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Journey of Hope
As I stand by the seas shoreline looking out over the stillness of the blanket of blueness, I feel alone. I feel sadness and just the urge to feel loved again. Looking out over the still water gives me chills through my body, and I wonder if things will ever be the same as they had been just a couple days ago. But I knew deep inside my head that nothing would ever be the same and that from here on out I would experience things I hoped I would never have to experience and that maybe if I am lucky enough that some good things would happen in between all the heartbreaking times as well. I then gently fall to my knees with my hands buried in the warmth of my clammy hands as I weep to the beat of my racing heart beat. I then look up and there before me is the wondrous colors in the sky of the sunset that is settling upon the sea before me. I then say to myself out loud maybe thinking if I said it out loud it would help or something, “Mom, please come find me, please love me still, because I haven’t forgotten about you.” Then I start feeling anger rush over me and I yell saying, “Mom!, why would you just leave me! Did you not love me?! Did you not care about me! Did I do something wrong to upset you?!” I then feel ashamed in myself for yelling like that and then I started to cry the hardest I have ever cried in my entire life.
Wow. Amazement is within me as I awake upon the sandy shore line and look out over the sea at the sunset that is taking place. I am in aw as I watch the glory of the earth unfold right before my eyes. Then I realize once I am fully awake that last night I must have cried myself to sleep upon the sandy beach. Hopefully father won’t be to mad at me I think in my mind as I head home in my old beat up orange Volts Wagon car. I finally pull up in the gravel drive-way of our old beach house in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that I have lived in my entire life. I walked through the front door expecting to see my father standing there like a giant ready to give me a whipping because he was so mad that I never came home last night without even telling him where I was. I mean I am only seventeen years old. But to my surprise, he wasn’t there. So I figured then that he must be somewhere in the house so I hurried around the house looking in every room but still my father was nowhere to be seen. In the back of my head I felt kind of worried wondering where my father was. I mean this was not like my father not to be home when I hadn’t come home at all the night before.
“Ring, ring, ring!”, come on answer the phone I kept on thinking. Finally the ringing stopped and there was no answer. I wasn’t sure what to do next so I went outside and walked across the street to my neighbors house. As I arrived at the front door of the little cottage like house, even before I rang the doorbell my neighbor arrived at the door and just looked at me. “Hi Mrs. Watsworth, do you know where my father is?” Mrs. Watsworth just gave me a blank stare then instead of answering my question she asked me a question in return, “Do you not know what happened late last night sweetie?” As she said this she looked very confused. “What are you talking about Mrs. Watsworth, your starting to scare me, I just got home, I accidentally fell asleep on the beach last night, and now I can‘t seem to find my father anywhere.” “Oh sweetheart, I thought you knew. I am so sorry to have to tell you this but last night your father had a heart attack.” I couldn’t process what she had just told me, it was just to much for me to take in when it seemed everything in my life was already going downhill enough. I could feel warm tears filling up in my eyes and I didn’t even try to hold them back, instead I just let them run down my face and take over all my emotions. Mrs. Watsworth looked like she felt hopeless while I was just standing there in front of her crying, because she didn’t know what to do. “Here honey, let me take you to the hospital to go see how your father is. Okay?” I looked up into her pale green eyes and said, “Thank-you Mrs. Watsworth.”
About fifteen minutes later we pulled into a parking place at the hospital we figured my father would be at. I hurriedly jumped out of the car and ran as fast as I could into the hospital lobby leaving Mrs. Watsworth behind me in the dust. I turned to the right and saw the lobby desk and walked as fast as I could over to it. At the desk was a lady with bleach bond hair, bright pink nails, and the biggest southern accent I have ever heard in my life. “ What do you need darling?” she asked me in a caring way. “Please I need to know where my father is at!” I said on the urge of tears again. “Okay honey, what is his name?” I knew she could tell how upset I was because of the way she looked at me. “His name is Steven Torregrossa.” As I said his name she kind of hesitated to say anything else to me. “Oh, okay well sweet pea if you can please just go sit right over there and a doctor will be with you in a moment.” I knew by the tone in her voice that something was wrong, that something wasn’t right. The same way my father had told me my mother was gone and wasn’t coming back. That was the day my mom had ran away from me and my father, I was six years old when that happened. Since she ran away, well, I haven’t seen her since. I remember coming home from school everyday thinking that it was all a joke and that maybe she would be waiting for me with open arms to welcome me home after my long day at school like she had before. But the days kept on passing by, and my mother never showed up. At night I can remember being able to hear my father weep, he cried once my mom had left for a while. Ever since my mom left us my dad has raised me all by himself and he has made me the person I am today. The feeling I felt sitting in the waiting room next to Mrs. Watsworth was the same way I felt when I got home from school each day hoping to see my mom home again.
“Hi, are you Abigail, Mr. Torregrossa’s daughter?” When the doctor had come into the waiting room and said this I hadn’t realized he had even said anything until after a second when Mrs. Watsworth tapped me which brought me out of my train of thought. Mrs. Watsworth went ahead and answered the doctor’s question for me telling him that yes, I was the daughter of Mr. Torregrossa. Then I looked up at the doctor who looked at me in return and in a quiet somewhat gentle voice told me he needed to talk to me alone. So I followed the doctor into his office. As I walked through the door of his office and he told me to have a seat I knew something was terribly wrong. So I sat down and kept thinking through my head come on Abigail wake up none of this is real! But then before I knew it the worst words anyone could ever tell you came out of his mouth, “Abigail I am so sorry to tell you but your father didn’t make it, we weren’t able to save him soon enough.” “What! No! He can’t be dead I just saw him yesterday and he was fine!” I couldn’t even here myself speak because I was bawling to loud that it drowned my words out. “Why didn’t you save him! Why couldn’t you! It is my fault he is dead! If I hadn’t fallen asleep on the beach last night I would have been home in order to call for help right when he had the heart attack!” I tried to get up and go see Mrs. Watsworth so I would have someone there to comfort me but right when I opened the door of the doctor’s office I fell to my knees and just knelt there on my knees crying for what seemed to be the longest time. Then Mrs. Watsworth came towards me and got down on her knees next to me telling me over and over again that everything would be okay. After I settled down a little bit she helped me up and we walked silently to her car. Once we both sat down in the seats of the old rusty car I asked Mrs. Watsworth what I was supposed to do now since I wasn’t old enough to live at home by myself. In reply she told me I could live with her. When she said this I started to cry a gentle cry as everything finally officially sunk in that my dad had just died and I didn’t even get to say goodbye or tell him how much I truly loved him. Then I thought of how my mom was gone too and how I would never get to probably see her again in my life. Then Mrs. Watsworth interrupted my thinking and crying and said, “Abigail, sweetheart there is one other option you have instead of living with me until you are old enough to live by yourself.” I wiped the tears from my eyes and looked up at her with a curious look on my face, “Mrs. Watsworth what are you talking about, you are the closest thing I have to family.” “No sweetheart, I’m not, your father wasn’t sure if he should tell you or not but he told me that if anything ever happened to him that I should tell you for him.” “Mrs. Watsworth what are you trying to tell me?” I said this in between sobs.
“Well Abigail, it’s about your mother, I know where she is living.” “What! You do!” As I said this anger and glee both at the same time were roaring inside of me, the anger knowing that Mrs. Watsworth is just now telling me that she knows where my mother is when she has known for a while, and the glee knowing that maybe I will finally be reunited with my mother. “She lives all the way in Venice, Italy. I am not sure exactly where in Venice but she does live somewhere there.” Mrs. Watsworth said this very calmly. “She lives in Italy?” I said this very surprised. “Yes, I guess she has some family over there that you never knew, I mean since you are almost full Italian.” “Wow. Mrs. Watsworth can you please help me get the soonest flight to Venice, Italy?” I knew I must of sounded crazy since I had just found out my father died from a heart attack not even two hours ago and then I am trying to head out to Venice as soon as possible! “Abigail are you sure this is what you want to do? I mean you might find some unexpected things there, like she might have, well, you know a family.” “What are you saying! I mean I am her family!…I am her daughter!”
“Okay the next flight to Venice, Italy leaves tomorrow at six in the morning.” said Mrs. Watsworth as she squinted at the bright computer screen. “Well then, I guess that is when I will be leaving! I better hurry up and get packed so I can get a good nights rest!” Inside I felt so many different emotions, I was nervous to think about seeing my mother, scared about going somewhere where most people don’t know how to speak English, the sadness of the loss of my dear father, and all together hopelessness. After about three hours I was finally packed and Mrs. Watsworth had purchased my one way ticket, because we decided that we would purchase my ticket back when I was for sure I knew how long I wanted to stay there for. Since it was summer and I had just graduated from high school, well I didn’t really have a limit of time until I had to come home.
Me and Mrs. Watsworth decided that I would go ahead and spend the night at her house then in the morning we would both get up at four so that then we would arrive at the airport at five and say our goodbyes.
“Abigail, sweetie, time to wake up.”, said Mrs. Watsworth as she patted my back gently. “Oh yeah, okay thank you for waking me up.” The time is here I thought, the time I have been waiting for my whole life, the time I get to see my mother again. I have waited for this to happen for eleven years now, and now it is happening, but it all seemed so unreal to me. But if I really wanted this dream to come true I guess I can’t miss my flight. So I hurriedly got washed up, threw on a sun dress my dad had bought me just three weeks ago for my graduation, and then ran a brush through my long wavy hair. Then I looked in the mirror to make sure I at least looked presentable to even go out in public. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I saw my milk chocolate brown eyes staring back at me, my wavy dark chocolate hair that went about three inches below my shoulders, I stood at only five feet three inches, I weighed a normal weight for someone my height even though I thought I could lose a few pounds, and then I looked at my feet and saw my light blue converse.
Next thing I knew I was standing at the security gates in the airport saying goodbye to Mrs. Watsworth. “Goodbye sweetheart, be safe and if you need anyone to talk to at any time of day or night just call me.” “Thank-you for everything, you are seriously an amazing person, good-bye Mrs. Watsworth.” I started to walk away to get my bags checked by security when I stopped and ran back to give Mrs. Watsworth a hug and whispered in her ear telling her I loved her. I then knew I was ready to go and start my journey of hope.
“Prepare for landing in about twenty minutes and please be seated and buckle your seat belts. Thank you.” The pilots voice blasted on the intercom as I had just woke up from the deep sleep I had been in. The man that was sitting next to me was snoring like a dying cow, or what I imagined one to sound like anyways. Since in Italy it is three hours later than the time I am used to, I would be arriving there about five in the afternoon, and I knew it was going to be hard for me to get used to the time difference.
Thank gosh I thought as the plane finally landed. I was starving for some kind of food and I didn’t care what I ate as long as I ate something. So I went to go receive my luggage and after waiting for about thirty minutes I had all of my bags and walked out of the airport. Right when I walked out into the fresh air I was amazed by the beauty of Venice that surrounded me. Then I decided instead of renting a car I would just walk. So I hauled my luggage around Venice until I saw a beautiful hotel right before me called the Casa Nicolo’ Priuli. In order to get there though I had to wait for a little paddle boat to come pick me and my luggage up since the hotel and basically ever other building in Venice is surrounded by beautiful canals. After the wait of about three minutes a little boat pulled up right in front of me with a young man paddling it. The young man looked about my age if not a year older than me and just to mention, well he was very handsome. He had shorter brown curly hair, gorgeous blue eyes, looked to be about six feet three inches, and had the most beautiful Italian accent. “Hi maim, here I’ll put your luggage in the boat for you.” he said this in a very polite way. “Oh well thank you, here let me help.” I was so nervous that I hurriedly shoved my hand towards my suitcase and the young man was reaching for it at the same time I noticed this just as I had started to try to pick it up when all of a sudden I lost my balance and fell right into the cold water of the canal. “Maim! Here take my hand.” I thrust my hand up towards the young man and then before I knew it he had me pulled out of the water into the boat. “Sir I am so sorry for the trouble I have caused you.” I said this in a very shy and embarrassed way. “Maim don’t worry about it, I mean you aren’t the dumbest tourist I know yet.” he said this with a smirk and winked at me. Then we both laughed about the incident that had just happened and he then asked me where I needed to go. So I told him just to the hotel across the way. I then said, “Wait you speak English!” Then in reply he said, “Yes, yes I do, you know actually a lot of the people around here know how to speak English. Well, I guess this is your stop.” he said this as he pulled the boat up to the hotel. “Yes, I guess so. Thank you so much for your help.” I said this as I smiled at the nice man. “You are welcome maim. Well maybe I’ll see you around, my name is Antonio by the way.” I was so excited inside that I had just made my first friend here in Venice! “Ok yeah I’ll see you around Antonio, and the name is Abigail. Bye!” I then turned quickly around and walked into the front door of the elegant looking hotel. As I walked in I was greeted by a nice lady at the check-in counter. “Hi maim, would you like to stay in a room?” said the fare skinned women who had an Italian accent just like Antonio had. “Yes please I would love to stay in a room here.” I said this with a big grin. “Okay then here is your room key and if you can just fill out this paper and you will be all set! Oh and maim for money we can exchange your American money into Euros, it will be more helpful for you to have Euros to pay for things around here.” “Oh okay thank you very much for your help.” I filled out the paper, took my room key, and walked as fast as I could to the room she told me I would be staying in, room 14.
Oh my gosh. That was exactly what I thought through my mind as I opened the door of my hotel room. It was gorgeous, the most beautiful room I have ever stepped foot in. I dropped all my luggage on the wooden floor and jumped onto the prettiest bed I had ever seen. I felt so relaxed and then after about ten minutes of just enjoying the comfort and beauty of my room I got up and started to unpack everything I brought, then the last thing I pulled out of my suitcase was the one and only picture I had of my mom, which I brought along with me so I could have something that would be my guide to finding her. I just looked at the picture and when I looked at it I felt like I was looking at myself, my mom and I look a lot alike except for she has stunning blue eyes that make you hypnotized when you look at them.
By the time I was fully unpacked it was already eight at night, so I decided to go and get some dinner from somewhere. After walking around Venice for a little bit I turned the corner to find a little restaurant and decided to go and eat there. On my way in the door of the restaurant out of the corner of my eye I saw Antonio. I decided I would go and say hi to him. “Hi Antonio!” I said it in a quiet way because I didn’t want to startle him. “Abigail! Hi, are you getting something to eat here?” “Yeah I am so hungry I need to eat something.” I said. “Well since your new here why don’t I join you so I can tell you what is good and what’s not.” He gave me a small smile as he said this. “Okay that sounds great!” I said very excited.
“Yum! This is so good! Why don’t we have this in America, man they don’t know what their missing out on.” Antonio started to laugh as I said this. “Well its true!” I said trying to defend myself. “Hey Antonio, I have a question, do you know this lady?” I said this as I pulled my mothers picture out from inside of my pants pocket. “Her name is Adelina Maria Torregrossa.” I added this for extra information. “I don’t know, maybe I have seen her around I’m not sure though.” Antonio said looking confused. “Abigail, why are you asking? Do you know this lady?” In response I said, “Yes, Antonio, she is my mother. When I was six years old she left me and my father and just yesterday I found out that she lived somewhere here in Venice, Italy.” I said this kind of in a sad way because memories of my mother started to float inside my head and then I started to miss my father. “Oh Abigail, I am sorry, well why isn’t your father here with you to find her?” Antonio asked gently. I then accidentally started to weep, I missed my father and mother so much. “Abigail are you okay?” I looked up into Antonio’s icy blue eyes, as I looked into them, they reminded me of my mothers, and I responded to him, “Yes, I am fine, I am just sad, yesterday my father past away. He had a heart attack and the doctor’s couldn’t save him soon enough. That is why I am here, because back home, well I have no family and I either have to live with my neighbor or well I don’t know what else I could do besides go into foster care, so I thought maybe if I came here I would find my mom and then I could live with her.” Antonio looked at me shocked, “Wow. You have gone through a lot lately, I am so sorry.” I could tell my the genuine look in his eyes that he really meant what he said. “Antonio, thank you, but do you think you can help me find my mom?” He looked at me and smiled and said, “Yes, I promise we will find her…I promise.”
I woke up this morning feeling like maybe today would be the day that I would finally regain some of the hope that I had lost over the last few days. I hurried and put on some jean capris, a short sleeve shirt, a pair of purple converse, and then to top my outfit off I put my long wavy hair up in a pony tail with a purple ribbon. I then walked out into the blazing sunshine and just stood their letting the warmth of the sun sink into me. I then walked around Venice for awhile until I came upon a young girl about my age if not a couple years younger who was yelling for someone named Isabella. I walked over to her as I noticed she was in a frantic state. “Excuse me, are you alright?” I asked her hoping she spoke English. The girl looked at me with her big brown eyes, they looked so full of wonder and innocence. “Oh hi, um no I am okay I am just looking for my little sister who walked off from me.” “Oh well would you like help looking for her?” I asked hoping she would say yes so that I could meet some more people in Venice which would get me one step closer to finding my mom hopefully. “Yes, please if you would like to. She is only about four feet tall, she is seven years old, and has blond curly hair about two inches above her shoulders.” “Okay well then let’s go search for her then!” I said this very encouragingly as I noticed the girl was kind of nervous about not knowing where her sister was at. We walked together through the town until we came upon a little girl that fit the description of how the girl had explained her little sister, Isabella was sitting on the curb of the street eating a cannoli she had bought with the money she raised by working at their families bakery she told us. “Ugh! Isabella why can’t you wait for me! Do you know how worried I was?!” The older girl said this in a thankful yet angry way. Then the girl seemed to have just remembered I was there as well and looked up at me and said, “Oh yes, thank you so much for helping me find my sister. What is your name?” asked the girl curiously. “Your welcome, I am glad we found her, and my name is Abigail. What is your name?” I said this the nicest I could because I wanted them both to like me. “Well then, hi Abigail! And my name is Carmela.” she said all this very happily and bubbly. The two nice girls invited me over to their bakery, so I said yes and then before I knew it we were on our way there. On our way to the bakery we talked and talked like we were old friends. I found out that Carmela was sixteen years old, only one year younger than me. I thought it was funny how Isabella had short blonde hair that was curly and Carmela had very straight long dark chocolate almost black hair. Carmela was taller than me considering I am only five feet three inches, and she was what seemed to be about five feet seven inches.
“Mama! We are back and I have someone to introduce you to!” she sounded very excited to introduce me to her mom. “Oh bambalinas!” She walked into the room with a huge grin on her face and ran to her two girls sides and gave them both hugs and kisses. Carmela turned to me and told me that bambalinas means little girls. Then her mom looked at me and as she looked at me I studied her, she had thick brown hair pulled up in a messy bun, she was about my height if not a little shorter, she was the cutest little stout women I had ever seen, and not to mention all over her face, hands, and apron was flour splotches from baking. Her eyes looked so lovingly and welcoming towards me, “Well girls may I ask who this lovely young lady is?” I went ahead and answered for them. “Hi maim, my name is Abigail.” “Well isn’t that a beautiful name, I am glad to have met you Abigail.” Inside I was so glad I got to meet her as well.
The rest of the day all four of us girls worked in the bakery, we laughed, joked, and I felt like they were my family, like this was exactly where I was meant to be. Isabella’s and Carmela’s mom told me to call her Mom if I wanted to. So after a few hours Mom told us to go get washed up, so Isabella and Carmela went ahead and took their aprons off and headed into the restroom to wash their hands and faces. Instead of following them I stayed behind for a second because I wanted to ask Mom a question. Mom saw that I had stayed behind and walked over to me asking if everything was alright. I told her yes, but then I reached down into my pants pocket and pulled out the picture of my mother and showed it to her. She took the picture from my hand and told me that she was very beautiful and that I looked just like her. Then I told her the whole story of how my mom left me when I was only six years old and how my dad was raising me for eleven years until just a couple days ago when he passed away. After she found out about why I had showed her the picture and why I was even in Venice, Italy in the first place she told me she used to know my mother. She told me about how they used to be good friends until my mom decided she needed to move somewhere else. Mom told me how my real mom never even told her where she was going then one day my mom just never came back to the bakery just like she never came back to me and my father. As Mom told me this I knew my chances of finding my real mom were very little. “So she just left and you never saw her again, you don’t even know where she went?” I asked Mom. “Yes, she just left and no one knows where she went off to.” She said this in a sad way and then hugged me reassuringly.
I started to cry knowing I would probably never see my real mom again and that all I would have left of her are the vague memories of when I was a little girl. I told Mom how I thought it was my fault about my dad dying and my fault for my mom leaving me because I did something wrong to upset her. In return she told me that none of it was my fault and that I had done nothing wrong in order for my mom to leave me. “Bambalina, everything will be okay, I promise.” The moment I had just sitting there and talking to Mom I felt more loved than ever. For once in a long time I felt like I finally had a mom again, even if maybe she wasn’t my real mom.
The sun is shining on my face, I wake up feeling hope bursting inside of me. For I have a family again, Mom has opened her house and her family to me. I have two wonderful sisters now, Isabella and Carmela. The love of us all is very mutual; Isabella, Carmela, and I decided that we would all act like I have always been a member of their family. Carmela and I always laugh together, cry together, and experience the many wonders that surround us together, we have become best friends. I feel like all I can do is smile, like maybe not everything has to be unhappy in my life. I feel that maybe even if I don’t find my mom, that it won’t matter because I feel like I have found my family. I have found a family of my own here, a family that came to me by destiny not by birth. You never know, everyone is blessed with different things and maybe just maybe everything in my life that has happened to me so far that has made my life just more miserable will just start making my life, well, a dream come true, kind of like a fairytale.
I have now lived with my new family; Mom, Isabella, and Carmela for a year and we have just grown closer together…never farther apart. These many people that I have met in Venice, Italy are people I have been blessed with, they have healed the wounds I used to carry around with me in my heart, but now all I have is love to carry around in my heart. Antonio and I have grown to become very good friends, we are even dating. Him and I work at the family bakery every day helping Mom. I love them all; Antonio, Mom, Carmela, and Isabella all make up the melody to my heart beat. They are the reason I have strength, courage, love, and most importantly hope.