All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
My Daughter, the Listener
I don’t really know when Willow started to notice things. Things that no one else did. I always thought I had given birth to and raised just a normal, beautiful daughter. I always knew she was special, but I never knew just how special.
I remember many times, when Willow was even just two years old, she would jerk her head around, and stare. This would catch my attention. I would always look, but there would never be anything there. Not a shadow. Not even a speck of dust floating around in the air. As she would stare off into space, I would try to get her attention. I would clap my hands, say her name, anything. She wouldn’t take her eyes off what she seemed to be looking at. The only way I could get her attention was to wait for her to seem to go back to normal. Sometimes this took minutes at a time. The only thing that scared me about this weird habit of hers was that whenever this would happen, her eyes would turn to dark pits, it seemed. Her eyes would turn dark and deep, like nothing was there. Just completely blank. She would have no expression on her face what so ever. This continued to frighten me, so I took her to the doctors to see if she had vision or hearing problems. They assured me there was nothing wrong with Willow. Perfect hearing and twenty-twenty vision.
By the time Willow was six, these random sequences became more frequent. I once again took her to get checked out, but to again find she had no problems, and was living a normal healthy life.
Willow is my only daughter. She had blue eyes, and beautiful blond wavy hair, just like me. I am a single mother. Jim, my ex-husband, left us for a twenty-three year old girl in Alabama. He just decided to pick up and leave. No more, no less. I’ve been raising Willow alone since she was three months. She never really knew her father.
My world is different now though. Ever since last year, I have been more and more lost. I love Willow, and now I will tell you her story.
Two weeks before the scariest day of my life, a kidnapper had been reported in our area of New York City. Everyone had been locking up there kids inside their houses, and locking their doors. I was hesitant, but I thought that everything would be alright. I never considered the dangers of what could happen. Some things in life can’t be explained. Things happen for a reason, even if you don’t know what that reason is.
One night after work, Willow and I were playing Scrabble and watching the news. The TV announcer came on and said that the kidnapper was at it again, and for anyone who might know of something that could help the police, to call in with any information. I’m not a bad parent, so don’t think I’m not worried or anything. But what are the odds in a city of 8,175,133 people, that your daughter will be the next?
The week went on as usual. School and work, school and work. But everything changed when the boy next door, Jamie Johnson suddenly turned up missing. He was a year older than Willow, and his mom and I were good friends. We worked in the same office together. Amy, Jamie’s mom, decided to go out with her sister who was in town for a visit, to go out for a drink one night. Alice Dunkerson, their babysitter went over like normal to take care of Jamie for her. I never heard anything out of the ordinary that evening, but after Amy returned, I heard a sharp scream come from across the hall.
“Amy!” I screamed as I ran across the hall towards her apartment. I pounded on the door. “Amy! Are you okay?! Amy, open the door!” Amy finally came to the door, and her face was drowning in tears. “Amy, what’s wrong?” I asked grabbing her arms.
“He’s gone,” she squeaked out. “And so is Alice.”
“Well maybe they just went out for a walk.”
“Come here.” She pulled me, trembling. We walked across the apartment and down the hall. She pulled me into Jamie’s room, still sobbing. When we got into the room, I couldn’t believe what I saw. On the floor were one of Alice’s shoes, and a pool of blood. Amy collapsed into my arms.
“Oh my God.” I started shaking, and I looked in my arms to see Amy freaking out. “Amy, where’s your phone? She was speechless, so I drug her over and draped her onto Jamie’s bed. I ran out to her kitchen and got her phone. I called 911 and the cops where on their way. I ran back to the room, to find Amy passed out in horror on the couch. When the cops got there, they took her in an ambulance to the hospital to make sure she would be okay.
After all the excitement of the night, I went back to find Willow sitting on the couch. The TV was buzzing and she was just sitting there watching the screen of black and white dots flash in front of her. “Willow, time for bed, baby. Willow,” I repeated. She just sat there. I knew what was happening. She was having another one of her spells. By now, I had started to get used to this. Ten minutes later, she still sat there. I finally decided to turn off the TV. She sat there for twenty more minutes before I tried to distract her.
I walked over to her, trying to get her attention. “Willow,” I chanted. “Willow, honey!” I began to shake her arms. Finally, she whipped her head, and she suddenly her eyes gained color and shape. “Are you okay Willow?”
“Yeah Mommy,” she said. “I’m fine.”
“Okay,” I said. “Let’s get you to bed.” I picked her up, and I took her to her room. I covered her up and kissed her on her forehead. I sat on the end of her bed and asked her if she was sure that she was okay. She assured me she was, so I told her goodnight and kissed her again on her forehead.
In the middle of the night, I got up and went to the bathroom. On my way back, I checked in Willow’s room, just to make sure she was okay. The memory of Jamie disappearing just a few hours later frightened me just a little, and was keeping me up all night, thinking, “Wow. That could have been my child.”
Once I was again walking back down the hall, I cracked her door open, knowing that she would be sound asleep in her bed. But when I opened the door, I almost had a heart attack. I opened the door to see Willow standing on the edge of her window frame. “Willow,” I whispered. I didn’t want to scare her and watch her fall the 20 stories onto the street below. “Willow,” I said quietly again. “Come here.” She couldn’t hear me. I went up behind her and snatched her with both hands. I threw her on her bed, and tightly shut the window. Only then did I realize how scared that had made me. I stared crying right there on the spot.
“What’s wrong Mommy?” Willow asked after regaining her composure.
“Don’t you ever try something like that again, Willow Tague! Do you hear me?!” I screamed at her. “Why would you do that?! What were you thinking?!”
“I’m sorry Mommy. I didn’t know! I’m sorry!” She stared crying and we sat there in each other’s arms. I was just realizing that I could have very well lost my daughter. I sobbed just as Amy had a few hours earlier. Only I knew that my daughter was alive, and here. Jamie was missing. I knew he was still missing because when Willow and I were done crying, we went back to the living room and watched the eleven o’clock news. The police had put up Jamie’s last school picture in case someone had seen him.
After that, I took Willow to bed with me, and I wrapped her tightly in my arms. I wasn’t going to let my daughter go missing, as Jamie had. What I had gone through tonight was enough to scare me beyond death itself. The only thing I could do now was to sleep off all of my fears. I shut off my bedside lamp, and went to sleep with Willow tight in my arms.
The rest of the week went on as normal, and I was very cautious of where Willow was at all times. Except for when I knew she was at school, I never took my eyes off of her. There had been three more children reported missing from our area, and I was not coping with the thought of my daughter’s future possible death very well. I was constantly reminding myself to think positively. All of the missing children’s parents and families had been having benefits to raise funds to find their children. I attended most of them, knowing almost all of them in one way or another. All of these children I had seen grow up. That’s what made me sick to my stomach. I never thought these kids would be in a situation like this. A few weeks ago, I had seen them playing at the local park, or walking to the grocery store to buy a Monster before school. This kind of stuff doesn’t usually happen in my neighborhood.
“They were yelling for help,” Willow explained. “I saw them, Mommy! I really saw them!”
“You can’t see them, honey. You can’t!” I yelled at her again. I hated yelling at her. I didn’t want her thinking I was against her, or that I didn’t believe her. I just couldn’t take how things had been going lately.
“Yes I did!” she screamed in my face.
“Okay baby.” I said grabbing her and pulling her toward me and burying her into my warm body. “But now you’ve got to listen to me, and go to bed. Okay? Are you alright?”
“Yes Mommy. I love you.”
“I love you, too, sweet y.”
A few days after the night when I’d found Willow about to fall to her own death, I decided to ask her what had happened. She told me that she wanted to help some of the neighbor kids. I shook when I heard the names of the children that she had claimed to be called out the window by. The neighbor kids that she mentioned were the ones that had gone missing just hours and days before. I thought that she had been dreaming, until this event nearly repeated itself.
The very next night, I again found her crouching on her window frame, and holding on just by her curtains. I drove her to the doctors one last time to make sure she was okay. Nothing was the matter with her. Just like all the other times, as we left the E.R. I could hear the nurses murmuring and giggling under their breath, mocking me as I walked out of the building carrying my child.
On October 18th, I had taken Willow to school, and once I had gotten home, I found myself shaking as I held my cup of coffee in my hands. I sat at my kitchen counter in my bathrobe and bunny slippers, and turned on the news, desperate for another voice to hear but the sound of my own crying, trying to figure out what I was going to do about Willow. The police made a special announcement on the news.
“Good morning New York City!” the news man smiled brightly and said.
“What a wonderful morning it is, Bob!” the woman announced. “The mystery of the mass killing of 12 children this month has finally been cracked. The police are relieved to admit that 7:20 this morning that the 12 children believed to be missing, were found in the basement of an apartment building. All of the children were safe, and none were found dead or even injured at all!”
“No way,” I drug out, astonished, staring into the TV. I got up and looked out the window, to find the cops on the curb, and little Jamie run out to hug his mother, who was waiting, sobbing on the sidewalk of our building. Everything seemed okay for once in this messed up life I had been living. Now all I could think about was Willow and her spells she had been having. The TV grabbed my attention again, and I watched.
“The man guilty of the crime was Harold Peters,” announced the host. This shocked me more than anything. Good old Mr. Peters was an older gentleman who lived downstairs from us. He had a slight mental disability and would never hurt a fly. His nephew Jeremy would come over nearly every day to help Mr. Peters with his household needs.
Jeremy was a good nephew and a good person in general. I had gone out on a date with him nearly a year before, but soon learned that he couldn’t put up with my crazy personality at the time. He and I remained good friends, and often chatted in the halls of the building. Every once in a while, I would invite him over for dinner, and he absolutely adored Willow.
Mr. Peters was an old lonely man who just wanted friends. Reporters say that he wasn’t aware that what he was doing was illegal. He just wanted friends. So Mr. Peters hired a man named John Sadson, to find and kidnap kids. Mr. Peters didn’t know what he was doing was wrong. Sadson was charged with kidnapping for his crime, and Mr. Peterson got off clean. Jeremy was grateful for this. The blood on the neighbor’s floor had been identified as Sadson’s, where Alice, the babysitter had tried to attack him when he crashed through the door trying to snatch up Jamie. Alice suffered no injuries.
Still, the only thing that I couldn’t figure out was what was keeping Willow form living like a normal child of seven. How did she know that they were alive? How could she have heard their cries? I may never know. Some things we will never learn in our existence, but I feel that life is worth living to find out as much as we can. And until I find out what Willow is going through, I will love what God gave me, and I will love her until he takes her back. Maybe what she was given was a gift, not a curse. Either way, maybe someday, she can use it to help other people everywhere. I’m going to love her and accept her for who she is. I would never trade her for any other daughter. And I hope that one day everyone will be treated with love and respect, just as I will love and respect my daughter.