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I remember when Dad promised she’d come back.
I remember praying to God every night, begging Him to bring her back.
I remember staring out the window. Waiting.
I remember my ignorance.
I remember the tears. Sorrow. Pain.
I remember Mom.
But I don’t think she remembers me.
The day Mom just up and left was the most heart wrenching day I have ever experienced. I was only eleven. I was young, but I wasn’t stupid. Mom left on the coldest day of the year. A blizzard was supposed to hit our little town in two days. But the weather forecasters were wrong. Instead it hit on December 3rd, the day I sat staring out my window. The day Mom left.
Snowflakes swirled around my window making the outside world look like a giant snow globe. I could tell the snow was going to be perfect for making snowmen with Mom. The snow was perfect. But not Mom. As I stared out my now fogged window I watched as a silhouette briskly walked through the now foot of snow towards a car. I took my sleeve and wiped away the fog. It was Mom. I stood frozen as she hurriedly opened the door of the car. It wasn’t our car.
I took a step back as I hoped and prayed this was a dream…a very real dream. But deep down inside I knew it wasn’t. Goosebumps rippled up my arms as I continued to stare. Mom had never ever left our house without even saying goodbye. Except when she was going shopping. But she wasn’t. She had had a duffle bag slung over her shoulder.
“Daddy! Daddy!” I screamed as I headed down the stairs.
“What, Honey? What’s wrong?” absolutely nothing echoed in his hollow voice.
“Mom’s gone.” It came out as barely a whisper because I knew he didn’t really care. No one ever would.
And then the promises that she would return. It went on for weeks. Dad always insisted she would come home. But she didn’t. Over time my eleven, then twelve year old mind finally wrapped around the concept that I was an orphan. Dad didn’t care much, so to me, I was an orphan.
I never went to the mall. Instead I would stare out my window.
And yet, nothing happened.
Over time Mom started to fade. Dad got remarried and divorced over and over. And the more people in my life started to fade the more emotionally I withdrew. Eventually I had nothing to say. I would only stare out my window.
Eventually I moved out of the house I had once called home. Not any more. Orphans don’t have homes. Mom faded even more. The pain and sorrow I had buried deep within the depths of my heart often surfaced during the night. Horrible dreams haunted me. I would wake up in a cold sweat, and then cry for hours. Headaches had become normal to me.
Never had I actually thought this is what my life would look like. I didn’t have friends because I couldn’t even really say anything exciting about myself. I didn’t have a boyfriend because I just couldn’t handle it emotionally. I just stayed to myself going crazy at times because I couldn’t handle my pain. Sleep evaded me. My life was a mess, but I didn’t care. It was Mom’s fault because she had deserted me as a kid.
Before I even knew what was happening resentment and anger cultivated in my heart towards my mother. If you could even call her that. Every time I felt I was at the very bottom, I would blame Mom and feel much better. She had left me. That was why my state of life was such a mess.
And then the phone call came.
It was Dad.
Mom had finally come home.
When I stepped into my house, the warmth of the place overwhelmed me. No tears of joy streaked down my cheeks, though, because I was not joyful.
I stepped into the living room. Memories flooded my mind. The Christmas tree was tucked in the corner right by the fireplace. Mom had been so worried that the tree would catch on fire, but it never did. Presents had been hidden beneath the tree. Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and I were all seated in the room. Oh, the happiness that lingered in that room was undeniable. Where had it all gone? Mom had stolen and robbed it from us.
Next I moved into the kitchen. Oh, the kitchen. Mom and I had cooked so many family meals there. Family? Where had that gone? I hadn’t spoken to Dad in ten years and Grandma and Grandpa had faded years ago. There was no family left. And now Mom wanted to just pop back in. Start up the loving family stuff again. Forget it!
I abruptly turned around and stormed towards the door. Mom had betrayed me! Why did I want to see that evil woman again? Was there a little bit of love left? Absolutely not! Just as I was about to open the door, a voice behind me nearly startled me out of my boots. “Honey, you came!” It was Dad, and he sounded much too cheerful for my depressed tastes.
I did not reply so he continued. “Please, just give your mother a chance.” I nearly spat at that as I turned around to stare at him. His faced turned to utter shock as he stared at me. I would have too, considering the state I must have looked like. Circles hung around my eyes. I had lost nearly thirty pounds of weight and was now bone thin. I was tired. Exhausted. Depressed. And I’m sure that’s what my whole body must have been screaming to Dad. “Oh, you look horrible!” he whispered. I started to turn to leave.
But then she stepped into the room.
Her auburn hair flailed around her as she lunged towards me to give me a hug. Her chocolate eyes were red from tears. Her hug was like a flash from the past. Her perfume was exactly the same. Jasmine and vanilla. Oh, the sweetest smell. And then I remembered what she had done.
She was waiting for me to respond to her hug, but I didn’t. Instead I pushed away from her. I yelled as I took a step back, “Look what you did to me, Mom! You ruined me running away! I…I…I hate you!” The words tumbled out so quickly I had to clamp my hand over my mouth. We had never been able to use that language. But I had.
I shook my head in denial as I backed towards the door. Even though I had cried so many times, I cried again. But I didn’t stop moving backwards. I needed room to breath. I felt like I was suffocating. My hand touched the cold doorknob. I stared at the scene before me. Mom was in utter shock and Dad had a blank stare on his face. The parents that had raised me. They had both deserted me. My hand turned the doorknob. I stepped out into a snowy world. It was December 3rd. The exact day Mom had left me ten years ago. Briskly I walked down our sidewalk. I was doing the same thing Mom had done ten years ago. Running away. Running away from what was the question.
Mom had finally returned home.
Me? I never stepped foot into that house again.