Momma called it, it wouldn’t even ring, it'd go straight to the answering machine. Momma called Daddy’s phone a lot in these past couple of days.
“Hi! You’ve reached Benjamin Taylor. Please, leave me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! Have a great day!” the phone would say to Momma. Yesterday she made me jump.
“Have a great da-“
“NOOOOOOOOOO!” Momma screamed at it, her poor eyes were swollen with tears. “NOOOOOOO!!!”
Momma began smashing the phone on the table, slamming it down hard with every word she screamed.
“I! WON’T! HAVE! A! GREAT! DAT! I…” the phone finally shattered.
Momma seemed defeated. She shrunk into the couch, curling herself into a ball and sobbing. Through her tears I could hear her whispering.
“Where is my baby? Where is my baby. God? Please.”
I stood beside the couch not knowing what to say. I cried for Momma. I sat down next to her little balled up body and put my hand on her shoulder. For a moment she was still. A tear fell down as she began her pleas for Daddy again.
“Where is my baby?” Momma whispered over and over until she drifted off to sleep.
Daddy is a coward.
The next morning, Momma woke up to someone banging on our front door. Mad as I was, I still found myself bolting down the front room stairs, hoping against all hope that it was Daddy, and maybe he’d just lost his keys and his phone or something but, before I could even get to the last step, Momma had reached the door and opened it.
Soaking wet and holding his hat, a strange man stood in front of Momma. The sadness on his face easily mirrored her own. He lifted his eyes only and slowly began to speak.
“Mrs. Taylor?” he asked sullenly.
“Yes, sir.” Momma said. Her voice was shaking like a leaf that is trying to fall off it’s tree.
“Mrs. Taylor, I’m Detective-“
“Where is my baby?!?” Momma cut the man off with her scream. I saw him flinch and so did I. “Where is she?!? WHERE IS SHE?!?” the officer dropped his eyes again.
I was so confused. Daddy was the one who left. Who was Momma crying over? I didn’t understand. I stood on the step with my mouth gapping open, waiting for things to make any sense.
The detective continued, “Mrs. Taylor, please. Please, if you’ll allow me to come in and we could…please, just please have a seat.” The cop was desperate and struggling, and Momma wasn’t going to sit down, and I felt bad for him.
For me, the room had begun to spin like a carnival ride, and I wanted to get off.
“Where is my daughter? Where is my Anabelle?” Momma crumpled to the floor before the detective could catch her. He took a knee beside her and placed his hand on her shoulder. “Where is my baby girl?”
I stood there more confused than I’d ever been in my whole entire life. I could only think of one thing to do, so I began to scream.
“Momma! I’m here!” I exclaimed as loud as I possibly could. “I’m here!” Momma didn’t respond.
“Detective! Detective!!!” I was hysterical now. “Detective, tell her I’m here! Tell her I’m right HERE!!!” The cop didn’t respond either.
A loud, musical ring tone came buzzing from the cop’s pocket. He took two steps away from Momma and I, and answered his phone.
I continued to scream at Momma, trying to make her see me.
“Ten minutes ago? Are you sure about this? Alright, Chief. Alright.” The cop ended his call.
“Can’t ya hear me??? I’m here!!” My confusion had turned to panic, and the panic spread in my body and made me very cold, as if I was turning into a snowman. I was very, very afraid.
I jumped up and down in front of Momma and the cop, rapidly waving my hands like one of those inflated men at a tire store, screaming, “I’M HERE! I’M HERE! WHY CAN’T YOU HEAR ME? MOMMA!”
I began to cry. The fear and confusion was too much for me to handle. Sobbing uncontrollably, I felt a familiar touch on my shoulder. I turned my head and towering over me, Momma, and the detective, stood my Daddy. He put a single finger to his lips indicating to me to be quiet. I didn’t understand, but I obeyed.
The detective knelt back down by Momma who was still on the floor, and began to speak.
“Mrs. Taylor, I must inform you that we have located your daughter and your husband.” he said.
I didn’t understand what was happening. I was so scared. Pleadingly, I looked at my Daddy. Daddy just shook his head “no” and tapped a finger against his ear-LISTEN. So, I did.
Momma sat up and placed her legs “crisscrossed-apple-sauce” in front of the cop. His shiny badge that was glistening from the rain, spelled out his last name, “Cooper.”
Detective Cooper mimicked Momma’s position on our front room floor. He grabbed Momma’s hands and Daddy grabbed mine.
Cooper continued, “Mrs. Taylor, there’s been an accident.” My heart dropped and so did Momma’s head. The detective took a deep breath and began again, “There was a drunk driver in King County. He was travelling West in the East-bound lane, on Highway 101.” Cooper allowed himself another pause and another deep breath.
Daddy gripped my hands tighter and rested his chin on the top of my head. Momma was silent.
“Now, Mrs. Taylor, before I continue, I just want you to know that-“
“Just say it.” Momma interrupted him. She has a bad habit of doing that.
Again, Detective Cooper inhaled and exhaled deeply. “According to what we’ve managed to piece together, your husband swerved to avoid what would’ve surely been a very high speed, head-on collision. Only thing was,” Cooper gulped. “there was no other lane for him to swerve into.”
“What does…what does that mean?” Momma croaked, fighting her pain and fear.
“Well, ma’am,” Cooper glanced at his hands. Momma had them clenched so hard her knuckles were white. He didn’t stop her. Painstakingly, he looked back up at Momma’s eyes.
“It means your husband’s car went over the barricade.” Now, the detective's voice had begun to quiver. “Ma’am, the vehicle landed on some brush about 50 feet below the bridge.”
I was beginning to understand certain things. I imagine, so was Momma. Surprisingly enough, she wasn’t sobbing. She was just listening and waiting to listen. The only one who seemed to be struggling at that moment was Cooper, and again, I felt bad for him.
“Mrs. Taylor, your daughter died instantly.” I saw a single tear fall down Copper’s face. He quickly added, “The M.E. said she didn’t feel a thing.”
“When?” Momma asked. Her voice seemed resolute. “When did she go away?”
“Well, Mrs. Taylor, unfortunately, I don’t have that report on hand, so I can’t give you an exact time right now. However, it would have been approximately 35 to 45 minutes after you stated that they left your home.”
Suddenly, I remembered everything. Daddy and I were going to surprise Momma. Daddy wanted me to ride along to help pick her out a gift, then we were going to go to the grocery store. We were singing Adele in the car because it came on the radio, and then…
“Ben. Where is Ben? Where is my husband?” Momma asked, sounding hopeful.
“Daddy?” I looked up at my father. “Where have you been?” But, Daddy didn’t say a word. He just signaled me to be quiet and listen, just as he had before.
Cooper took his famous deep breath and began to speak again, softly and clearly. “Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Taylor is no longer with us.”
And with that, Momma lost the composure she tried so desperately to hold on to. Daddy rushed past me to kneel beside her. I did the same. Daddy placed his hands on Momma’s shoulders and I wrapped my arms around her waist, resting my head on her back. She stopped crying instantly.
Detective Cooper looked around, seemingly intrigued by something. A warm breeze in a closed up house, on a windless day.
He continued, “Mr. Taylor had been holding on, Mrs. Taylor. The vehicle was recovered merely an hour ago. Your husband passed on the way to the hospital.” Cooper paused, pulled a hand away from Momma, placed it across his heart and continued, “Dare I say, it’s almost as if he stayed until he knew your little girl had been discovered.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn’t let go of Momma but I looked up at Daddy. He was looking at me, too, smiling, but with a sadness in his eyes.
“I love you, baby girl.” He said to me. “Sorry I was late.”
“I love you, too, Daddy.” I said, choking back my sobs. “I’m glad you made it.”
The rest of what Detective Cooper said was a blur. He and Momma couldn’t hear us so Daddy and I spoke over them. Momma didn’t cry as long as we could touch her.
“What do we do now, Daddy?” I asked him curiously.
“Well, kiddo,” he always called me that, ‘kiddo.' “We’ll move on someday. We’ll go see Grandma and Grandpa Taylor.” Daddy paused, I could tell he was thinking, then he added, “And Rudy! Rudy is there, too!”
Rudy was my German Sheppard. I had him for 6 years. He got sick with something the Vet called “Parvovirus,” and we had to put him down. Grandma and Grandpa are nice, but I can’t wait to see Rudy! I smiled at the thought, but then another thought came in and my smile went away.
“When do we move, Daddy? And what’s going to happen to Momma? I don’t want to leave Momma.” I jerked back the tears and calmed myself by nestling my head closer onto Momma’s back. I could hear her heart beating.
“Well,” Daddy reached his hand out for mine. I took it and held it tight. “Right now, we don’t move.” He looked lovingly at Momma. “Right now it’s our job to look over your mother until she is well enough to be on her own. When that day comes, you and I will go see Grandma, Grandpa, and Rudy.”
“Will we see Momma when we move?” I asked.
“Yes, kiddo. We will be able to check on your mother whenever we want, or whenever she needs us.” Daddy smiled at me. I smiled back. “And when your Momma’s time comes, she will move, too.”
“Move in with us?” I asked, excitedly.
“Yes, baby girl. She’ll move in with us. But, for now we have a job to do.” Daddy squeezed my hand.
“Take care of Momma.” I said. It wasn’t a question.
Smiling, Daddy shook his head up and down. “You’ve got it, kiddo. You’ve got it.”
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Oh, this story really made me smile. It was so beautiful. I adore the description when the little girl realizes what's going on, and that really shocked me too. Great job with this story. I really hope this gets more exposure!
Thank you so much! Looking back on it now, I can see a lot of grammatical errors that I didn't notice when I posted it. I'm really glad you liked it though, and VERY appreciative of your kind comments. Thanks again for taking your time to read it. 💜
Hello any new stories out
This is a fantastic story.I like the ending.Great job. Keep writing. Would you mind reading my story “Leaf me alone”
Sure thing, Sahittian. I appreciate your support 💜💜💜💜
You got it, buddy 😊