‘I don’t think she heard me,’ I said to myself because she hadn’t moved or responded to the great news. “Did you hear me Lizzy, it’s Miss…”
“I heard. I…”
Anticipation rising, I was having trouble controlling my emotions.
“I need you to leave. Leave this house without a word again, and actually keep your promise and never come back,” said without emotion or movements.
I was shocked she would say that; I thought she would be at least willing to understand my side of things. “Lizzy, aren’t you being a little unfair, I just want…”
“You have had forty years to explain. I will call you a cab. You will leave without saying goodbye to my daughter. Gather your stuff up and go.”
Lizzy exited the room towards her daughter, without so much of a tear; she just ended our conversation and began another with Annie.
I sat there a moment longer on the couch that I had thought I might get to stay on through the years. Being here with them gave me something to live for; I was going to attempt to make it to Annie’s adult life, if they would have had me. I stood and gathered my few belongings as a cab pulled up in front of the house. I didn’t want to just leave without saying goodbye; I didn’t want to relive my mistakes again. But I must respect her wishes and just leave. I walked up to the door, I thought I would never have to walk through again, and a second time stepped away from a family I wish I could have been a part of.
My body felt so heavy and my heart was slowly breaking. ‘What’s the point anymore, God? Is it time for me to come home, yet?’ as I plopped my body into the back of the cab as the cabby loaded my belongings.
“Where to Mam?” he said as routinely and generic as possible.
As I looked back towards the house, looking back at me through the living room window was little Annie’s tearful eyes. “Anywhere so crowded that I can’t be bothered by my feelings.”
He started the engine, and started to pull away from now just a memory.
Annie was no longer in the house she was running down the steps towards my leaving car. Stirring up the hard but bearable memory of leaving Lizzy the first time, ‘I don’t think I will live through this time,’ hearing Annie’s pleading cries and seeing her sobbing face. She will haunt me until my dying day.
We got back to the city back where I started outside the hotel, I had to weave through the bodies without being completely trampled. “Easier said than done, I must say,” I croaked out when I finally entered the flashy, cramped lobby. Booking my room, getting settled, and finally sitting in the slightly comfiest chair in the corner, I wept until I had no tears left. I sat in that chair for hours because I had no more energy for anything.
“Mam…? Mam,” the cleaning lady outside the door had been knocking for a while. “Mam? I’m coming in, excuse my entrance,” she said as she entered the door.
“Mama, what happened to the old lady with us? I miss her, and she didn’t even say goodbye. Mama?”
“She had to leave, Annie. Please don’t ask again.” Lizzy said as she stared out the window watching a man walk his grungy, cur-like dog down the street. “What an awful dog.”
“Mama, you okay? You always say what a poor dog and what a poor old man.”
‘How does she know these things,’ Lizzy thought to herself, ‘yes, when did I become so cynical?’ “I’m sorry my darling in just confused. What are you up to today?”
There was a knock at the door, just as Annie began to list off her long To-Do-List, “One minute Annie, let me get the door,” but she continued to ramble off. “Yes, hello,” as she said as she opened the door.
“Are you Elizabeth Kiddman, Mam?” a tall, crisp man standing on the porch said.
“Yes, that’s my legal name. May I ask what this is about? Annie, please stop rambling! Sorry I’m distracted, she is a handful,” Lizzy said as she gave the man her undying attention just as Lizzy latched onto her leg beside her.
“Mam, do you know a Ms. Ann…”
“Yep we do! She is the old lady that had to leave us suddenly,” Annie blurted out before he could finish.
“Annie darling, please go wait for me in the living room,” Lizzy could feel the indescribable tension building inside the man.
“But why…? Okay fine, whatever,” she begrudgingly went as she was told.
“Again, my apologies. Yes, we know of her. What about her?”
Annie was straining to hear her mother, but she only caught her mother whispering out, ‘what…when…how?’ So against all orders she ran back to the front door to protect her mother, but instead she entered just as her mother collapsed to the floor.
…To Be Continued…