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Mother, May I?

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Day 728:
Somewhere in the sky a dam made of the clouds over the North Pole breaks, dropping sheets of buckets of freezing water on the rest of us. As Mother and I step into our cozy suburban shack loaded down with brown paper bags of groceries I feel like my whole body, not just my tongue, has been stuck to the icy pole of a streetlight. We change into our PJs and wrap ourselves in fleece blankets before putting anything away. While I sit on the couch, Mother whips up two cups of hot cocoa. She always makes it just the way I like it. First, you have to make sure the dark, extra chocolaty liquid (made with milk, which is really the only way) is steaming hot when you pour it into the mug then cover it with marshmallows so you can't even see the glassy brown surface. It's like drinking heaven floating of the earth.

Yet for all of this, being able to relax and drink the world's best drink on a cold day, loved dearly by Mother, you would think I would be the happiest child in the universe. But for some reason I'm not. As I sit in a nice, warm room, I find myself wishing I was outside so I could discreetly let the storm clouds forming in my eyes release their growing load.


Day 730:
Two years today.


Day 731:
Yesterday something strange came over me. I just wanted to be left alone. I wasn't happy, and just being able to curl up with a good book would have been the best thing possible for me.

But Mother wanted to celebrate. She says anniversaries are days that need to be honored. She got mad when I said I didn't want to. I realized how much I fear her. Is it possible to appreciate and fear one person so much?


Day 740:
The weather is nice today, so I go out to play. It's boring when no other kids live anywhere near you, but I want to enjoy the fresh air. I lay on a bed of leaves, watching the sky above me when I hear a police siren in the distance. Mother runs to the door and hollers for me to come in so she can braid my hair. She's scared of the cops. She says they can't be trusted.


Day 743:
Mother wants to go meet with an old college friend of hers, so she leaves me home alone. She makes me promise not to leave the house or answer the door. It's not like I would. When people never really talk to you, you just drift out of their orbit and only see them as big rocks that could crash into you any second. They're just danger.

I sit on my bed, wondering about the girl who sat in my position before me. She was a different person, someone I've never met, and yet her story is the same as mine. Except for the ending. I don't even know what her ending was. Judging by how angering Mother gets when I bring the old girl up, then how she tells me I don’t need to worry about her anymore, I hope my ending isn't the same has hers.


Day 751:
I spend another day outside. It is cold, and I need my coat. It’s fun, prancing around in floating snowflakes like a reindeer until I see a large white van zip down the street in front of me. I watch it until it turns the corner and disappears into a strange network of an unknown world forever. I can’t even imagine the odds of me ever seeing it again. Something within me cracks. The illusion is broken. I dash down the street. My movement causes missing cat, dog, and child posters to rustle.

In my haste to leave I forget the rules of what used to be my favorite game. But I shouldn't have to ask "Mother, may I?" this time. No one should have to ask permission from a perfect stranger to return home.



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