April 24, 2008
It’s just another one of those days were you can’t hit the snooze button enough. Even the sound of Taylor Swift playing on my iHome couldn’t get me out of bed. While getting the urge to get up, I sat up and took in the fact that it was 1:33 A.M. Why in the world was my alarm set for 1:30 A.M.? There’s no way I was getting up – I had five more hours to sleep! Maybe I can skip school and sleep in, I thought.
“Good morning, Michelle,” my step-mom cheered while flipping a pancake. For some reason it must’ve been a good night for my mom because she’s never in that good of a mood. I yawned. Ugh school! I thought.

“So I was thinking we could go shopping, after school, you now – a mother-daughter thing?” Mom recommended.

“Yeah, okay,” I muttered as I was rolling my eyes.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy time with my step-mom, but it’s just so hard to talk to her as if there’s a huge wall between us that’s not coming down. We just…we don’t share too much in common.

“Cheryl, I have to go – be home at seven. I have a meeting,” hollered Dad from the car.
“Okay, babe, I love you!” Mom replied.
Pet peeve number one: the word babe between my parents; they’re too old for that talk, so I think. It just makes me feel uncomfortable. I shivered at the thought.
“Bye, Mom,” I murmured.
“Well, sweetie – aren’t you going to eat?” She emphasized, especially at the word eat.
“Not hungry,” I yelled while running away with a grumbling stomach.
The walk to school was about 20 minutes, and there were a lot of people that took the same route as me especially this one kid named Tony. He’s commonly known as the biggest flirt in the world. All I need to do is keep walking, crank up my iPod, and pretend I don’t hear him. Well, luckily for me he didn’t walk to school that day. It was strange, but whatever. Normally I like Tony, but he’s just bizarre some days.
Twenty minutes later, I opened up my locker and went to find my best friend, Amy. She wasn’t at her locker so I texted her asking, “Where r u?”
I didn’t have time to worry about Amy. I had Mrs. Agel first period. Ugh, what a weirdo.
“29…30…Come on Michelle! My dad, James, hollered with veins popping out of his neck as red as cherry lollipops, “You’re not getting first place at your tournament this Friday with that attitude.” He’s SO obsessed with this game. It’s not even that important, whatever. “MICHELLE, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!” Dad screamed.
“YES, DAD, I get the point!” I screamed back.
I used to always click with my dad; he was my best friend. That was until my mother died two years ago of cancer. I miss her a lot… It’s weird, but I feel like she’s with me somehow, somewhere, someplace.
He was disappointed; I could see the sadness arising in his baby blue eyes.
“Gah, Dad I didn’t –”
“Stop, I just tried to help, but you don’t seem to care about anything. It’s just ever since your mom died… Nothing’s the same…” He turned his head away disappointed in his daughter.
“Please – don’t bring her into this.”
I ran away whimpering, but why though? My thoughts needed to be focused on this basketball game. Personally, I hate change. It’s just these past few years. Something needs to happen; I need change. Nobody knows what I go through. How am I supposed to live my life without my mom?
There was a picture of my family lying on my dresser next to my trophies. None of that matters anymore. She’s gone – what in the world am I going to do? There’s this huge whole in my life and I’m left without her.
The picture showed me, my mother, my father, my brother, and my dog, Chase. A tear gradually slid down my cheek as I picked it up. The pressure is so intense…I don’t know if I can do this anymore.
I chucked the picture frame on the ground. There was nothing else I could do but scream. I screamed. My dad wouldn’t come anyway – what did he care? So at that moment, I picked up the broken pieces and held them in my hand, so much for happily ever after.
While squatting on ground picking up my books and homework – I felt someone hug me from behind. In a weird way I needed a hug. My day was the worst. Some sort of reassurance was lost. “Guess who?” Murmured a mysterious voice that sounded like a guy trying to be a girl.
“Who?” I giggled.
While turning around the realization hit me that it was Jake – just the kid that’s my best friend and secret crush that no one knows about.
“Me,” Jake laughed.
“Hey, how’s it going?” I tried to start small talk.
“Eh, okay, Tracy broke up with me.”
My books fell to the ground while I was standing up. Truly, I was unaware as to what my face look liked because my day had finally come! I’ve fallen harder and harder for Jake everyday…to bad he’ll never know.
“Yeah, she was all like, ‘Well, I just want to be friends’ – then she kissed me goodbye! What’s up with that, man?”
“Uh, I don’t know. She doesn’t deserve you anyway. You’re too good for her anyway.”

“Thanks, Michi,” he said as he punched me in the arm.
Jake didn’t seem too sad. In fact, he was happier than normal. I love it when he calls me Michi. I hate my first name, Michelle. That’s the reason everyone calls me Elle. Since Jake and I are neighbors, we both just walk home together.
“Let’s go,” I teased while punching him back.
It was a beautiful day outside; the sun was glaring down with a slight breeze. I didn’t want to say anything to hurt his feelings, or frustrate him, so I tried to keep our chatting small.
“So are you alright?” I asked, picking the words carefully
“You know, Michi, I thought I’d be heart broken – devastated. Now I’ve never felt better. Strange how it works.”
Tracy was the snottiest girl I knew. She was all obsessed with brand style clothing, rich houses, rich this, rich that. I can’t stand people like that.
“Yeah, but you guys were great together.”
That was a lie.
“Sure,” He laughed while rolling his eyes. “She always cared for herself, you know, Michi? Our whole relationship was based on her, her, her.”
Did I mention I love it when he vents everything to me? He’s “the” hottest guy in the school, might I add.
“So when she said, ‘I just want to be friends.’ I nodded and said, ‘Yeah, me too.’ I’m so glad we’re over. Michi, you know what?”
“What?” I wondered, clueless to what he’d say.
He’d probably crack some dumb joke, knowing him.
“You’re the only down-to-Earth person I know. You care about others and you’re truly amazing. I wish there would be more girls like you.”
Did he really just say that? “Wow, thanks Jake…. I mean I wouldn’t say that exactly.”
“Why, Elle? You’re perfect can’t you see? I wish there was someone else like you for me.”
My heavy heart sank rock bottom. How could he not see what’s in front of him?
“Never overlook what’s right in front of your eyes.” I told him while holding back the need to cry.

It was a Tuesday morning and it was pretty crappy outside. I got out of bed and realized that my dad let my brother, Carson, and I skip school. That was strange. On my dresser there was a note where the picture frame used to be. The note was from my dad. It read:

“Elle, I know you’ve had a long night, but be ready by noon, I want to take you and your brother somewhere.”

Noon, why so early? Well more time to sleep, it’s only…11:47! My alarm clock read 11:47 – but I never sleep in that late!

About 15 minutes later, I heard a car honk and I went outside ready to face my oblivious father. Joy to the world. “Good morning, family,” Dad cheered.

“Where are we going...?” I murmured intentionally.

“That’s for me to know and you to find out.”

“You know I hate surprises, Dad.”

“Yes, I know, but this will help us all.”

Carson sat as quiet as a mouse in the back seat; he’s one of those guys who only says things when she felt it was needed.

We drove for what seemed like hours until we made a stop. “Dr. Mary Jenkins, Physiological Treatment,” I read aloud.

“Yup,” He said.

“I think we made the wrong stop, Dad. There’s no fricken way I’m going to listen to some wacko try and tell me how to live my life or what my problem is, Dad!”

“Elle, calm down,”

I felt Carson put his hand on my shoulder to try to make me feel assured that we were going to be okay, but I jerked away.

“No. I will NOT calm down!”
I felt an emotional break-down coming, but I held it back.

He ignored my outburst and unlocked the door without a word. We all walked inside (me, forced against my will and Carson practically sleeping) and sat. The chairs seemed like they belonged in some sort of rich magazine with overpriced furniture. This is not the kind of place where I would want to come to and try to get “help” with a problem.

A round plump woman came out of a door with pants that were too short for her and an overly huge shirt. What a great first impression!

“Mr. Mortis? Elle? It’s so great to see you two!” This strange lady announced. “I’m so glad you made it today!”

Carson gave the lady a mean look, she forgot him.
“Hi Doc, sorry we’re late” My dad apologized sympathetically.
“It’s okay, I completely understand! Shall we get started?”
Over my dead body.
We walked into this expensive looking room with those ridiculous couches again and the smell of burnt toast. “So, Elle – how do you like school?” Doc questioned.
Ugh. “Fine,” I snapped.
As I finished with my one-word answer, she wrote something on her clipboard and looked up at me smiling. “Your Dad tells me you’re quite the basketball player.”
Once again, she jotted something down. “Your mom – she sounded like a great person.”
“She was.”
“Do you want to talk about your feelings towards your mom?”
“What’s to say? She’s gone.”
“There’s always hope.”
There’s always hope – no. I glared her in the eye and shook my head no.
“Well, did you and your mom do anything for fun?”
“No. I had basketball – she knitted.”
Was this really necessary?
“Where did she go to knit?”
“She was part of knitting group or whatever called ‘It’s Sew You.’ They met every Tuesday and Thursday to sew for the homeless.”

I don’t think this lady understands that right now I don’t want to talk about my mom. My life was fine at the moment.
I don’t want to talk about this anymore, lady!
This strange lady jotted down some notes and handed them to my quiet Dad.
“Elle, I know it’s hard to cope with the loss, but you need to realize that it’s just you, your Dad, your brother, and your step-mom. You have to let go of your mom. Realize that she’s not coming back no matter how hard you try. Death is hard – I’ve lost a lot of family.”

I shook my head and ran to the car. My dad chased me out and was yelling something, while Carson was walking. I went in the car and sat. The whole ride home was silent.

We finally made it home and I ran upstairs into my bedroom, ignoring Carson, my step-mom, and my Dad. I opened up my window and went out onto the roof. I jumped off the roof while falling and then started to run. I wanted to go somewhere, anywhere, but here.
While taking a left turn, I looked at the street sign and it read Maple Street. I knew there was a park around the corner. All I wanted to do was take a deep breath and relax.

Soon enough, I found the park and sat on a bench. I looked at the sky and all the starts and started crying. I really missed my mom.
All of a sudden, I jumped. My phone was buzzing and I realized it was my dad. My hand was shaking, but I was too reluctant to answer it.

At that moment, I really wanted my mom…but I knew she wouldn’t come. Cancer had taken her life and I would never have my mom back.

Alone I was in this world, alone was all I would ever be physically.

Although in the end I wasn’t alone. I had my mother by my side spiritually, and more importantly God. Maybe I was alone to face the world, but with God in my heart, and my mother’s strength within me, I knew I could face anything that hit me.

Once I got home, I opened up my bible and lied on my bed.

Now every night before I go to bed, I read something to reassure myself…

So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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