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Mother, Where Have You Been?

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“Tiana! It’s time to go!” Anya yells from the last step of the stairs. I sit up in bed and yawn, stretching my arms out wide, giving my blue eyes a chance to open. I look around the pink room, realizing it was daytime. As my energy reunites with my brain, I jolt out of bed and run across the soft white carpet to the walk-in closet where I stash numerous amounts of clothing. I grab a light blue dress and rapidly throw off my pink pajamas as if they are on fire. I quickly slide into the dress and walk out of my bedroom with my head held as high as the sky.
Taking a few steps down the stairs, I see Anya waiting for me with a hairbrush in her left hand and a stack of black hair ties on the right. My thick curly brown hair is a bundle of wires on my head, it never stays down. Thanks to Anya though, she manages to make it flat everyday with a magical tool called a straightener. I don't know what that is, but Anya uses it a lot and so does Mom. James thinks its dumb and so does Dad, but I think its magical. As she brushes through my hair, it feels like a game of tug-of-war being played by big muscled men. My eyes begin to water as I sit in front of the blank TV. The busy morning continues with Mom being in the kitchen getting my lunch packed while James is in his bedroom singing to Jake Owen as loud as he can, and Dad tying his black tie around his neck and fixing his brown slick hair in the mirror next to our front door. I love mirrors; they let me see how pretty I am.
Since my school isn't that far, I walk every morning. I like looking at the other houses in the neighborhood. They are big and nice and really old but pretty. I take my first steps onto the playground the same way every morning. I feel it brings me good luck throughout the day. First, I say hi to Patricia. Then we run to the monkey bars and swing across them and then to the merry-go-round where we spin five times and jump off at the end. Then we go to the swingset and swing back and forth for about five minutes. I keep track of the time on my princess watch Mom got me for Christmas last year. And that is how I start a wonderful day.
But this Friday is strangely different. As I sit with Patricia on the swings, we face a large parking lot stretching as far as our eyes could see. I feel like I'm flying when I'm on the swings, it’s a peaceful and graceful feeling like a swan when it swims gracefully and majestically. As I look around the parking lot, I notice a woman standing at the gate dividing the parking lot from the playground. From a distance, she looks a lot like me. Her hair is brown and fades like mine, her eyes were blue like the sky, her skin is of the same complexion as me… but I don't know this woman. She stares at me like a hawk stalking its prey. I jump off the swing to approach her as any curious child would do… maybe not the best idea given I was always taught to never talk to strangers, but I’m too curious to let this opportunity pass me by. I take small steps until we are face to face with the fence acting as a barrier between us. A quiet and almost non-existent voice breaks the awkward silence created between us when she sobs, “My precious baby girl.”
That afternoon, I finally make it home. I walk into the kitchen to see Anya and James doing their homework and Mom and Dad planning out dinner. Usually I'm energetic and rowdy like a toddler craving attention. But not today. My mind is so focused on the words the woman had said to me.
“Honey, you okay?” My head twitches from the cabinet to Mom and Dad who are staring at me strangely. Knowing I'm never this quiet nor distracted, Mom begs me to answer, “What’s the matter love?”
I nod confusedly, “I think I saw my real mom.”
Mom looks at me with shock. Her head slowly moves to Dad and as if in shame, looks at the floor.
Once again confused, I look at her with puppy eyes. “Why was she here? I thought she didn't want me anymore.”
Mom walks towards me and holds my hands, “Baby, she gave you to an orphanage because she was very sick. She still is very sick. That’s when we found you and ever since then, we've fallen in love with you.” A small smile cracks her frown.
I nod, “But why is she back?”
Mom looks at Dad unknowingly, “I'm not sure honey but we’ll figure it out.” A sense of security in her voice makes me more complete. I feel safe knowing I have Mom and Dad.
A few weeks pass by, I wake up to the sun shining through my barely open window. Constant stress and frustration has erupted in this house since she came into town. Mom and Dad have received letters in the mail from someone who lives in a courthouse. It must be serious because never have I ever seen Dad and Mom yell so much. I don't think they’re mad at each other, this guy at the courthouse is making things complicated. Really complicated. I just hope everything goes back to normal soon.
“Tiana, will you get dressed for me?” Anya is standing in my bedroom door with James. They’re both dressed to go somewhere fancy. I figure I should match the occasion. I quickly change into a nice floral dress and rush to meet Mom and Dad who are at the car. Mom looks like she had been in tears the night before, Dad looks to be the same. Something must have happened. As we drive, silence screams in our ears. Not a word has been spoken between either of us, Anya isn't even on her phone. That's definitely a first. But to avoid conflict, I just roll with it.
We arrive at a large white building downtown, traffic is busy as usual. Getting out of the car was a struggle given Mom was not in her right mind to be able to take me out of the car. We walk up the stairs to the front doors, Dad pulls them open and we emerge into a crystal flooring and chandelier ceiling setting. It’s almost like a castle. Continuously walking, we make it to another set of doors where there are numerous people crowded on the other side of the door. We walk through the double set doors where a woman in a black robe is sitting at a large platform with a desk, that must be the judge. Multiple people are sitting to the right of the judge in pews.
Dad looks down at me and smiles, “We’re just going to talk with the judge, Tia. Don't worry.”
A man in a black suit is sitting in front of the judge at a large table with my real mom. Dad and Mom’s hands tighten around mine, I can feel their angry energy rushing through my hands. This is going to be an interesting talk. I think to myself.
“This session has come to order. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, please stand.” Mom and Dad stand up. “Miss Davis please stand.” She stands. “You may be seated.” They all sit down.
Honestly, I've never seen adults argue so much in my life. It feels like they can only talk about each other’s past mistakes as if it matters now. The fighting only gets worse when my real mom introduces a new topic. Since she has been clean from any drugs for longer than a year, she is eligible to have her parenting rights reinstated. Mom doesn't like that… Neither does Dad… Let’s just say she called her very inappropriate words. James’ laugh can be heard from the front of the room. I chuckle a little as well believing it to be the only time I can hear my Mom say such words.
After hours of conflict, the judge stands and nods, “Miss Davis, your licence has been reinstated, you may begin filling out the paperwork to take Tiana out of foster care. Case dismissed.”
And with that final whack of her mighty hammer goes the rest of my life.






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