Waking in and out of consciousness is a stressful thing, and it only makes me more stressed so I know I kept falling in and out…I woke to some bread and milk then my body said no and I was asleep again. I woke to a small tickle on my face and a quick larger hand swatting the tickle away, and then I slept…
“Mama, when is she going to wake up? She has been asleep too long. I don’t want her to die on my favorite couch,” tiniest squeak of a voice said in a whisper.
“Hush Annie, she can still hear you. She will be fine; one day soon, when it is finally time, she will come back to us.”
…Unknown number of days…
I have been consistently awake for a few days; I don’t know how many other days I was out of it. The mother is quite sweet; her daughter is too, but I think she still sees me as someone scary or someone who might just drop dead.
The house looks different in the inside. It truly looks like a child took to the walls and colored them however they wanted. With the personality of this little girl, this does not surprise me. The mom did a nice job of hiding away the shadows and blandness of the house. “Have you lived here long?”
The little girl’s mouth gaped open, probably because she thought I lost my voice, due to me being so ancient.
“We have been here since she was three, so almost five years now. You seem to know this house, can I ask you about your past?”
Embarrassed by the question trying to hide my feelings it said, “Oh, I just know about the history of the house. About forty years ago I knew this house very well.” After finishing my sentence I know I must have dazed off because I thought back to the child, the little child that would have changed my… ‘Nope,’ thinking to myself, ‘I won’t live through it again.’
Little Annie must have gotten bored because she skipped away into the kitchen. Probably looking for some mischief she could get muddled in.
“Yes the orphanage; I too knew that place well,” the mother sighed.
The sigh from the mother showed her true stress lines and wrinkles. “If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?”
She chuckled, “I’m a ripe olé fifty-two almost fifty-three. I know sometimes I don’t look it, but that’s for Annie’s sake.”
She paused for a minute, checking the surroundings, “Annie isn’t mine; she is mine, but I adopted her. It seemed fitting, I grew up in an orphanage and never married, because I was here up until they foreclosed. I bought the place with the money from a horrible lawsuit; so that no one could use this home for an orphanage again. Annie was three when I found her living in a cardboard box down the street. I did all the legal things to find her a home and they kept saying she would be put in the foster system. So instead I took her home with me and she is officially mine. It’s a wonderful feeling being able to give someone the feeling of love that you have been longing for your whole life.”
This is a strong woman sitting before me; she did what I dreamed of, she claimed the little one as her own and she seems stronger for it. Even though I was going to guess she was only thirty-five, not the large amount of fifty-something. Thinking about this woman’s accomplishments stirred up my failures; they just seem to keep coming back. “You have done a marvelous job with this little girl; you have given her, what I wished I had been able to have done way back when. I’m going to bestow my little bit of personal failure on you, because it’s not going away and I feel like I need to talk it out before my time comes.” Looking at the woman hoping I have her full attention.
She was already staring at me intently, but she paused a moment, “Annie, what are you up to? Are you getting into trouble?”
“No mama, I’m just playing with my dolls in the living room!” Her small voice bellowed through the halls to us. “Sorry,” she said as she gave my attention again, “I get paranoid when she is silent.”
When I knew I had her attention, I told her my story and my failures…
I knew my story would hit close to her heart, because an orphan just wants a home. To hear a story from someone who chickened out on giving the child their dream is earthshattering for anyone but especially to an orphan. I couldn’t really read the mother’s expression; she seemed to have heard me but she seemed to be off in a distance.
Abruptly, the mom got up and said, “Excuse me a moment,” and she left the room.
‘I insulted her,’ I thought to myself. I wish I could just croak now so I wouldn’t have to indulge in criticism.
She abruptly came back into the room holding something…the laurel…