Author: Juju DeRoussie
In a darkened bedroom, a young girl was sitting still on her bed. It was 6:47 am, and it seemed to Willow it had been like that for the last hour. She was nervous and excited at the same time. She had slept only 6 hours, but it had been enough. Today was her first day in Middle School. Today she was going to be a 6th grader. A 10 year old 6th grader. She could have gone last year though, but her mother never had time to meet her teachers, so nothing had been done.
Today though, was the big day. She was a big girl now. But the time wouldn't run normally. Strangely Willow noticed it was slower. She had awoken at 5:39 am, had tried to sleep a bit more. But it was no use. She was just too excited and nervous. So she had showered, dressed, and checked her bag for the billionth time. She couldn't eat.
She thought about going to watch a bit of TV, but she'd rather wait for her mother to wake up. Just to be sure not to wake her. It would make her grumpy, and this day was just too important for Willow to have to deal with a grumpy Sheila.
Only a year ago, her mother was still waking her up with a glass of Orange Juice at 7:00 am before going to work. But 3 months ago her mother got a new shift, and she started her day at 9 o'clock. So she preferred stayed in bed as long as possible. The more sleep she got, the less alcohol stayed in her blood. Or so she thought.
Willow sighed. She would have liked a special breakfast for this special day. But it was not meant to be. She got up and went to the kitchen to prepare her lunch and tried to eat something before leaving.
She glanced one last time at her clock alarm while grabbing her bag, 6:53 am.
She still had 20 minutes before she had to catch her bus. Hopefully preparing her lunch will take some time.
Ten minutes later Willow was once again ready to go. So she just sat there. Waiting. Her mind raced through different scenarios of this day. Will her age be a barrier? Will she make friends? Will she enjoy her classes? This last question was almost rhetorical. She loved to learn things. The summer had been a hell for her. Well almost all summer. She had gone to a summer camp for most of the time and she had managed to learn some stuff. But after camp she had been alone the whole day, with no books to read. She had read all the books in her home at least 3 times each. Except for the ones her mother kept in a locked cabinet. With videos. She had thought of trying to see what was in it, but she was a nice girl. Not a sneaky girl. As much as she was curious, she was also afraid. Afraid of what may be in there, and afraid of making Sheila Rosenberg angry. She already had to deal with a grumpy Sheila at night. That was more than enough.
Contemplating what her day would be like, Willow managed to make the time run a little more normally. She was 2 minutes early, but hell! Two minutes early would not be as suspect as 2 hours!
As silently as possible she exited her home and her building, to go to live the most important day of her life so far.
He hated to have to say things like that. To anybody, but especially to people like Rebecca Maclay. People that nice should never have to hear such things. They should live happily ever after. But it was of no use.
She was sitting across his desk, waiting patiently for him to speak. She has always been patient, even compassionate over the two last months of appointments.
She was patient and compassionate when she should have been the one to break down. But she had managed these appointments, her job, and raising her daughter. She was an Amazon.
"Mrs. Maclay, we just received the last results." He said softly, wishing his words could be taken in the wind and never come back, never ever come to Rebecca's ears.
"I know Doctor, and I suppose they tell what we knew they would, right?" Interrupted Rebecca.
"I fear so my dear. I asked the best doctors I know, unfortunately they, like me, have no clue as to what it is. I've done some research and found another case similar to yours. I'm afraid we can't really help you Mrs. Maclay. I am so sorry." Doctor Rastapopulos answered her. His voice was thick with guilt. He became A doctor to help people, and to fight diseases. But sometimes, no matter how much he wanted to, he couldn't help his patients.
Rebecca nodded her head absently, taking in the news she dreaded hearing. For two months now she was running tests to try to understand what she has. Everything started with tiredness, and very pale skin. I am going to die. Of course everybody was going to die, but she wasn't ready to die! Oh my god! Tara! The thought of her baby girl made her break down.
"Tara..." Rebecca cried.
"Mrs. Maclay, I know this is very sudden and all, and maybe you need some time to digest this information, but there are things we need to talk about. Do you want to come back tomorrow? Or are you ok to continue?" He asked. He knew it was not something easy to hear, hell how can a "you're gonna die and we can do nothing about it" be taken lightly? But he had to talk to her, about her possibilities for her daughter, about how long they estimated she still had... About all these things you should never have to discuss, well, not before your eighties.
Rebecca knew he cared about her. Not in a romantic way of course, but he has always been very kind to her. But for once she wanted to snap at him. She needed to snap at someone. She needed to find someone to be responsible for that. Or to give her their life so she could stay with her daughter at least until she was a grown up. She took some deep breaths to calm herself. She needed to hear what else he had to say.
"Please Doctor, continue, what is it you have to say?" She asked, trying to smile but failing miserably.
Her gesture wasn't lost on the Doctor Rastapopulos though. It meant a lot to him. Once again she was kind and supportive.
"We've tried to estimate how much... how much time you still have. I fear it is only a few months. In a couple of weeks, maybe a month, you probably won't be able to work anymore. And then things may go fast. I know it is not easy to hear all of that. It is not easy to say them either. I am very grateful for your kindness and patience Rebecca." He had tears in the corner of his eyes.
She nodded. She couldn't talk. She couldn't do anything. She had thought she would at least have something like a year. I guess not. What was she going to do? She had nobody to take care of Tara.
In a strangled cry, she ask the most important question of her life.
The doctor nodded, he had asked a social agent for some information. He knew she would ask. He knew her daughter was more important than anything.
"I have some information. There are a few possibilities. Is there someone who could take care of her and become her guardian?" She shook her head. She had nobody since her own parents died. And Tara's father.... he didn't want anything to do with her or Tara.
"Then, there is the possibility of Tara going in a shelter, and if she is lucky she'll have a foster family. I have heard that in our state there are numerous foster families and that children often have a normal childhood," she was now crying freely, "I know I know... I am sorry Rebecca."
Her body was shaking with the sobs... Her baby girl in a shelter... Her baby girl all by herself... That was worse than knowing she would never see her daughter become a woman, and never be able to witness the most important moments of her life. The knowledge that Tara would not have her mother to comfort her in the most horrible moments of her life was worse than the pain she felt from her illness. Like at her mother's death, Tara would be alone.
Rastapopulos gave her some brochure he had got from the social agent. He still had something to say, but didn't know if he could. He tried anyway.
"Rebecca... I thought about something, and I even took the liberty to ask the powers that be in the hospital. I thought, maybe you could spend these last weeks with your daughter, and then, well I know this will sound horrible but I thought maybe, you could come to the hospital then, and if you wanted, we could try to understand what you have, even try some treatments? The hospital would pay for everything, and you wouldn't have to worry about the money. You could even put everything in an account for your daughter's studies and come here with nothing else. I know it is a lot to take, but please think about it?"
She nodded. She couldn't talk.
They said their goodbyes after having planned another appointment.
Rebecca's head was throbbing, her heart was aching. She needed to go to work now, but tonight she would enjoy the beginning of the last moments she had with her daughter.
It was pure hell. Middle school was hell. The classes were nice, not as exciting as she thought it would be. There was a class which was wonderful. Computer Lab was her heaven. She never had the occasion to use a computer, but she couldn't wait to use them. However, Middle School was a living hell.
Her first week was not even over and she was already in the nerd category. Thanks to her clothes and her young age. She was only one year younger then most of the 6th grade students, but one year was too much. She tried to not listen to them, and managed most of the time. But there was still sometimes when it hurt.
But as much as Middle School was hell, it had much goodness too. Home didn't.
Tonight, like any other night of the week, Thursday to be precise, she came back to an empty home.
She had not really see her mother since Sunday night. You would have thought that her mother would have come back home early on Monday to hear about her daughter's first day in Middle School. No. She hadn't.
That hurt much more than comments about her wardrobe or about her being a baby. It hurt much more than anything else.
And tonight, she wished her mother could have been here. She needed her comfort. Today she had had her first gym class. And it had been horrible. Not the gym itself, there were a few clumsier people than herself, but the shower part had been hell. At this age one year was a lot of difference.
But of course her mother wasn't there. Her home was empty. As empty as the bottles on the floor near the sink in the kitchen. As empty as Willow's heart right now.
She went directly to her bedroom, and laid in her bed, face first. She clung tightly to her pillow. She cried. She cried for all the things she missed in her home, for all the emptiness besides school, and for the things people teased her about all day long at school. Turning her head so she would be able to breath, she saw her doll. She clutched it tightly, for dear life. Her Dolly Tara was her most precious thing.
Suddenly she wondered how Tara was. She had such love in her home. She should feel jealous of her, but she wasn't. She was just happy for her little friend. It was so strange. They had known each other for one day. They hadn't seen each other or spoken since that day, and still. Every day she would take care of her doll, cuddle her at night. Whispering all her secrets to this doll. And wondering how Tara was doing.
Three years of time had erased a bit of Tara's face, but she remembered very well her pouty lips, and her bright blue eyes. Her blonde locks. And their promise. To not forget the other. To take care of Dolly Tara, and Tara to take care of Teddy Willow.
Her tears had stopped, but there was still sadness in her green eyes. She looked blankly at the wall, clutching her Dolly Tara, and fell asleep.
Rebecca was happy to be out of work. It had been one of the hardest days in a long time. She wanted only one thing: to go back home. Once she was home she would take a hot bath with some candles, and some bath oil. Lavender would be great for her. Then she would spend her evening with the most amazing child ever. Her daughter.
Her baby girl... She still hadn't decided on how to talk to her. How do you tell your daughter something like this? Instead of all these books about how to raise a child, they should write about how to announce your death. Rebecca thought bitterly. A book. That was a good idea now that she thought about it.
She started to imagine a story she would tell her baby girl at bedtime. Of course Tara was too old to have A story at bedtime, but sometimes she didn't mind her mother's quirks. Hopefully when Rebecca will have the story ready her daughter will be willing to hear it. Maybe if she told a story to Tara it would prepare her a bit. She wanted to ease as much pain as possible.
She made her way to her house still thinking about this story. Once there she took her very much needed hot bath. Tara would be home in less than half an hour.
Willow awoke with a start. She didn't want to fall asleep. She still had some homework to do. Well not real homework, she had done it at the library, but reading and stuff.
She got up and went to the bathroom to clean her teary face. In front of the mirror she couldn't help but stare at her profile. Nope, not the tiniest bump on my chest... She was still a baby, they were right. Oh and why was she so worried about that? Everything will come in time.
Willow made her way downstairs, turning on the TV, and then going to the kitchen. She made herself some dinner. She had learned last year how to cook from a book. She had wanted to try as soon as she had finished her book and her mother had helped her during the weekend. Maybe that was why her mother came back home later now. She knew Willow didn't need her to make dinner. Tonight though she didn't want to lose time to make herself dinner... She just wanted to have something in her belly. She decided on some mixture from a can. She wasn't sure what it was, but it tasted ok. And it was easy, open the can, put the food in a plate, put the plate in the microwave, and when it is ready, go eat it in front of the TV. A child could do it... Wait, I am a child.
Dinner alone was becoming an habit for Willow. She wasn't sure she minded. She knew her mother had to work hard, and it was normal that she had a bit of good time with her friends after work. As long as they spent their weekends together, Willow was ok. Or so she said.
The evening passed by, Willow had dinner and even a snack. She wanted to wait for her mother. To say hello at least. But it was past bedtime already, almost 10 'clock, and she needed to sleep.
She went to bed with heaviness on her chest, regretting not being able to see her mother today.
After having put on her pajamas, she turned her alarm on and cuddled under her blankets with her Doll. Goodnight Dolly Tara.
Rebecca exited Tara's bedroom. She hadn't been able to tell her the story yet. It wasn't ready. You can't come up with something in less than 24 hours. Maybe Tara had noticed how her mother was touchy with her. Rebecca couldn't help. A little kiss on the forehead, a little hug... She wanted to give as much as possible before the end.
Rebecca took her pills and went to bed, trying to relax a little before drifting to sleep.
Sheila Rosenberg was drunk. It didn't happen often. It took a lot to get her drunk. But tonight she was. There was a sort of improvised party for a friend's retirement. He had told nobody he retired, and came up this day with a surprise party for himself. And there were lots of drinks. Beers, wine, whisky, vodka... She had a little of everything. Well not a little... But who cared? She was happy. Maybe it was her drunken state, but she felt happy. Happier than she had felt in years and years. And she felt desired too. A man had flirted with her all night long. She had given in to his game. He wanted more, and so did she. She hadn't been touched by another person since her divorce. Before that it wasn't the most amazing experience.
She had warned him that she had a daughter, so they went to his own place. They played a lot this night, and when he asked to film her, she said yes. She was happy. She was desired and worth it to be on a video. She loved home made video. They were always more realistic than the others.
At the end of the night, she had been fucked enough to fill the emptiness she had felt for the last 13 years. He was willing to see her again, and gave her his number. It was up to her to call him or not. She was happy.
It was past 5 o'clock when she got home, and she went directly to bed, not willing to get rid of the sex scent on her. She drifted off to sleep almost immediately.