Constantly making the brain think out of the box…2-5 minute drawings…
Constantly making the brain think out of the box…2-5 minute drawings…
“Mama won’t you tell me what’s the matter?” Annie said as she tugged repeatedly on her mother’s sleeve that was now covered in snot and tears. “Mama, please stop crying.”
It had been two days since the man came to the house; two days of continuous tears. ‘She had a heart attack. She might be gone already. I might never get to say goodbye,’ Lizzy continued to pour over the news. How could she tell Annie, Annie who loved Miss Ann so much, and had been asking about her constantly? ‘How can I tell my baby girl that her friend has died or is dying?’ I wasn’t permitted to come to the hospital because I wasn’t family but I had been put as Miss Ann’s emergency contact.
The phone rang interrupting Annie. “Yes, hello,” I answer hoping the news was from the hospital. “I understand, thank you.” Searching for the words, “Annie,” I yelled but forgot she hadn’t left my side, “we have to go see Miss Ann. She is asking for us.”
“Yipee!! I gets to see my friend,” Annie’s little body trembled with excitement and scurried away to get ready.
“Annie, please come back. I need to tell you something about Miss Ann,” I said as Annie came to my side. ‘How do I tell her this?’ “Annie, Miss Ann is…”
Annie excitedly was staring up at her mama anticipating the good news, “Yes, mama!”
I began, but was not able to finish. Annie ran from me, up the stairs, into her room, and slammed the door behind her.
I tried to reason with her but she said, ‘NO!’
“Hello, we are her to see a Miss Ann,” I had convinced Annie to come with me. I told her it might be the last time.
“One moment please,” the nurse at the front desk said as she stepped away to an older man, the doctor, cross the room. They looked at me and started towards us.
“Miss or Mrs…?”
“Miss Elizabeth and my daughter Annie,” I replied back to the doctor who seemed confused.
“Can I talk to you privately, could my nurse take your daughter to the play area and get her a snack?” he said pointing to the area across from the room where a bunch of little kids were.
“Sure,” I said to the doctor, then squatting down to Annie’s level. “You are going to go with this young lady. She is going to take you to the area where the little kids get to play. It’s the special area where you can imagine you are anywhere but here. Please go with her,” pleading with Annie to not make a scene.
“Yes, Mama,” she said without any responsive emotion or warmth. She just followed the woman to the play area, sat in a chair, and started reading a book.
“What’s wrong doctor? Is Ann alright. Can I see her now?”
“I’m sorry mam but someone was supposed to call you again. Miss Ann died about twenty minutes ago. She had another heart attack and she was gone. Mam…”
I must have been fading away; his quizzical expression slowly blurred and was gone.
My eyes fluttered open and I was on a hospital bed with little Annie next to me reading. I hate hospital beds; it reminds me of the scandal.
“Mam, are you back with us?” the same doctor was beside me taking my pulse. “You gave me quite a scare when you began to topple over. Your little girl though jumped the playpen barricade, and was by your side rubbing your head trying to revive you. You’ve got quite a helper there.”
Little Annie’s eyes sparkled a quick second but she did not look up from her book.
“I am sorry I did not brace you for the bad news. And I am sorry I told your daughter as well. After you fell and she was holding you she began yelling at me, and demanding the reason. I am sorry but I don’t like to lie to little kids.”
I looked over at my baby and the sparkle of happiness was gone, only to leave a tear streaming down her face and dripping onto the binding of the book. She still did not look up. I scooped her up into my arms and placed her on the bed with me; she stopped reading and buried her head into my chest and wept. “What now doctor? What happens now?”
“Well since she does not have any other family contacts we wanted to leave her effects with you both. She brought everything with her when the hotel staff called it in.”
As he produced her luggage, the same luggage I made her gather up and take with her when I kicked her out. “Did she say anything when she was conscious?”
“She only kept mumbling, ‘I am sorry…I wish I hadn’t been a coward…I wanted you to be mine…I had hoped to call you both mine.’ “She kept saying those things when she would come back to us. She also said this before she left us,” he was going to start but indicated Annie’s presence.
“It’s fine. She deserves to know what her friend said before she went home to His house.”
He retrieved a note pad, “She was saying too much stuff to me not to write it down so I could tell you everything word for word. She said to me,” ‘Please promise me something. If a young woman and child come to see me and I am already gone, please tell them I am sorry for leaving a second time. I should have stayed and fought to keep the family I wanted. Tell the little girl she is the most beautiful and charming little girl that I am happy to call my best friend.”
Annie’s sobbing silenced as she was listening to the doctor’s words. She squeezed me a little tighter when he had said what Miss Ann said.
He continued, ‘and please tell Lizzy that I never wanted to leave in the beginning. I just was cowardly and didn’t think I would be able to see you in a different family that was not with me. Please give her the folder in my luggage after you tell her these things. Hopefully she will understand.” As he said this he handed me an accordion folder. “Please tell her I still love her just as I did the first day I had to counsel her. I enjoyed the time is spent with them both and I felt a part of a family. A make sure to emphasize to her, I do not blame her for kicking me out. I am just happy I got to explain myself once more to her before I was gone.” He chuckled after the last part.
“What’s so funny,” I asked confused why he would laugh at her words.
“Oh no mam, she also told me that if I did not do as she said and tell you these things that she would haunt me the rest of my life and ruin all encounters of love. She also said that if I did tell you everything exactly as she wanted she would be the cause of my next love encounter. She was a stubborn woman, but I do hope you understood everything I said,” he said making sure I did in fact get everything he had told me; he probably believed that Ann would haunt him.
“You did, but I would still beware. She has a funny way of coming back into your life one way or another,” I said to be funny but it was true.
He chuckled as well, glance at us again and left the room.
The folder sat in my lap. I could quite put my finger on why I knew this folder, like I had seen it once before. ‘Why?’
“What’s wrong mama, aren’t you going to open it? I wonder what it is.”
I wonder too; I just didn’t know if I wanted to know. But it was Miss Ann’s dying wish I opened this folder. So… I opened the flap and found…“Wait really!?!”
“What’s wrong mama?”
“Are you okay mam,” the doctor must have been outside the room.
“I don’t believe it. She wanted me. She wanted me that day I told her I was being adopted. She had come that day to adopt me.” I kept rambling off different phrases trying to understand it all.
“”Yippee Mama, you were always wanted by someone who you loved.”
“Congratulations mam, being adopted is one of the greatest feelings, believe me.”
“Wait there is a second page in here. She updated the papers. She officially adopted me the day after I invited her to stay. I had a mama, for those few short days. Annie, that means you had a grandma for those few days too.”
“Awesome sauce! My best friend and my grandma were the same people.” Annie looked all excited for a moment, but then remembering. “I am sad she is gone though.”
“She isn’t truly gone. She is always with us and if God allows her she might just haunt us through our days. You too doctor sir,” I said with a small chuckle trying to uplift the mood.
“Well since today should be a happy day, for you being adopted and you finding out you had a grandma, I am going to take you too beautiful ladies out for dinner,” the doctor said as he also tried to also lift the mood. “Let me get cleaned up and you,” pointing at Annie, “will decide where we go.” He left the room probably to clock out and finish the last minute things.
I sat there excited for the food, excited for the company, excited for Annie; but also, I felt excited and warmed for me. I had a mama. A mama who fought to keep me. A mama who loved me until the end. A mama who I will remember for forever.
…Epilogue to Continue…
‘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…
“What, Who, How?” I couldn’t seem to get a clear sentence out. “Where…did you get…that?” Finally giving up and gesturing to the laurel.
She quizzically looked down at the wreath of flowers and leaves, “I forgot who told me that’s what it’s called it; I’ve been calling it a wreath for all these years.”
She turned her eyes back to mine and I saw it; the same hidden sadness veiled under a smile, “Lizzy?” Unsure if this was indeed the long remembered child from my past.
Startled, she backed off, “How do you know me? I’ve never met you before.” She had moved to the edge of the sofa and little Annie’s head popped in around the door molding.
“You okay mama?” Annie said for her mother but was looking straight at me. Probably concerned that I had caused her mother to stiffen.
“I’m fine Annie, go back into the room and continue playing; you will have to tell me the whole story later,” her voice was a little settled.
Excited by the idea of explaining the lives of the dolls to her mother, “I’ll go start over and remember everything.” She was gone as quickly as she was there.
Turning my gaze back at the mother, I could see her mind running through perhaps all her memories trying to remember me, or trying to recall me. My greatest hope is that she will remember me and offer another hug; the glorious hug that I have always remembered. Her eyes stopped rummaging and stared at me intently, ‘here it comes’ I thought to myself.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t remember you.”
My heart shattered.
“Did we meet recently? Did you just read about me back a while ago in the scandal? Did you…”
“What scandal?” Trying to rack my brain, but remembering I was living in the middle of nowhere.
She looked at me, “You’re not a reporter right? Here to get an inside scooped some forty odd years later. You don’t look like the typical reporter, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Confused by her remark, but answered accordingly, “No, I’m not a reporter; I’ve been living in the country these forty some odd years and I haven’t had access to the modern gossip.”
“Well thank goodness someone who doesn’t know the lies to begin with. Now I wish you were a reporter so I could give you the very elaborate string of events and situations that happened.”
Again checking her surroundings making sure Annie was nowhere in sight. “I was adopted by a very nice and charming family right around the age of twelve. They are the ones that gave me this,” paused a moment, “laurel. Their youngest son was such a sweet heart, he was just under my age, but he seemed to act younger. He was my very best friend. I was with the family for a marvelous three years before it happened.” Tears were coming.
“Since you know nothing you should know, that everyone in the world believe I wish it to happen that I was just trying to have a better life. But if they actually had listen to me they would have known my life was perfect and I didn’t want it to change,” she said as she brushed the tears away.
“We had a family gathering, my family thought it was about time the rest of the family met me. They thought I should meet and intertwine with my many aunts and uncles. I was so excited I didn’t even think to keep my guard up.”
Listening to her talk I am at war with my feelings. I know the story must end badly, but I am so happy for her to have experienced the family lifestyle.
“I was such a naïve child. I had four years of love and kindness that I didn’t even suspect for their extension of the family to be any different. I just went wandering through the crowds of people. I was almost seventeen so I was old enough to introduce myself. But my little brother followed me everywhere. He had some disability that made him believe he was still young; he functioned perfectly but his mind was still innocent. So as I wandered he followed,” she paused only to brush another tear away.
“Any other day, I would have been glad he was always with me, but since that day I have wished every day that he hadn’t been there; because, after that day he became aware. They had one uncle that was not invited but had shown up anyways. I never thought that anything would happen. He kicked out my little brother and took me away.”
I could see the pain and shame; she didn’t have to explain it any farther. I rested my hand on hers and made her look into my eyes. I didn’t want her to relive it again.
She began to sob, trying to collect herself and continue, but she excused herself for a moment and went to the bathroom.
Annie popped her head in and got terrified that he mama wasn’t there. She walked straight up to me with her pointing finger right at my nose, “What happened to my mama!?!”
She had the cutest concerned face ever, if I hadn’t known I would have thought this was Lizzy’s little girl. “She is just using the restroom. How’s the story for the dolls going? Anything exciting happening?” Annie started telling me some of the story and wow she had so many details already thought out and planned. It was amazing. I could sense that someone was watching so I said, “Annie don’t look now, but your mam is spying; she is trying to hear the story now! You better run away and continue working on it so you don’t spoil the ending.”
Annie looked over at her mama in the doorway, scampered off the coach, and ran into the other room. She popped her head in one last time, “no peeking until I say its time,” and she was gone again.
Lizzy was a bit more controlled. She had cleaned her face and her eyes weren’t was teary.
“Sorry about that…I just…”
Thinking the tears might come back, “Your daughter is so adorable. You have quite the story waiting for you when she gets done.”
“Yeah, she makes every day interesting.” She was better now. “My little brother saved my life probably. The moment he got shoved out of the room he wailed and screamed. My family came to his rescue but didn’t know they would be rescuing me too. After the whole ordeal, I had to go to court and have it all reconciled. The uncle kept trying to blame me, and continued to feed the reporters fake news. My family though, stood up for me and defended me; they knew what he was and what his consequences should have been. He ended up going to jail.”
That brought a smile to her face, and I was happy for that too. Even though I thought, if his face had collided with shovel I would have been even happier.
“He also had to pay me 1.2 million dollars.”
My face probably said everything she expected; it felt like my mouth fell off my face.
“Yeah, even though my family wanted it to be closer to two-billion dollars. After the trial, I thought everything would go back to normal, but the courts deemed me unhealthy to be with my family. Because I now had a taste for money that I would continue to repeat what happened to me. My family of course was against the thought and prepared to go to battle with the courts, but they would lose everything. So instead of them losing everything I decided I should. I told them a lie; I told them to leave me and never come back. As heartbroken as I was, they were even more so.
I went back to the orphanage and bought it. I wanted to run it; I wanted to be in charge; I wanted the children to actually have a chance. It slowly dwindle down to no more children. I had made sure they all got into respectable loving homes.”
‘Great now I seem like more of a failure,’ I said to myself. She didn’t just lose her home, she made sure everyone got one except her. Now my failures and fears sound even worse. Because she didn’t get what she wanted, but she continued to fight to give others their dreams.
“I never married. I don’t know if it was because of what happened, but it was probably due to the repercussion of the reporters. They twisted and manipulated my story to make me out to an awful person. Making any respectable man out there stay away, and causing only the bad ones or greedy ones to come; so I gave up on trying. When I found Annie under the bench, she was perfect for my empty heart. She didn’t have a name when I adopted her, so I named her after one woman that seemed to love me…Miss Ann.”
I must have gasped, but I covered it up by just being an old lady having a hard time breathing. Annie is name after me? That is the sweetest thing I have ever been told, and that she saw me as someone who loved her. Still, I didn’t really want her to find out that Miss Ann had been sitting across from her; not only because she knew my failures, but mostly because she would know that I left her.
“She was the one person in my life I loved talking to about my adventures, my sorrows, or my questions. After I left to live with my family, I never saw her again. I understood I had a family to talk to but she was the person I wanted to see as well. After the scandal and being alone, it would have been wonderful to of had her with me. However, no one could tell me anything; even when I bought the place the woman who was in charge before said she didn’t have a way to contact her, and that she hadn’t been back. I kept searching for a while, but she just dropped off the face of the planet. I thought I had meant something to her, but I guess I was just another child she had to counsel.” She looked off in the direction of Annie.
‘I didn’t want to. I didn’t!’ I was yelling in my brain. It wouldn’t come out into words, subconsciously I didn’t want her to hate me. Not now. Not when my life would soon end. But I didn’t want her to go another day wondering about me. So… “It’s me Lizzy, its Miss Ann.”
…To be continued…
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…
…Thirty years later…
Every day I think back to the young girl who could have changed my life. I see her poised little body sitting in the chair with the beautiful laurel in her hair; I see her eyes shiny with excitement for her new journey, that didn’t include me and that’s where the wonderful memory ends. I haven’t truly moved on since that day. I’m seventy-three now and I have never moved on or amounted to anything.
After that day, I moved to Idaho; to a small town out in the middle of nowhere. Where great big trees were my fortress and I had to live only with the necessities. But now as I grow older, my distance neighbors and the county are kicking me out back to civilization, because they fear I’ll just drop dead and no one will notice. So I must go back to where I escaped from, and swore never to return.
Bring back it’s the same here; It’s crowded and loud. There isn’t enough space to call your own; everyone is stepping on everyone’s toes. In a parallel world, I would have lived my life out healthy and alive on my property in Idaho and I would have died there without the feeling of pain. Instead I have to endure not only death, but I have to withstand all the emotions in a crowd of thousands, while slowly being battered as I walk down the sidewalk to my new, last home.
My new last home…it’s a care giving home, so technically is an old person waiting to die home. It would have been refreshing to have the woman take me to my apartment say here is your bed you shall live out your days, until God comes and takes you back. But no they have to be non-genuine, with fake smiles, and tell you everything will be fine. They are not going to like me very much; but alas this is my new home and hopefully it will all be over soon.
…Ten More Years Passed…
‘Poop,’ that what I said to my myself about my never dying body, ‘Poop.’ “Well since I’m not getting any younger I’ll go out today,” I stood up from the game of hearts and started to the door.
“I’m sorry mam but you can’t go anywhere; you are getting too old to be in the world alone,” the daft nurse with the clouded eyes said. “I must insist you sit back down.”
“And if I won’t. What would I have to do to leave this place?”Standing firm and stubborn in my ways.
“You would have to leave our care and you wouldn’t be allowed to come back without paying the entrance fee again.”
Smart on their part, because it cost an arm and a leg to get in here and I wouldn’t be able to afford it again. Well…”Okay goodbye. Help me collect my things.” Probably dumb on my part, but I’m at the end of my ropes anyways so it doesn’t really matter.
It’s amazing how in ten years things can change. Trying to hail a cab to take me away from here, it seemed like the population tripled and all of them are storming the walkway. I’m no longer being slowly battered it’s more like quickly assaulting. Finally in the cab I’m away from it all.
“Where to Mam?” the heavily accented cabby said.
“Just drive that way, take me to a quiet neighborhood.” Feeling a bit exhausted from my two minute encounter with civilization. “Wake me when you think the place is quite enough for me.”
“Yes Mam,” and he was off.
And I slept.
“Mam, we here,” the cabby said as he pulled the back passengerdoor open.
He shook me slightly, probably concerned I died in his back seat. I fluttered my eyes open and I heard a sigh of relief escape his mouth. “Where are we? And what time is it?”
“It’s seven-thirty at night, and we are in a quiet little neighborhood just like you asked.” He seemed in a hurry to get me out of the car. He was setting my luggage on the curb and carefully pulling me from the seat. “That will be eighty-three dollars and twenty-three cents.”
“Wow…I didn’t know it would be that much.” I handed him a hundred and expected the change back but he left. “Poop, my day keeps getting better and better.” The neighborhood around me looked familiar, but up-scaled. There were apartment’s five stories tall; mansions every other house with crazy architectural advancements, like: one had almost a fifteen foot entrance door, a different one had flying buttresses or gargoyles, and others had lion statues along their drive ways. In front yards of condos, people put up privacy fences eight feet tall. Then, it seemed like clockwork, as all the yards awoke with sprinklers. However lastly, I saw the endearing old house at the end of the street on the corner resurfacing my memories; everything about the house is the same, maybe except the new sprucing of paint and windows.
“You just couldn’t let me die without coming back, could You?” God has such a way of doing things. I had been having an inkling I had to come back, but I was hoping I was wrong, but nope. “Now what? You have laid out this plan, so now what?” I must look like a crazy old lady yelling at the clouds. Suddenly it started pouring; God has a good sense of humor. “Right, now they have to let a poor old woman in if she is out in the cold rain, nice one.”
I enter the gate and it hit me; this house, my memories, my pain…do I want to hit that dead on. “Don’t be scared you old bat, no one will remember you or recognize you; you’re old,” as I barely climbed the porch stares, “Stupid old knees.” The door was before me. The door that I never wanted to pass through again. The one that I walked through and swore on my life that I would never bring forth the pain again… I knocked.
A small girlish opened the door and scream! She slammed the door and ran away screaming.
“Well that’s not what I expected; that was a new response. Are you laughing up there?” I knew He was. Again I heard movement in the house.
This time a young woman opened the door, “Oh my goodness, please come in. I’m so sorry you were not let in sooner.” The woman ushered me in as she gathered my belongings. “Annie, get me some warm milk and a large blanket. Hurry!”
I heard a small pitter-patter across the floor and something being wrapped around me…then all went black.
…To Be Continued…
“If I could wish for anything, I think it would be a family,” the young girl said, sitting across from me; while she twisted her long locks between her fingers.
Another average foster child, another one wishing for love from another. In my line of work, I have counseled many children, all the same, wishing for a family to sweep them off their feet and make them feel like a prince or princess. Sadly for this girl, she was beyond the age of people wanting to adopt; adopting a spirted twelve year old is different than a newborn or someone under the age of five. This is the sixth visit we have had. “Lizzy, what would a family do for you?” asking an obvious question, but my job demands these stupid ones.
“I would feel that feeling that everyone speaks of…” she pondered a moment, “being protected, being loved unconditionally, feeling that amazing feeling you get when someone gives you a sincere hug. I want to experience the feeling of being seen as more than just a charitable cause.”
These kids…they would melt your heart if you could see the small tears forming at the eyes. “Anything new happening for you?” I wish I could pick my own questions.
“Nothing so far… there is a family that walks by our gate every morning. The mom is so beautiful, the kids are smiling and laughing, they are the typical perfect family. I’m older than the children by maybe two years; they always stare at me wondering why I stay day after day in the yard of this house…”
Her eyes just drifted into nothingness, seeing so much hope and sadness in a young person is heartbreaking…
“BEEP, BEEP, BEEP…” my blaring alarm stopping my train of thought.
“Well that’s it for the day, did us talking help you at all?” Another stupid question because it only does so much.
“Yes it did Miss Ann. You always help me relax and settle before our next session. You keep me calm through the week.” She said with a smile, but a broken smile.
I’m not allowed to, it’s against the rules as a counselor but, “Lizzy, would it give you more strength if… would you like a hug?”
“No thank you, Miss Ann, I want my first real hug to be from someone who truly loves me.”
‘That could be me,’ I thought to myself, not daring to utter the words. “Alrighty, Lizzy,” I said as I gathered my belongings and hid my rejected feelings away. “I’ll see you next week.” I left the almost teen in the doorway as I always did, but I left with an indescribable feeling.
Again sitting across the child, with a new feelings towards her. This past week had been crazy and strenuous, but finally Tuesday had come. “How…” before I could finish I was cut off…
“Miss Ann, guess what, guess what?! That family that walks by every day, the younger boy gave me this,” she produced from her cubby a laurel, but this one had small flowers woven between the leaves.
“Its beautiful Lizzy, it is a beautiful laurel.” I said hoping to move onto more pressing matters.
“A laurel that’s what it’s called. I was wondering and now I know!” She placed it on her head and sat with poise like she was a princess. “He said he would be here tomorrow to talk to me about something, I’m so excited! I’m going to be part of a family!”
My heart shrank, and I stuffed the folder I had produced back into my briefcase. “That sounds wonderful my…Lizzy. I’m so happy you will have your wish come true,” saying this as best as I could, hiding my true feelings.
“Yes, Miss Ann, you are a genie to all kids, you use your power to grant everyone’s wishes. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!” she ran towards me and gave me a hug…a hug…
“Wait Lizzy, you are wasting your first hug…” I let go of her, even though I wanted to keep that hug forever.
“No, I decided my genie deserved the first hug.” She gave me the sweetest smile and scurried off.
Our scheduled meetings were not mandatory, if she didn’t need to talk she didn’t have to stay.
She popped her back in the room, “I will be your genie; I give you one wish. You can cash in the wish whenever and it will come true even if I am no longer here. Goodbye Miss Ann. Thank you for everything!” Her head disappeared into the house.
The woman of the house came in, “Did you tell her? She seemed quite excited…Miss?”
“I’m sorry, no, I never got the chance. She has a family stopping by tomorrow to see her so I didn’t want to ruin her wish.”
“Yes, the family did call, but I don’t think…”
I cut her off before she could say what I know she would say, “All is fine. I just wanted to change her life, and she would have changed mine as well. I will be transferring out of this house as the counselor, I’ll make sure someone good takes my place. Thank you for helping me this last week with the paper work. No matter what happens please don’t contact me about the result of tomorrow. I wish her all the best” I gave the woman the folder I would no longer need, and I walk towards the door I will never enter again.
“I heard she gave you a wish, was she…” She asked the question, she already knew the answer…
“Yeah, she was my wish and I had hoped I was hers.” I walked away from this life, and into hopefully a less heartbreaking one.
…To Be Continued…