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She stared lopsidedly at the wall while a single tear ran down her pale, distraught face. I watched her aimlessly twirl a strand of her chestnut hair, head pressed against her bed, eyes blinking softly and slowly.
Tonight, my mother would not be herself. She never really was herself around me, an obviously forged smile creeping upon her face every morning while I made myself the same bowl of cereal I ate every day, eyes wandering out the window, searching for something to talk about.
Tonight, my mother would distance herself even further from me, a feat I once would have thought impossible but now understood was completely plausible.
She tucked her hands underneath her head, closing her eyes so to seem too tired to talk, too tired to talk today, too tired, Amy, could we talk later, Amy, I need my sleep, much too tired right now.
She did not speak and yet I read the words off of her face as though she had said them, and I quietly sat down on the floor, watching her drift to sleep.
Understandably so, of course. She needed to rest, to let sleep sink in her system before the night's events could. Mom didn't need to talk to me; she couldn't talk to me, she never talked to me about serious things.
The closest she ever got to talking to me about anything serious was when I asked her why my father drank, and to that, she said he was sick and couldn't help it. I said he could if he wanted to, and she told me to go to my room. That was it.
And now, because of his disease, he was gone, Travis, Julia, and Olivia, my siblings, were gone; plus four innocents, people he never met, were gone with the car he had saved up for so long to buy.
He was stupid, Thierry, my cousin, who was there with me when we heard about the crash had said. He was stupid and drunk and that was all I heard him say because I could not stop thinking about the fact that it could have been me, it could have been Thierry, too, and Mom; what then?
Her constant breathing allowed me to hold onto the fact that she was still living, as I was.
It was eight in the morning in the middle of July, and though I wanted to go somewhere, anywhere to forget what had happened, I was stuck in the house because Mom had a different way of grieving than I did. She needed to sleep to forget, I needed distractions.
We were so similar and yet so different.
I stretched my hands above my head and decided that I could leave my mother for a few minutes to sleep while I made myself breakfast; I was too hungry at this point to just ignore my stomach pain.
I slowly arose, trying not to push against the floor too much to prevent creaking, and left my mother to begin to forget.