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Two of the most tragic things that can happen to a person would be the death of a loved one, and your house catching fire. I would know because I’ve lived them both. At the same time.
Standing outside your house watching it burn, and knowing that someone you love is inside, is horrible. You try to get in and help. But people are holding you back. You keep thinking to yourself, why them? Why isn’t it me? Sometimes you never truly discover the answer.
After the last flame was extinguished, I fell to my knees. My throat started closing and air was sticking to the insides of my lungs. My eyes were watering and my whole body was going numb. Why her? Why not me? I would’ve given up my life a thousand times over if I could spare hers. She was an angel. She had a certain glow about her that I couldn’t describe. Her name was Bree, and she was my daughter.
I loved her so much. From the moment I first saw her face, cradled in my arms at the hospital. It seemed like a lifetime ago, when really it was just a mere six months, when I was still fifteen.
Everyone makes mistakes but it always felt like mine were pointed out more than others. When I was eleven, my mom, Karen, walked out on my dad and I. A few months later, my best friend went to California on a vacation. When she came back, she announced that she had seen my mom working at a bar. Everyone blamed me for making my mom crazy. But it wasn’t me. It was her own past.
When my mom was little, she had been abused by her dad. Her mother, Clarissa, was also abused. The two of them had talked about leaving someday soon together, where he couldn’t find them. Somewhere far away so that he couldn’t hunt them down.
They had been planning it for nearly a year when her mom finally decided to take action. While her dad was at work, Clarissa had said to my mom that the next day, she would pick her up from school around noon and they would go somewhere. My mom was eleven years old then. She sat in school watching the seconds go by on the clock. The big hand showed nine, ten, eleven, and then twelve. All hour long she stared at the clock. Then it was one, next it was two, then it was time to get on the buses. She thought to herself, maybe she just couldn’t get away today. When she got home, her mom was nowhere to be found. Her mom never showed up that night. Her mom abandoned her with the monster. Her dad beat her and blamed her for making her mom leave. But it wasn’t her, it was him. For the next eighteen years of her life, my mom was harshly and unfairly beaten.
The day my mom turned eighteen, she was out of the house. She never planned to stick around. When she was nineteen she met my dad. Six months later they were married and six months after they were married, they had me.
My mom always seemed happy. Except for when she would drink. I knew she had a drinking problem, but she always denied it. She said she only drank to escape from the stress in her life. Little did she know that it just created more.
One night when my dad came home, my mom was drunk. She had actually been drunk an hour ago, now she seemed like she was beyond drunk, if there is such a thing. This wasn’t a new experience for me. Even though I was only eleven, I had witnessed my mom like this before.
My mom took one look at my dad and asked, “Why are you late?”
“I’m not late. I told you I was working a double shift just like I do every Sunday.”
“But you were supposed to be home at nine, not ten,” my mom argues with a crazed look on her face.
“I stopped at the store and picked up some fish for tomorrow.”
“Was your girlfriend with you?”
My dad got a steamed look on his face. “Why would I have a girlfriend when I have a wife that I love so much?”
“Oh save the sweet talk.”
“It’s not sweet talk, I love you and only you.” My dad’s eyes softened.
“Yeah right. Save it for your next sweetheart.” With that my mom stormed upstairs to her bedroom and locked the door. Almost all night my dad pleaded with her to open the door, but she wasn’t budging.
He finally gave up and retired to the couch at one in the morning.
When he and I woke up, the door was unlocked and my mom along with all of her things, was gone. She never showed up that night, the next night, or any other night.
The absence of my mom lingered in the air and made my dad and I fight, a lot. We fought over the silliest of things! The soup wasn’t cooked right, the bread was too hard, I didn’t put the trash in the bins right, and the list goes on and on. He never was the same again. I would get so mad at him that I would purposely stay at my friends house five hours later then he wanted me to, I would get fake piercings to make him think they were real, I just wanted him to pay for all the times he would yell at me. All my friends would call me crazy but I didn’t care, I had suffered losing my mom, someone had to pay. At the time I didn’t know that the only person who would pay was me.
One night when I was fifteen, I had gone out to a movie with some friends. My dad had told me to be home by ten. Tonight I had decided to play nice and be home by nine. I had some bad news to tell him and being home early would hopefully ease the tension. I was about to be killed ten times over, why make it worse?
When I walk in the door, my dad looks up from the TV and says, “You’re early.”
“Yeah, my friends were all going to a party and I’m really tired so I had them drop me off.”
There was a silence and I knew that I just had to say it. “Dad.”
“I need to tell you something but don’t be mad ’kay?” He didn’t answer so I kept going. “I.. I... I’m pregnant.” I closed my eyes and waited for the yelling to start. However instead of yelling he started to laugh. “What’s so funny?” I asked completely confused.
“I sorta expected something like this would happen.” What was he saying?
“So your not mad?”
“Honey listen, I am disappointed but I blame myself. It was my responsibility to talk with you and I failed to do so. You didn’t know any better.” I could not believe what I was hearing. I come home and tell my dad I’m pregnant, he responds by laughing, and then he blames himself. Wow.
“I guess I should start saving my money now then huh.”
“No dad, you don’t have to I’m gonna try to get a job and...” He cut me off before I could finish.
“If you think that I’m gonna let you do this alone than you’re wrong. You never ask for much and I’m grown, I don’t need anything except food and water. You’re not gonna be alone.”
“Thanks Dad. Even though I don’t tell you this much, I really appreciate everything you do for me. And I’m glad to know that you’re right there beside me.”
“No problem sweetie. And whatever you need, whenever you need it, just let me know.”
“Thanks Dad.” I walked over and put my arms around him in a tight embrace.
“I just have one question,” my dad said.
“And what’s that?”
“Who’s the father?”
“Oh dad, don’t worry about him. He moved to Florida a month ago.”
For the next several months, my dad and I never once argued. I still went out to places with my friends but was never a minute past curfew. Everything was going great. However, I got this feeling that it wasn’t going to last forever.
About two months before the baby girl, my baby girl, was going to be born, there was a knock on the door. I was sitting on the couch across from my dad, who was sitting on the love seat reading the paper.
“I’ll get it,” he said with a huff as he was getting out of the chair. I heard him take five shuffled steps to the door. I remember them so clearly now because they were the last five steps that I heard when peace and serenity were still in my life.
“Karen?” I heard my dad say, shocked.
“Yes, it’s me.” I knew that voice and somehow I knew hearing it could not be a good thing. I got up slowly and shuffled to the door. “Baby! Oh I’ve missed you so much!” There she went again, never calling me by my name.
“Hi, mom. And it’s Shay, remember. You named me it, you know me, the child you abandoned.”
“Oh silly! Of course I remember! Not too many kids have that name! I wonder why I picked such an odd name.”
“Probably because you were drunk when you thought of it.” I looked over at my dad who I had totally forgotten about. He was pushed to the side, still holding the door open.
“No. I don’t think so. I remember that...” She never got to finish that thought before my dad interrupted her, “Karen. Why are you here?” My dad had told me several months ago that he was kinda glad that my mom left. He had been planning to break it off, just not in front of me and only if she had refused to stop drinking.
“Why do you think I’m here? I’m here to see my baby! And the love of my life!”
“Karen, when you left our relationship ended. And she’s not your baby anymore. If she chooses to, in the future, have you apart of her life then fine, that’s not my decision. But right now, as you can see, my daughter is about to have a child soon and she doesn’t need you to be stressing her out! This also isn’t your home anymore. I had it transferred so it was under my name. If you wanna see the papers I’ll be happy to oblige but maybe at a later date. Goodbye Karen.” My dad was about to close the door when my mom swiftly stepped in.
“Listen Scott. She’s my daughter just as much as she is yours and I deserve to see her, especially when she’s about to have a baby!”
“No. She’s not your daughter. Biologically maybe but you left her. You don’t deserve someone as good as her in your life!” I decided to cut my dad off there before he started to yell. ?
“He’s right mom. You left him and me. You don’t love him anymore. You don’t love me anymore either. Otherwise you wouldn’t have left! Just like dad said, I don’t need this stress in my life right now. Maybe we can talk about this some other time. So I’m asking you to leave.”
“I gave you both nothing but the best for many years and this is how you repay me when I come to you, begging for forgiveness?”
“Every ounce of love you gave me, was only because you never wanted me to tell dad. You didn’t want me to tell him about all the times that you would drink when he wasn’t home. You think he didn’t know? He always knew. So you have five seconds to leave or I’ll call the cops, and they can deal with you, because I’m not.”
“I never thought I’d see the day when my daughter, my own flesh and blood, would turn her back on me.” With that she raised her hand and struck me flat across the face. Before my dad could respond, she turned and ran.
Her hand had left an imprint on my face and brought blood to the surface. It stung but what stung more were the salty tears forming in my eyes, and my broken heart.
Laying in bed that night, I was thinking about what my mom had done. She abandoned me, I never abandoned her. She said she was begging for forgiveness, where was the begging? Where was the forgiveness? My mom hadn’t changed. The only thing that changed from four years ago and now were she didn’t have a house, a husband, or a daughter.
When I woke up, I felt better. I could feel myself starting to forget about my mom, I could feel my heart mending and best of all, the handprint was gone. I got into the shower and as the water swept down the drain, I could feel it taking my worries with it.
Once I was out of the shower, I slipped my robe and slippers on, then shuffled down the stairs to where the smell of bacon and eggs drifted.
“Good morning father of mine,” I said with a smile growing on my face. I just felt so happy.
“Hi,” he said in such a blank tone. Uh oh.
“Nothing’s wrong.” He said a little bit too quick.
“Dad. Whatever it is, you can tell me. I’m sure I’ve been through worse.” I looked at him seriously. He paused and thought for a few minutes but then he said, “ Your mom was here all night.”
“In the house?” I asked, shocked.
“No. She sat at the doorstep all night scratching like a dog to come in. Woke me up in the middle of the night. Kept me up too.”
“Oh Dad! Why didn’t you call the cops? They could’ve done something.”
“There wasn’t any point. She wasn’t harming anything and when I thought of it, she left.” I could tell that he was upset.
“Dad, promise that if it ever happens again you’ll come get me and we’ll solve it together, okay?”
“Okay.” Right as he served me a heaping plate of eggs and a mound of bacon on the side, there was a scratching noise on the door. “That’s her again!” My dad shouted. “ I’d bet my next pay check on it.” I walked over and looked through the window, sure enough, it was her.
My dad and I had gone to the grocery store and when we got back, we saw someone trying to crawl through the dog door! My dad stood waiting for a minute to see if the person was still trying to move through the door or if they had given up. The person remained still. My dad slowly walked up the front steps and said, “Hello?” No response. He took the keys, unlocked the door and opened it to find my mom, sound asleep, with a beer bottle, surprisingly still, clenched in her hand.
“Thank you so much, we really appreciate it.” My dad said in a low voice to the police officer that was standing outside the door.
My dad and I were shocked. We didn’t know what to do? We stood there debating on whether or not to call the cops or wake her up and tell her to leave. Calling the cops won in the end ( of course because that’s what I wanted ).
When the cops showed up, they attempted to wake my mom up but she was so far gone that all she did was moan. After some debating, the cops finally managed to get my mom out of the door without causing any serious injury. The only things were a couple of bruises around her waist.
“It’s no problem, sir. If I had found someone stuck in my doggy door, I would call the cops too.” Ha! Stuck? Try half way through it! I never understood why we never got rid of that door. Brownie had died three years ago and it didn’t seem as though we would ever get another dog.
Once my mom was loaded into the back of the police car, my dad asked what would happen to her. The police officer said, “She won’t really be in jail, she’ll go to a facility just down the road and take classes for a week. There she’ll get the help she needs. She’ll learn to take her anger and stress out in healthier ways and if she continues to drink then she’ll have to go to counseling everyday for three years. She shouldn’t bother you anymore.”
At this point I had decided to go in the house and put the melting ice cream in the freezer. There wasn’t anything else to stick around outside for. You could hear mumbling voices from outside the door, that continued my dad’s conversation.
“Yeah. Well thanks again but I really should go help my daughter put the groceries away, she’s not really supposed to lift heavy things and I know that she’s tempted to go lift that ten pound of birdseed.”
“Anytime, tell your daughter I said good luck!”
“I will!” Then the officer walked to his car, and drove away.
After two weeks had come and gone, my mom never showed up, which was good. Except my dad seemed different. We never argued but it felt like he was gonna burst. I wondered if my mom’s visit impacted him a lot more than I thought it did.
I went to the doctor’s and they said that in order to have a safe delivery for me and my baby, I would have to go in two weeks earlier then planned. Which meant I would be going in... tomorrow.
I was excited but nervous. Every five minutes I caught myself looking at the clock, just counting down the seconds until I would be expected in the hospital. At one point my dad couldn’t take it. He got up and decided to go for a walk. I was home alone. However this was good. I needed some time to think alone.
Of course I had every mother’s to be thoughts. Would my baby survive? Would she be healthy? Would she have all ten fingers and toes? These were just a few of the nervous thoughts I was thinking.
In the car, on the way to the hospital, my dad didn’t say much. But I could tell he was excited. I was excited too, but just knowing that in a mere few hours, my baby would be outside of me and I wouldn’t be able to protect her as well, got me nervous. I was thinking about all the possible bad things that could happen to her until we pulled into the parking lot. I looked up at the tall towering building and then at my dad.
“Are you ready?” He asked.
“As I’ll ever be,” I replied with a smile.
“Then let’s go!” We climbed out of the car and walked into the lobby.
“May I help you?” A friendly looking woman said, sitting at a big desk.
“Ummm, what floor for delivery?” I asked, not that I didn’t already know.
“Floor five. What are you having?” She asked, a smile spreading across her face.
“Oh how wonderful! Do you have the name already?”
“I have a few ideas but I’m really fond of Rose.” I had been considering it for several weeks now and this was my favorite.
“That’s a beautiful name!”
“Thank you! Well we should probably get going, don’t wanna be late.”
“ Of course! Good luck!” We walked to the elevator and paused a moment to wait for one to open. Climbing in, I was starting to get even more nervous. My palms were sweating and my skin started to get clammy. I turn to look at my dad to see him staring at me.
“Are you okay sweetie?” He asks.
“Yeah I’m fine why?” I lied.
“You seem nervous and I don’t think your skin is supposed to be that shiny.”
“Well I guess I am a little bit nervous.”
“There’s nothing to be nervous about. You’ll have excellent doctors and you and the baby will be safe. I promise.”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I am! I would never lie to you!” With that he took my hand and we walked forward to the desk, on the fifth floor.
“Shay. Shay can you hear me?” A familiar but unfamiliar voice asked. I’ve heard it before but I hadn’t heard it often and I couldn’t remember when I heard it last. “Shay it’s your doctor. You’re in the hospital and your baby was born without a problem and you are fine.”
“My... My.... My baby was born? And she’s fine?” I didn’t know if they could understand me, my words were all jumbled into the other.
“Yes, your baby was born and she is as perfect as an angel. She’s already captured the hearts of several people. Would you like to see her?”
Yes, I would.” The doctor motioned to someone standing over by the incubator.
“Bring her over Scott.” My dad picked up a little bundle and slowly, never taking his eyes off her, brought her to me. I knew I was going to love her no matter what she looked like, but the doctor was right, she was an angel. I stared at her for what seemed like a lifetime but somehow a lifetime wasn’t enough. Every moment I had just wanted to be with her. I hadn’t realized how powerful love was, until now.
“May I.... May I hold her?” My dad bent down and carefully placed her in my arms. I gasped. She was even more perfect up close. I never wanted to let her go.
I cradled her against me for awhile while my dad stood over and stared at her angelic face.
“ I think she’s the most beautiful baby I’ve ever laid my eyes on.”
“ Yeah, I think she is.” I didn’t see anything but her.
The hospital was my temporary home for two weeks. Even though the baby’s delivery went fine, the doctors still wanted me to remain under observation. Every morning at six, the nurse would come in and bring the baby to me (I still hadn’t decided on a name), to feed her. Then I would sit with her in my arms until seven, when breakfast arrived. Breakfast consisted of two rubbery scrambled eggs, one burnt piece of toast, two sausages (that looked like you would die if you ate them), and a carton of orange juice. After breakfast, I got dressed and would drop the baby off to the nursing station, and then would go for a walk around the hospital. At nine, I would be back in the room, to feed the baby. Around ten, my dad would show up and he would spend the next hour, holding the baby, talking to me, and making sure that we both had everything we needed. Around twelve he would feed the baby and together, all three of us would go for a walk around the hospital. Between two and three, my dad would leave to go back to work and I would feed the baby. For the rest of the day I would stay in my room, get supper, and hold the baby. Around seven, the baby would fall asleep until nine (when I needed to feed her). After she was fed, she would fall asleep in my arms. I would fall asleep around ten and after that, the nurse would wake me up every two to three hours to feed her.
After almost two weeks had past, the doctors told me I needed to decide on a name so they could complete the birth certificate. Deciding on a name wasn’t easy. I asked all the nurses for ideas, I asked my dad, and I even attempted to ask the baby (she wasn’t much help). I still loved the name Rose, but my baby, she didn’t look like a rose. That day, I left the baby with the nurses and went to lobby. I asked several people waiting there what they thought I should name my baby. No one there was much help until I stumbled upon a woman named Alexis. I was asking a man across from her what was the most prettiest name he’s ever heard of when she called me over.
“Excuse me,” she said. “I wanna tell you a story.” I said thank you to the man and walked over to her.
“I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation,” she said in a voice that sounded like it had lived through a lot. “I hope you’ll forgive me for eavesdropping.”
“It’s no problem at all,” I said. “You wanted to tell me a story?” I questioned, wanting her to get to the point.
“Yes. My daughter was a very pretty girl growing up, I’ll let you know. She never complained about anything. I always said she had the softest heart. Her name was Breanna. I know that every mother thinks that their babies are the most beautiful that they’ve seen but I...I knew that she was.
“When she was five, she got up and went to school just like everybody else. Smart girl she was too. She continued throughout the grades until seventh. She would have gone all the way through high school and up to college too, had the accident not happened.” A pained look flashed across the woman’s face, but it was gone just as fast as it came and I wondered if I had imagined it. “On the first day of winter, Breanna had slept in late. I woke her up and she got ready so fast, I don’t think I had ever seen her move so quick. Before I could even give her her lunch, she was out the door, running to catch the bus. Breanna, she loved riding the bus, she never once asked for a ride. Luckily the bus stop was just up the driveway and across the street. I jumped in the car, with her lunch in my hand. I almost caught her before she ran across the road, but almost didn’t save her.
“She took a step into the road, just before the crossing area, there was a blind curb. You never could see around that corner, you just had to hope and prey no one was coming. She didn’t get lucky that day, either that or she didn’t pray hard enough. The bus was rounding the corner and before it could stop, or she could scream, it hit her head on. I jumped out of the car and ran to her. Her hand was raised in the air and she was calling my name. ‘I love you mommy,’ she said to me. ‘I love you too,’ I could barely whisper. Moments later, before the ambulance could get there, she died in my arms. There was still so many things I wanted to buy for her, books I wanted her to read, so many things I wanted to tell her, I never got the chance. When she died I turned angry, hateful even. I wouldn’t talk to anyone and when they tried to help, I pushed them away. The bags of desserts and the ‘ I’m sorries,’ they weren’t gonna bring back my Breanna.
“One day, I was walking on the beach when I felt someone watching me. I looked all around and no one was there. Then I looked up at the sky. I heard a voice saying, ‘Breanna is safe. You need to let go. I will always be with her, and you.’ I knew I had never heard this voice before, only in dreams, but somehow I knew that it would be wise to listen. So I let go and I cried. I sat there on the beach and cried all day and into the night. But I was letting go. Back then, I didn’t know who’s voice had said that to me, but now I know it was God. God was telling me that Breanna was safe and it was okay for me to let go.
“I don’t know if this story helps you in anyway at all, but sometime, down the road, you’re gonna think that your life is a mess. Just remember that somewhere out there, someone has it just as bad if not worse than you do. You want to name your baby according to who you believe that she will be someday. If you need help deciding this, then talk to people that are close to you, including God. Remember that when you’re naming your baby.” After looking around, the woman got up and left before I could say thank you.
Walking back to my room, I was thinking about the story that the woman had told me. When I had almost reached the nursery, I had decided to try what the woman had said. Instead of going straight to the nursery, I decided to make a few stops along the way.
I went to my room and knelt on the floor. I had never prayed before but somehow I knew just what to say, because I got an answer.
“Is everything alright,” the doctor asked as I stepped into his office.
“Yes thank you.”
“Have you decided on a name?”
“Yes, I have.” I paused here because this was the first time I would be saying this name, as my baby’s. “Bree,” I said with a smile, liking how it sounded.
“Bree?” he asked. “Are you absolutely sure on this?”
“Yes,” I said. I was taking part of it from the daughter of the lady’s name, Breanna. I also thought that Bree was a name that every time I said it, I would think about how lucky I was, and I would also know that my daughter, Bree, was going to be a good person some day.
Later that day, when my dad had gotten to the hospital, I told him about the lady and how the baby’s name was Bree. He was thrilled! He told me that he had wanted to name me that but mom had refused. While he was there, my doctor came in and showed us the birth certificate for Bree. He also said he had some good news.
“Shay,” he said.
“Yes,” I looked up at him.
“How would you like it if I told you that tomorrow, you and Bree could go home with your dad?”
“Yes. When your dad gets here tomorrow, you can leave with him.” If Bree wasn’t in my arms I would’ve jumped around until I fell over. I was just so happy and so ready to get out of here.
The next morning could not have gone any slower. It was all I could do not to call my dad a hundred times, asking him when he was gonna get here.
Finally, at twelve, my dad arrived. I was all ready and packed, along with Bree. My doctor met us in my room along with a nurse. They got Bree ready, and in the car seat. Then, after saying goodbye to all the nurses, we headed down to the car. I sat in the back with Bree. She loved to look out the window, but she didn’t like it when we stopped. Every time we would hit a red light, it sounded like a siren was blaring in your ear. I never knew such a little thing could make such a loud noise. But as soon as the car started moving again, she was back to her happy self. I don’t think I could’ve asked for a happier baby.
When we pulled in the drive, I took a deep breath.
“Is something wrong?” My dad asked.
“No. Not at all. I’m just really happy to be home.” I opened the car and met my dad at the front door, he with Bree in his arms. I unlocked the door and took a step in. The house looked exactly like it had almost two weeks ago. I brought my bag in my room then headed back down stairs to prepare Bree her bottle.
After she was well fed, she fell asleep. Watching her sleep, I felt so peaceful and untroubled. It felt like there was a cloud in my stomach, and no matter how hard it tried to rain, it just couldn’t. I was just too happy.
That night was the first night that Bree had completely slept through. I was so grateful to be able to have one full night of rest.
After a week had past, Bree started to get on a better, and more stable schedule. Soon she would be due for her monthly check up. However two days before going to see the doctor, there was a siren sounding towards the house. I placed Bree in her swing and walked to the window, just in time to see a police car pull into the driveway. Unfortunately, my dad was working. The officer got out of the car and knocked on the door.
“Hello,” I said, opening the door.
“Hello ma’am. Are you Shay Waters?” The man said in a gruff voice.
“Yes, is something wrong officer?” I was starting to become worried.
“Well yes and no. There’s nothing that you’ve done wrong but it’s your mother.”
“What about her?” I asked curiously.
“She was put in jail for burning down an old newspaper stand about three weeks ago. While she was there it was determined that she needed some ‘help,’ if you will. While running some tests, doctors discovered that about three years ago, she overdosed on medication and it sort of messed up her brain. But what we don’t understand is that she acts normal, but she’s really crazy. She has been talking about her daughter and ex husband recently.”
“What has she said?”
“She keeps saying how she’s going to come here and burn this house. We thought it was silly and that it would never happen because she was going to be in an assisted living house, and be checked on every hour, but just this morning, she was missing. Police and search parties looked every where around the facility, she was no where to be found. When we realized that she could be heading here, I got sent over to warn you folks. And to tell you that if you see her, let us know.”
“So you mean that my mom is out there somewhere, but most likely here to try and burn down my house?”
“Yes.” My hands started to shake and my vision became blurry. “I have my baby,” I could handle if I were alone but there was no way that I could risk Bree’s life.
“And I’m sure you’ll be fine, I just thought it would be best that you know.”
“Could you, or would you stay with me until my dad gets home? I’ll call him and tell him to come home early, please?”
“Of course.” He stepped in my house and looked around.
“You can sit and watch TV or hold the baby if you like, I’ll just be a minute calling my dad.” I walked into the other room and dialed the familiar number. When he answered I told him the story and he said he’d be home within the hour.
When I walked back into the living room, the police officer was sitting on the floor with Bree cradled in his giant arms.
“She is so adorable,” he says in a soft voice.
“Thank you,” I said. “My dad said that he’ll be home soon, and thank you for staying with me, I really appreciate it.”
“It’s not a problem.” The whole time we waited for my dad, the officer held on to Bree, I even let him feed her.
When my dad got home, just as he promised, within the hour, the officer told my dad the same story that he had told me. My dad thanked him, walked him to the door, and the officer drove off.
“Are you okay?” My dad asked me, a worried look on his face.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just a little worried.”
“There’s nothing to be worried about. Your mom will never even get close to this place, the cops will find her if she does.” He said this in a way that made me think that he wasn’t quite sure about this.
That night was filled with a dreadful silence. Even the impatient Bree didn’t make much noise when I failed to get her bottle to her in time. A tense presence filled the air and I had that feeling in my stomach that something was about to change, forever.
I see a face, covered with a mask, leaning down towards me. They stretch their hands down and place them underneath me. I get lifted up and carried through a place I do not recognize. All I see is red. Red that seems to be alive.
The picture that I’m seeing is blurry. I thought to myself, what a strange dream. Then I realize why this all looks familiar. I look up into the face of the person carrying me. His mask, I recognize is that of a fireman’s. And the red that I see, I now recognize as fire. Shaking my head, I look around and realize that I’m in my house, that is on fire. We’re almost at the door now when everything that I’ve woken up to finally registers in my brain.
We’re outside when I realize that my father and Bree aren’t anywhere to be seen. The fireman places me on the ground near people that I know as my neighbors.
When I’m finally coherent enough to speak, I ask, “Where’s my father? Where’s Bree?”
A man dressed in uniform, walks over to me and points to a spot on the ground.
“Dad!” I yelled. I ran over to where he lay.
“Shay? Is that you?” My dad reached up and rested his hand on my face.
“Yeah dad. Are you okay?” Saying this I realized that he hadn’t turned his face to look up at me. “Dad, what is it? What’s wrong.” Slowly he turned his face to look at me. I gasped. “Dad! What happened to you?!” He had spots marking his face. Burn marks.
“When I heard the alarm, I was walking to Bree’s room to grab her and wake you, but I tripped. I hit my head hard and passed out. The fire crept up the stairs and burnt my face.” The mention of Bree alerted my brain.
“Bree! Where is she?”
“I don’t know. I haven’t seen anyone bring her out yet. Go ask that officer.”
I walked over to the man and asked in a panicked voice, “Where’s my daughter?”
“I don’t know. We have several men in there looking for her, but they must hurry because that house is going to collapse soon.”
“You mean that no one has found her yet?”
“Not yet ma’am.”
“No!” I screamed. I couldn’t let my baby die. I ran towards the house.
“Someone stop her!” The man from behind me called out. Suddenly people were surrounding me. People from all sides started lunging towards me. I managed to dodge several hands reaching towards me, until a man that I didn’t recognize out ran me and pinned me to the ground. I cried out.
“Let go of me! I need to find my daughter!” I kicked and struggled to get free but the man was too strong.
“You can’t go into that house. It’s going to crumble any minute.”
“But my baby is in there!”
“It doesn’t matter! There’s firemen in there looking for her, I’m sure that they’re on their way out as we speak.”
“It does matter and I just have to make sure that.... that....”
“That she’s safe.” I could barely whisper.
“The only way you can protect her right now is to protect yourself. All we have to do is wait. I’m going to let you up now, do you promise not to run off?”
“Yes.” He released me and helped me up off the floor. Silently we walked back to the spot where my dad was laying on the floor. I took my dad’s hand and together, we prayed and watched the door of the house. Three firemen came out, not one with Bree in their arms.
After the last flame was extinguished, I fell to my knees. My throat started closing and air was sticking to the insides of my lungs. My eyes were watering and my whole body was going numb. Why her? Why not me? I would’ve given up my life a thousand times over if I could spare hers. She was an angel. She had a certain glow about her that I couldn’t describe. And I missed her so much.
I had never felt so alone. When my dad and I used to fight, that was nothing. When my mom left, that was just a light tap on my heart compared to what it felt now. Now, I wanted to die. Glancing around, I was looking for something, anything to take my life, so I could join Bree.
I looked around, quickly spotting an abandoned hammer on the ground. Running over and picking it up, I turned it over so the sharp tooth edge was facing towards my leg. Without considering for a moment longer, I threw down the hammer and plunged it straight into the top of my thigh. I sank to the ground but I didn’t care what I felt anymore. My plan was simple, create a gash big enough and let it bleed, causing me to die from such a great loss of blood.
Curling up, I thought about all of the sudden changes in my life. Thinking about all of these, I could slowly feel myself slowly sinking deeper and deeper into unconsciousness. When I was almost gone, I heard voices. I couldn’t register them before I felt the soft embrace of an angel.
I felt myself lifting up, up. Getting lighter and lighter. I heard voices that could’ve only belonged to that of an angel. I tried to open my eyes but could not succeed.
After what seemed like forever, I was able to open my eyes. I opened them to discover I was in a white room.
Hearing footsteps approaching, I heard a bang and then a door opening. I turned around to discover a woman, dressed all in white, with a baby cradled in her arms.
“She’s been waiting for you,” the woman said in a voice like silk. I was about to ask who when the woman took a step closer and placed the baby in my arms. Bree.
I held her close and cried. I cried not because I was sad. I cried because I was so happy to have my baby back in my arms. I stood, Bree in my arms, salty tears dripping down my face. I didn’t care that my life was over. I only cared that my Bree and I were reunited, and I promised to her we would never be apart again. Bad things may happen, but love will always prevail.