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Just Like Her

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Where has Clemency got to now? Daddy’s voice was all I heard in the cold dark silence of the basement. I stood there, for a while, peeking behind the wall to gaze at the yellowed bed sheet that covered the grand piano Mommy used to play. I finally heard Daddy’s footsteps along with his angry thoughts. No matter what I do, she always comes back! “Clemency, you know you shouldn’t be down here! If you don’t listen, the monsters will eat you!” He bellowed as we walked up to ground level. “But Daddy, you said that monsters didn’t exist.” I said, suddenly frightened. Damn, I better come up with more things to scare her. He sighed in frustration and trudged into the kitchen. Where’s that Brandy when I need it? Uggh but she’s here, maybe I’ll take a rest instead. As I went into the living room, the familiar urge to ask Daddy where Mommy’s pictures were nestled in my throat. I already knew the answer; six months after Mommy left for the special hospital, I heard him thinking about the memories from the pictures. The room looked lifeless, empty without them. I climbed onto the window sill to see the beautiful orange-red leaves that swayed in the wind. The ground looked wet and there were huge puddles everywhere. Maybe I should collect some leaves and rocks for Mommy. I thought.

I remembered when Mommy would go outside and play with me even though she was tired. The clouds drooping with greyness told me to pull on my yellow boots and oversized rain slicker before I locked the door and tucked the shoe box under my arm. I started walking my way to High Park, keeping to the inside of the sidewalk. Mommy always reminded me to never walk near the cars. The leaves shined with lush colours due to all the rainfall during the summer. I watched as a half orange, half green maple leaf twirled gracefully to the ground. “Mommy would like this.” I admired before putting into the shoe box.

I stopped by the little stream near the park entrance to see if I could find something for Mommy there. After a few minutes, I spotted a heart shaped pebble. Drying it off on my raincoat I placed it into the box. Next, I found a small white feather near the old creaky swing set. The fibres weren’t too stiff or too floppy. The clouds gave in as I hurried back home. Reaching for the door, it opened and Daddy didn’t look very happy.

Why in the world would Clemency go out there by herself? His thoughts matched his expression. “Daddy, I was out there looking for things for… Mommy.” I said immediately to help calm him. “Look what I found.” I showed him the contents of the box. His facial features softened a bit. “Clemency, you know you shouldn’t go outside by yourself. If you need anything, all you have to do is ask.” He grunted while helping me out of my coat. I didn’t like it when Daddy got mad at me, his face was scary. “I didn’t want to wake you Daddy.” I sobbed. He sighed mentally. What would I do if I lost her? “It’s ok Clemency but it’s very dangerous out there when you’re alone…just don’t do it again.” He led me into the kitchen and I could see a wine bottle on the counter? empty.

That night, after Daddy disappeared outside to get the Brandy in the car, I snuck down into the basement and tore off the yellowed sheets. Then I reached into the bench seat where the music scores for Claire de Lune?Mommy’s favourite song? rested. When she left, Daddy told me not to play the piano anymore.

“Teach me Mommy! Teach me!”I screamed excitedly. “Alright, alright! First you have to spread your fingers apart, nice and wide so that all your fingers have a key each.” She adjusted my fingers. “Then you have to follow the octave with both hands at the same time.” She’d only taught me part of the song before she left. I stared at the complicated music pattern and promised with all my heart that I would play the entire song perfectly for Mommy the following day.

“Celeste Fane.” Daddy said to the nurse. She escorted us into the room where Mommy sat on her bed, toying with her eyeglass case. “Celeste, Clemency is here to play a song for you for your 20th anniversary.” I gave her the box full of nature’s treasures before we set off into the main hall where the patients gathered. I can’t do this in front of all these people! I thought. The nurse called silence as I laid the sheets of music down. Setting my slender fingers onto the cool keys I relaxed my shoulders. I looked over at Mommy to see that I had her attention. This girl looks a lot like my little Clemency, oh and she was good at playing the piano. She gave an anxious smile, fumbling with the heart pebble in her hands. I didn’t realize I had played the whole song until I heard nothing but cheers and clapping.

“You played very well dear. That song that you played reminds me of something but I can’t seem to remember right now.” It’s the song you played for Daddy when you met him. Then, her stare went blank and she cleared her throat twice. “Thanks for the visit Aggie and Stephen but I have to get back to the meeting.” I knew that Mommy had forgotten the moment already because she didn’t remember our names. Daddy shielded his face away from my view as he attempted to muffle his sobs. The whole in my heart grew bigger as I watched her walk away but I knew that I would be like her? after all, schizophrenia was hereditary.



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