Never Forgotten, Always Loved

January 11, 2008
By Erin Rankin, Apache Junction, AZ

I breathed in the smell of the salty air deep into my lungs. I stared at my beautiful mother, waiting for me on the beach. She had hair the color of rich maple tree bark and eyes that reflected whatever she felt, they were hazel.

"Come on, Erin! You can do it! Just swim to me! I'm right here!" She held her arms out to me and laughed. I tried to swim to her, but the waves kept pushing me farther and farther back....How I wished she was really there....

I blinked and she was gone. I was back in my cold house, the curtains all closed, the door locked, and the rain beating angrily at my window. I wrapped my mother's blanket tighter around me and signed. It was on days like this when my mother and I would curl up in our pajamas and sit right next to the window, watching the world melt, while we stayed nice and dry in our house.

How I missed her! How I wished she would come back from...wherever she was!
My mother had been gone for almost a month and I had begun to have imagine her with me when I missed her. I'd make myself breakfast and pretend that she had made it, I'd cry and pretend her arms were wrapped around me when I was lonely or sad....
I sat up and went into the kitchen to make myself a cup of hot chocolate, when I heard a rap at the door.

I set my glass in the microwave and pressed Start. The knocking grew louder, as if who ever was knocking on my door couldn't wait to get inside. I wiped my hands on my pants and opened the door a crack

At first I thought that I was imagining things again, for the hundredth time that day. But I kept blinking and the woman stayed right where she was.

"Mom?" I breathed and opened the door all the way. I flew at her, and hugged her hard, and she didn't disappear. I breathed in the smell of her again and smiled.
"I love you," my mother whispered into my ear as she held me. "You don’t have to imagine me anymore, I'm right here, and I'll always be here. I promise"
And then me and my mother walked inside to sit by the windows, to watch the world melt, and to pretend that we were the only ones inside it.

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