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Little White Lights

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There was a knock on my door in the middle of the night.

It was raining outside, more like pouring outside, and I was worried. Tonight my mother hadn’t come home. That’s enough to make any person worry but my mother was also an addict. She’d been one since I was five, the year my grandmother died and my father left. That year we inherited my grandmother’s house so my mother had extra money to spend on heroine. She also was an alcoholic. I had no idea where my mother was and even though she was an addict and alcoholic, I was worried that I’d be left an orphan.

When the knock at the door came, I sat up immediately. I hadn’t really been sleeping, just dozing actually. I kept an ear out so I could hear when and if my mother came home. I crawled out of bed and hoped it was my mom at the door and couldn’t get in because she had lost her keys again. I always reminded her that we had a spare one under the mat but if she was high or drunk, she wouldn’t remember. I walked through the house, slipping on a sweater over my pajama tank top. When I reached the living room I flipped on the light and unbolted the door without looking through the peep hole. If it was my mom, I didn’t want her to get sick waiting in the cold. I opened the door and a cold misty wind blew around me. Standing on my porch were two dripping wet policemen. Confused, I pulled my sweater tighter around me and opened the door wider. One of the policemen looked familiar. He had brown hair and the nicest brown eyes I had ever seen. The other policeman was blonde and had blue eyes. He looked younger than the other policeman with the nice eyes. When I opened the door the older policeman asked, “Are you Natalie Cooper?”

My forehead furrowed in confusion. “Yeah. Is something wrong?”

The older policeman’s eyes grew sad and the younger one looked nervously at the ground. No one spoke and that increased my anxiety. All I could hear was the heavy rain on the rooftop. Finally the older policeman said, “I’m sorry Ms. Cooper but your mother was found dead on the street. She died of an heroine overdose. I’m very sorry for your loss.”

His words didn’t make sense. My mother couldn’t be dead. hadn’t she sworn to always be around? They must have made a mistake. “That’s impossible. She cant be dead. You must have made a mistake.”

The younger policeman looked at me with pity in his eyes. I hated it. The older policeman said sadly, “I’m sorry but there is no mistake. Your aunt already identified the body.”

My aunt? They couldn’t mean my mom’s twin sister, Olivia. They hadn’t seen each other in years, ever since my aunt moved out of town. “My aunt couldn’t have been right. She hasn’t seen my mother in years. There must have been a mistake.”

My voice was close to begging. Slowly the words were starting to sink in painfully. My mother, Elizabeth Cooper, was never going to come home. She would never hold me in her arms and call me her special little girl. She would never laugh, never cry, never yell at me again. I was officially an orphan.

“No its not possible. I know where she is. I can find her.” I said. I hadn’t realized I had cut off the older policeman. He looked at me oddly.

“I can find her.” I said again and before I knew it, I was running out into the rain. The officers tried to stop me but I fought them. I ran out into the freezing cold, barefoot with only a light sweater on. The rain soaked my hair and made my hands and feet numb. I could feel the mud squishing under my cold toes and splattering all over me. I ran faster and faster and I felt mud on my face. It didn’t matter if I looked crazy. I had to find my mother even I she was drunk or high or both. I needed to know she was alive. I ran up my neighborhood and the next without thinking much. Before I knew it I was on Main Street, racing toward a bar called the Blue Lagoon that my mother usually frequented. I pushed open the heavy wooden door and peered through the hazy red neon lighting. I could see people at the bar drinking and smoking. I walked past them asking, “Have you seen my mother, Elizabeth Cooper?”



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