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Tap, tap, tap, “Mama I had a bad dream.”
My silhouette fills her vision as she untangles herself from sheets. Mumbles of make room, and rustling from easy movements.
Papa sits up, “Come here Marilyn, you can sleep with us for tonight.”
My heart beat slows down, the hum of snores from each side as my parents sleep are comforting. Everything starts to close in and sleep over comes me as a haze. Always having felt comfort as a child whenever the night became restless, knowing their arms were open when the sadness fell over me.
At sixteen, feeling they wouldn’t understand I had no one to turn to. The sadness were the creeping shadows making my way down the hall, no matter how bright the neon orange walls in my room were, the sadness was hiding under my bed. In the dark places it waits, cornering me until there is no choice but to give in.
“Marilyn, what’s wrong?” Mama would ask, as I leaned against the frame entering the kitchen, my mind was blank. Watching her chop the vegetables with precise cuts, the blade entranced me which lead to wonderment. Would the blood look as delectable as the juice from the tomato? The word nothing hangs in the air between us, more silence, and my interaction for the day was done. Walking back to my room I could almost hear the tears fall down mama’s cheek, almost.
Trying not to think about the pain mama felt my hands automatically pulled the comforter around me and reached for the book sitting on the night stand. Needing escape, the worlds of fairytales and abandonment embraced me. The shadows floated above my head, in the closet, waiting outside the door. Depression is everywhere and I can’t escape it. Making me feel cold and alone isn’t something that appeals to me; leaving the thoughts in my mind racing while my mouth refuses to open. Knock, knock, its Mama with a plate or broccoli and dip, my favorite snack.
“You know you need to get out of the room and do something, you can’t spend the rest of the day in bed.”
Mmhmm, making room for her on the bed the heat radiates to me. It makes me angry knowing she doesn’t have to feel like this, it’s not her fault though. Mama’s talking but I can not really hear her, chew, chew, “Are you listening to me?”
The spot of ink on the yellow comforter is mesmerizing, “no.”
Sighing she gets up, kisses the top of my head and walks out. There is an empty feeling left in the bed and nothing appeals to me anymore, grabbing at my hair the tears come out again, my friends. Giving me their soft touch, assuring the next day could possibly get better. The shadows taunt, laugh and dance around as they watch me cry. Feeling smaller than ever, wanting to cry out to Mama, but I can’t, just can’t. Back into my cave of security, the walls are plush, and they give me their warmth not complaining about my icy skin.
It’s three o’clock and Angelique is home. Annoying as ever but she brings me other emotions besides hate and emptiness. Laughing she jumps on the bed, there it is a glimpse of what I was like in the past; yearning for it, then realizing it’s not me, depressing. Like a bird she chirps and chirps about her day, the dilemma with her locker and the fat boy that calls everyone names on the bus. Giggling at her petty problems she puts on a show, reenacting how the duel with the fat boy and our midget neighbor went down. I’m warm, not because of the blankets but because of the joy building up. The laughter keeps coming, pains in my stomach, face turning red, and gasping for air, the scene Mama finds when she is wondering what all the laughter is about. Relieved that an emotion has registered within me, she tickles us till our screaming pleads to stop make her start to laugh.
Happiness; it is momentary but there. The shadows are afraid, hiding in the dark places of my room, they are afraid of Angelique and her joy. Seeing the battle, my dark shadows against hers full of light. They shrink back to the closet, under the bed, any where there is darkness. Shadows, oh shadows, you cowards can’t even face your fears; smiling to myself Mama hugs us both. Her red hair fills my field of view, the distant perfume is sweet and her arms feel secure around me.
“Mama,” it is a small cry but she hears it. “Yes?” I’m praying she won’t let go, the shadows are eager to see what I have to say, “I love you.”