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The relationship between a mother and daughter is a bond that cannot be replaced. The two of you are literally connected as soon as you’re created and have an invisible string tying you two together thereafter. But what happens when a daughter loses her mother? What happens when that unspoken promise and connection is broken by tragedy? Can the connection ever be replaced?

Dear Diary,
Today’s Easter and the terrible anniversary of my two least favorite events: the unspeakable one and the evil day of the Replacer’s final connection to our home. My heart still rips in pain when I think of Her slipping that ring onto my father’s hand as my creator lies in the dirt for exactly a year. I will always hate this anniversary.


















XXXXX



As I closed my book I glanced at the picture of my other half and me. It took all my might to hold back my emotions but I kept a blank face. Taking a deep breath I started my usual morning routine as if it were a normal day. It had not been a normal morning for a long time though. As I slipped on my black pants and dark top I thought about this day 24 months ago.


A twelve year old girl stood in the grass, deafening silence surrounding her. Her loose purple dress outlined her with her matching plastic purse. A bouquet of Tiger Lilies rested in her hands. “Tiger Lilies were her favorite.” She thought to herself. Her short brown hair rested just below her chin and gently swayed in the breeze. She could not do much with it, being so short and all, but she had taken parts of the sides and pulled it back into a ponytail; just the way she use to get it down before school. The tool of her dress made the girl look like she was standing on clouds, but her empty stare showed differently. No tears fell from her eyes, but they showed her pain. No sound could be heard except for the quickening of the wind and a rumbling forming in the distance. Not caring about her white tights or peeking tool, she finally dropped to her knees, the bouquet of flowers falling onto the stone in front of her. Her tear ducts finally betrayed her as the rain started to fall. The drops combined with her salty tears in a puddle at her knees. For what seemed like forever she knelled there, soaked in both her and Mother Nature’s sorrow. Then, as if dried of all her emotions, the girl raised her head abruptly and stared at the headstone. “You will never be replaced.” She said. “Never.” She got up from the ground and the denseness of the atmosphere engulfed her as she walked across the white gravel path.


I dragged my feet out into the living room with My Chemical Romance blaring out of my ear buds. Plopping myself onto the pile of leather we call a couch, I turned on the TV and watched another thirty year old in greasy hair mumble about problems I was glad I could not hear. Without really caring I flipped through random channels before giving up on an infomercial and tossing the remote on our old love seat. Of course, just my luck, it bounced of the black leather and landed with a clatter to the floor. With a sickening feeling in my stomach I heard a rustle upstairs and knew that She had awoken. Cursing the devils home I heard her voice, like nails on a chalkboard, say my name as a question. Her feet carried her anorexic body down the stairs towards me as her fake, blown-up lips slid across her too white teeth; a smile meant for me though I thought of it as an evil grin.


“Hello there sweetheart” She said as if it was the most joyous day ever. I turned my music up until my ears were about to explode, and walked into the kitchen; making every obvious notion that I DID NOT want to be talked too. Unfortunately, being the cruel women she was she did not get the hint. “Your Uncle Tom is having a party tonight. Would you like to come?” As If I’d go anywhere with you. I thought to myself. What I actually said was a simple and direct “No.” and tried to keep all my attention on my bagel. “Well then, do you want to help me pick an outfit for later? We can have our own little fashion show!” She looked at me as if she was a genius and my obvious reaction should have been to jump into her arms declaring my love. With her fake grin still stained there against her spray tan face I could not help but express my true feelings.
“First off,” I said, feeling my knuckles turn white grasping my cream cheese covered knife. “I’m not five, I’m fourteen. I’m not interested in a home fashion show. Second of all, I think I’d have to be CRAZY to want to help you try on your skanky excuse for clothes.” Her chemical filled face started to turn red, but she took an annoying sigh and gave me her fake loving eyes.
“You know that it would be a great mother-daughter bonding time. We haven’t really had a chance to have one-on-one time since your dad and I got married. It’s already been a year since we said our vows, and I haven’t had any time yet to be alone with my new daughter.” Her words slid off her sticky red lips like slugs and made me stop everything I was doing. Not even my still screaming music landed in my consciousness as I soaked in what she had said. My anger began to overcome me and I flung my now cold bagel onto the ground. She flinched and looked at me astonished, but I did not care. How could she possible think anything she had just said was true? And to say it on this day?!?

“How DARE you!” I screamed. “You are NOT my mother and I am NOT your daughter. We will never have ‘a mother-daughter moment’ or a time to bond.” My face was starting to turn purple, but it did not matter. “I have a mother and you can never replace her”.

“Aw, but honey I'm your new mother now. I have been for a year now, to the day!” She was still smiling and I wanted to slap it off her face.

“NO! You are not my mother. Do you want to know where my mother is? In the dirt! She is today, she was two years ago, and she was ‘a year ago to this day’.” Plastic started to say something, but I cut her off, ignoring her now visible frown.
“You don’t remember that though right? No, you don’t. While you were having your precious wedding to my father and becoming a replacement in this family, do you know where I was? I was sitting there in that old graveyard again. All alone again, keeping my true mother company in that silent place. I was in that same place where I made my own vow, two years ago, to never let anyone replace her. I am not going to make an exception for some plastic surgery covered women who goes after their boss’ clients and tries to take over his family!”

“You will not talk to me like that young lady!”
I had never seen her this mad before but it did not matter to me. She had released my inner thoughts and once they started coming out they did not stop until my throat was dry. My pause gave her the perfect opportunity to speak. I glared at her as she continued the rant she had just begun. “Now XXXXX, I know you don’t want to accept it because you’re still grieving from your mother, but I am a part of this family now. Your mom died two years ago and I think that’s long enough for your dad to have moved on.” I started to protest that he had actually started dating her only six months after my mom’s death and married her six months later, but she cut me off. “I have tried to be kind to you and be supportive in this family, but do you have any idea how hard that is? I am forever competing with the accomplishments of the women before me and it takes a big hit on my confidence. Why do you think I make such an effort to look beautiful for your father? It’s because every day he reminds me of his ‘other women’ and every night he kisses his picture of her before me. I have to compete with a dead woman in my own home! So don’t you dare look at me like I’m some selfish bubble head.”


Every syllable she formed made my insides want to rip out of my skin and strangle her. Could her hear herself? She’s complaining about our family’s natural love for another member! She even had the nerve to call my mother ‘some dead women’!
Not able to take it any longer I screamed my final daggers.
“You are not a part of this family. No one who really knew this family would ever be jealous of irreplaceable figure and call her such terrible things. Everyone in this house knows why you get those surgeries and wear those pieces of cloth for clothes. There is NO way you can put this on my mother.”
I stormed down the hall to my room, but before I entered and slammed the door I yelled that vow I had spoken a year ago in my purple dress. “My mother will never be replaced. Never.” Then I shut myself from the world; the Replacer’s sniffles silenced by wood.


As I threw myself onto my creaking bed, the impact of what had just happened hit me. It was not really what I had said that made me feel a sudden rush of guilt; but of who had to listen. No, it was not my dad I was worried about. He should have known I’d get in a fight with her eventually. That was probably why he had stayed upstairs the whole time. No, it was my mom that I felt very sorry for. I knew she was still somewhere listening to me, and I knew she was disappointed. Thinking about what she would tell me made me remember the last words I ever really heard her say.


Thin brown hair, just like mine, fell from to her shoulders. Her frail hand reached for mine and I was shocked by how I could feel every bone through her skin. Her tired eyes looked up at me with tears and I could not help but start to cry myself. She shushed me and beckoned me closer. Then, even though it got harder and harder every day to speak, she whispered her farewell. “I want you to remember something sweetheart, no matter where you are. Whether you are with me or not, I will always be there. I will be in everyone and everything you hear and you see. Through every smell you smell at the fair, through every teacher that tells you how great of a student you are, and through every miracle you will see as your life goes on. And I want you to remember this last part most of all, my little beanpole. There might be one day where you feel alone or you feel like I am not with you. A day when you feel like you have nowhere to turn and everything around you is not the way you want it to be. There might even be day when you think that my memory is being replaced and you become stressed. But know this. Whoever may come into your life, I will be in them. Whatever happens, I will be a part of everything in your life and though it may seem like I’m gone forever, I am never gone.”


“Never gone” I repeated in my head. This memory made me feel even guiltier then I did before; as if I had just yelled at my own mom. With a shock I realized I had tears streaming down my eyes. I had given up on my mother and I had forgotten what she told me never to forget. But things were going to change. With a new joy I had not felt in a long time, I heard a soft knock at the door. Whispering a come in I watched as Her, no, Julia, walked into my room. Her eyes were dripping a combination of mascara and eyeliner and her nose was red. Even through her disaster looking face I saw a beauty in Julia I had never seen before. Without saying a word she came over to my bed a sat down, never taking her eyes off me. We just sat there staring for what seemed like eternity, when she opened her mouth and started to speak. But before she could finish her first words I reached over and hugged her. I felt her salt drops land on my black shirt, but I knew I was also staining hers. We embraced for a good five minutes before both pulling apart and smiling. The past did not matter anymore, there was only now. We finally understood each other, and even though she would never replace my mother, it was important for her to be a part of my life. Julia got up with a jump and her smile grew. So did mine.
“How about some pancakes?” She asked, her voice sounding musical.
“Sounds great.” I said.
She skipped out of the room and started to sing. Laughing I felt lighter then I had in two years. I, Ellie M. Bay, was happy.



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