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Mommy Says

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My mother's voice slithers up the stairs, under my door, and into my vulnerable ears.
"Laney!"
It takes one word from Mom to make me come running. As is with most young 10 years old, Mommy says 'jump' you ask 'how high?'
"Yes?" I ask when I come into the kitchen.
Mom sits at the bar sipping on a tall glass of orange juice. She sips cautiously, wary of her lipstick.
Standing she says, "I've got to go to work early today," she pauses to fish a professional looking folder out of her massive purse. "Now," she looks me in the eye, eyebrows arched and lips in a stern line, "I need you to give this to your father when he gets home. Okay?"
When Mommy says 'run' you ask 'how far?'
"Okay," I nod and take the folder.
Mom leans in and almost kisses my cheek but her lipstick is far to important for that, so she stops herself and steps back quickly, acting as if my presence with upset her obvious beauty.
She turns to leave, pausing only to check her appearance in the hall mirror. Applying even more blush, her cheek turn a much rosier pink. With her pale skin, brown curls framing her face, and pink lips my mother looks much like the glass dolls Daddy buys me whenever Mom misses my ballet recitals. Needless to say, I own a lot of glass dolls.
I heard the slam of our large front door and soon after the start of Moms Volvo purring to life.
Because I was 10 years old at the time, I opened the folder my mother had handed me. I will say that I battled furiously with my curiosity before carefully opening the folder, worried it would explode at my betrayal. But, Mom has never said I couldn't take a peak inside.
It was certainly something professional and I found myself staring at it feeling quite dumb until my eyes found the words FILE FOR DIVORCE.
I did not, could not, understand at first. I was sure this was a joke, positive that it was not as professional and serious at the tiny print seemed to make it.
I laughed, it was a weak and ugly sound, as if trying to make myself find it funny. But it wasn't funny, not in the least.
FILE FOR DIVORCE, the words seemed to burn into my retinas and I couldn't see anything else. FILE FOR DIVORCE, that's all I knew, all I could comprehend.
"Mommy...?" I whispered, my voice having slipped out with my intelligence in the past few seconds.
Suddenly a tiny droplet of water fell on the life-changing papers. I cringed, thinking that now, there was no way Mom wouldn't know I peaked.
It took me a second to realize the water had come from me. I was crying, silently and alone.
Raising my hand to my face, vaguely noticing my trembling finger tips, I felt the hot tears streaming down my cheeks.
I jumped back, bumping into the granite counter, when a load roar came from outside. My dad's old Ford. Dad ... Dad! He would make everything all better! Daddy always makes it better!
But my body is thinking something different and I racing up the stairs and find myself in my bedroom in a matter of seconds. I stumble, my knees weak as the heave grief settle on my shoulders, to my bed. Climbing under the covers I feel my chest tighten and my throat close. I clutch the papers to my chest, realizing I'd left the folder in the kitchen. My nose is running now and my body is shaking with heavy sobs.
"Laney?"
This house is a very old Victorian, so it isn't surprising that Dad hears my wails.
His heavy footsteps are on the stairs now and I can hear him coming closer and closer now.
Curling in a ball with he Divorce papers still against my skinny chest, I hear my door squeak open.
"Laney? Hun, what's wrong?" My dads southern accent always made me feel better before, but not today.
In a sobbing rage I shove the papers under my pillow and quickly pull the covers off me, steeling myself to face my dad. But it's Daddy, I shouldn't need to harden myself just to look at him.
"Honey, what is wrong?" He's sitting on the edge of my bed, his face flushed from the cold winter wind biting his exposed skin.
"I ... I just don't feel very well." I never was much of a liar.
"Laney, don't lie to me."
My eyes grow warm as fresh tears start to form. I gasp in a breath and slowly lift my pillow, because when Mommy says 'do this' you say 'okay.'
Dad's eyes find the word DIVORCE quicker than I had. His jaw tightens and his blue eyes turn glass and he stares at something just above my right ear.
"Daddy?"
"How'd you get these, Alaine." My dads face is a mask of seriousness, much like Moms before, and he uses my full name for the first time in years.
"I'm so sorry," I'm blubbering now and the tears fall freely.
"Alaine Grace Park, you tell me how you got these papers right this damned minute." Dads voice is hard at iron matching his eyes.
Looking back, I think he already knew Mom had given me the papers but he just need to hear the words.
"Mom told me ... to give them t-to ... you," I speak around the harsh sobs and hiccups.
I want my daddy to comfort me, to scare away all my sadness and pain. I was too young to realize the amount of pain he must have been experience then too. And that he needed his own comforter, just like me. So when he left the room in complete silence, I sat wide-eyed glaring at the place he has occupied on my bed. Anger starts to sink in, mixing with the anguish to form bitterness. Standing with a huff I stomp to the door and slam it closed, a small shriek escaping me.
Of course all this was my fault. I could have kept the peace for a few more minutes of I had just disobeyed Mommy for the first time. Of course. Of course. Of course.
But, as usual what Mommy wants Mommy gets.




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