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Soft Love

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I stare out the window, drinking in the gorgeous landscape. Oh, how I wish to roam the lush fields in mama's silk robe, with her fluffy slippers. She does not deserve those things. I know. I worked for them. I tended those fields, plowed them, harvested them. Sold the corn and beans in the market. Bought the robe and slippers. I prepare the food every day. I work overtime watching the neighboring children. Mama once loved me, but I don't think she does anymore.
As you hear many a time, my mother wanted a boy. And she got one, but he was killed in a car accident with his friend shortly after my papa died. So mama keeps me close, but faraway. Never looks me in the eyes. Never speaks a word. She never tells me to do the cleaning or cooking or farming, but I have to, to keep us alive.
The thing that hurts the most: the silver in her laugh. It rots me to my soul. I never hear it anymore, and the silence is unbearable. One word each morning, whispered softly to my pillow escapes my lips, "Soft."
I used to touch my mother's dresses when I was little. "Soft," I would say.
She would scoop me up. "Soft," she would whisper.
Oh, those days. To know she loved me.
Today I did the unspeakable. I tugged on that robe. "Mama!" As she was going to her room. Tears streaming down my face, I clutched the robe. "Soft!' I shrieked.
She tugged the robe away, frightened.
"Look at me! It's me, Lilliana! Your daughter.... soft, mama, see!" I reached for her hand, but she pulled back, and with a faraway look in her eyes, she turned and entered her room, shutting the door behind her.
She did not lock it. I stayed there, touching the knob, imagining turning it and opening the door, finding my mama there, whispering, "soft," to me.
I didn't turn it.
Instead, I run out of the house, off of the porch, and into those luscious fields, and I run through the corn and wheat for a long time, probably for a mile, before I collapse. I cry, and say soft about one million times until I go hoarse.
In an hour, I have to go back. So I pick myself up and trudge towards the house, watching my feet. I open the door, and shuffle towards the kitchen. Soon, something... soft meets me. It's my mama's robe. She's hugging me. "Soft," she whispers, and a small, silver laugh echoes in her throat.



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