Author: Juju DeRoussie
Tara Maclay entered the hospital service where her mother had her appointments with a bag that seemed heavy for her little frame. She made her way to the front desk, her head barely visible.
"Good morning, I'd like to talk to the Doctor Pulos please," Asked little Tara, for once not intimidated at all. She was on a very important mission. She could only be brave.
The surprised secretary looked up hearing the voice, and then down at the serious like young blonde haired girl.
"Hello little Lady, may I help you?" She asked.
"Yes please, I would like to talk to the Doctor Pulos, it's is very important." Answered the little blonde head, still very seriously.
"Doctor Pulos? There is no Doctor Pulos here Sweetie, are you sure of the name? Do you have an appointment? Where is your mommy?"
"Huh, the name is on this paper, no I have no appointments, but I need to talk to him, it's about my Mamma! It is very very very important. That important!" Said Tara, making a wide gesture with her hands to show how big it was.
"Oh I see, it's the Doctor Rastapopulos." Then checking again the paper, she noticed the name. "Is Rebecca Maclay your mother Sweetie?"
The little blonde nodded.
"Ok, I will call the Doctor right now, did something happened to your Mamma? What is so important? Tell me." Said the secretary. She was a bit worried. She knew that Rebecca Maclay was a patient seriously ill, how seriously she didn't know, she never dared to ask the young woman. But she knew it was serious enough for Rebecca to have gotten upset about two weeks ago. For her young daughter to come here, alone, something must have happened.
She made her call and looked at the young girl, seeing how much she looked like her mother.
Suddenly, Tara felt intimidated. She didn't know what to say to this perfect stranger.
"I just want to talk to the Doctor please." She said, as tears started to come to her eyes. She was really intimidated and still very sad.
The secretary smiled to her and nodded. It was understandable. She just hoped Rebecca was fine.
Rebecca Maclay was worried. Just as her now ex-boss was hugging her good bye, Tara's school called the office to ask if Tara was ok and why wasn't she in class.
Where was her Tara?
She knew she should have walked her to School this very morning. It wasn't usual for Tara to want to go alone. It was actually the first time. Tara had said she wanted her Mamma to rest so they'll enjoy more their time together later.
She should have known something was wrong.
She was now in a panic mode. She needed to breathe. She needed to think.
Another call came in the office for her. Her doctor's secretary this time.
"What? Why is she there? Is she ok?" Asked a panicked Rebecca when the secretary told her Tara came to see the doctor and was with him right at this moment, just to talk to him.
Rebecca let out a sigh of relief. At least her daughter wasn't hurt, or kidnapped or another hundred of things she had imagined in this short moment of panic.
Tara must have had questions she was afraid to ask me. Oh my poor baby girl, what do I put you through? You're too young for all of this.
After promising to come back to say a proper goodbye to everyone and to pack her things, Rebecca made her way out, and to the hospital.
Willow this morning, was feeling strange. Out of place. She was very tired, exhausted even. It must be the cause of this emptiness.
She had spent her night writing letters, making plans, and reading. But she needed to do more research. And she needed help. She still hadn't come out with a plan to ask Giles, the librarian, this help without having him knowing it was a plan for herself. He would try to dissuade her. Or worse, to talk to her.. mother.
Sheila. Not my mother. And definitely never again Mommy. I may still have a mother, but not a Mommy. Thought Willow, her heart broken by the thought, yet unable to deny it.
Friday. It was Friday. Which means that either she'll see her mother during the weekend, either she'll be alone. And without anything to do. Well she had the couch to clean, her laundry to do, the groceries too. She had things to do. But things a 10 years usually do? Nope. Nothing.
Maybe Jesse would come to visit his grand mother. He was a boy of her age, and his grand mother lived in her building. When he came to spend the weekend with his grandma, he spent time with her as well. His grandma was always happy to see Willow. But she never dared to go to see her when Jesse wasn't there.
She hoped he was going to be there, because she really didn't feel like spending the weekend with her mother. Or alone.
Friday were also light in classes. Which meant more time in the library. Good for her research.
But she felt really exhausted.
"Oh Sheila! Good morning! How do you feel today? Better than yesterday I hope?" Asked a middle aged man to Sheila Rosenberg when she entered the Office.
"Oh yes thanks you Robert. I think I just needed some rest. All better now." She answered.
"Oh Sheila, hello. How are you feeling today?" Asked this time a blonde woman in her mid thirties.
"Oh Joyce, I'm fine thanks. How are you? And the girls?"
"Everybody is fine, thank you. And how is your daughter? Is Middle School doing ok? It is not always easy to be younger than the other kids." Said smiling Joyce Summers.
Sheila smiled kindly, but felt guilty. And yet at the same time, proud.
"She's doing fine. She loves so much School. She made friends very easily."
Or did she? She didn't even know if her daughter had friends, if she liked Middle School. Surely she must liked Middle School. She was so excited last summer by the prospect of starting Middle School. But Joyce was right, it was hard at this age to be younger. A year of difference was more difficult to bear than at her own age.
Well she would ask her during the weekend. She had turned down Harry to spend time with Willow.
They would go to the movies together, and do some shopping for Willow. Oh and they would go to the restaurant. She would have a great weekend with her daughter to make it up for the last few months.
But for now she needed to get started on her work.
"But Doctor, Teddy Willow is what I have the most precious after Mamma. I have nothing else I can give you to save Mamma. Please?" Said Tara crying. She wouldn't listen to what the Doctor was saying. She knew she was being childlike. She knew All of this. But she wouldn't give up. She needed to believe there was something possible.
"Tara, there is nothing I would love more than to be able to save your Mamma, unfortunately I can't. All I can do is to try to make her good enough to spend time with you until..."
"NO! She can't die! She will never die! What would I become? I need her! A Mamma can't die!" cried the blonde girl, getting up and getting out of the Doctor's office. Her Teddy Willow clutched tightly against her chest.
While she was talking with the Dr Rastapopulos, Rebecca had arrived.
Seeing her mother, Tara run to her arms and cried even more, the sobs shaking her body. She couldn't talk. She had no hope.
"Don't leave me Mamma! Please? I love you Mamma, don't leave me please."
Her mother tightened her embrace and rocked her gently. Soothing words whispered in her ear.
Rupert Giles was happy to be on Friday. Weekend was on its way, and he and his fiancée would go to a Natural Park. Almost ten years since he's come to live in California, and he hadn't yet went to visit the beautiful natural area the state offered.
However he was worried. He had seen Willow this morning and she was totally out. She was like a zombie. She didn't smile back at him, and the dark lines under her so young eyes were worrisome.
He knew she would be back around 3:15pm as usual, so he made a mental note to offer her some Apple Juice or Orange Juice and some cookies... And an ear to talk to. He knew how it was to be younger than his comrades, and he guessed that young Willow mustn't have the best family either.
She never said anything, but he knew her parents were divorced and that she barely saw him anymore. And now, he has checked, as its work implies he would do, what Willow has read, or at least used during her time. It was a heavy book of Laws. Why a Middle School had a law book in its library, he had no idea. But it seemed Willow needed it. What worried him more was that it was a law book concerning Parental duty, Parental authority, and things like this.
He hoped her home was fine though, not a child in the world deserved bad parents.
He knew something about bad parents...
Rebecca and Tara exited the hospital hand in hand, a heavy silence hanging around.
Tara suddenly broke the silence, but barely, so tiny her voice was.
"He didn't want my Teddy Willow..."
Silence one again gained them as Rebecca was struck by the statement. Teddy Willow wasn't just a cuddle toy. It was Tara's promise. It was the promise to find each other some day. To not forget. Tara couldn't sleep without it. She had a hard time to let it behind to go to school. Much like she had trouble with her doll. But she was 5 then, now she was 8. It just was very important to her. It was sort of her best friend.
And the way she had stated that Dr Rastapopulos didn't want it, it broke her heart all over again.
She didn't know what to say to her daughter. Nothing could make things right. Nothing.
After a "how do you tell to your child you're going to die" book, they should make a "how do you comfort your child after telling them you're going to die shortly". They could do a whole collection.
This bitter thought makes Rebecca shake her head. She looked at her daughter who had her eyes cast downwards.
"Do you want yummy pan cakes baby girl? just you and me for the whole day?" Asked Rebecca.
Tara's head shot up. Did her mother just proposed to skip school entirely and to just have fun together?
"With mapple syrup and OJ and sliced apple?" she said, her voice full of delight.
She could forget for some hours of the tragic end of it all. She could. She would.
"Sure thing my princess! Come on!"
And they went to their flat, starting a mom/daughter day like they had only on weekends and on holidays.
After all, in a week or so I'll have to say goodbye forever, and to let her go to the unknown. God help me so it is not a big deal if she misses one or two days of school. Thought Rebecca.
Willow was so exhausted. She had almost fallen asleep in class. No. Not in class, in MATH of it all!! So yes she hadn't slept the night before and badly the night before that... And yes the class was boring because she was ahead of it when some of her classmates were so behind the teacher had to explained to them at least three times.
Honestly 7th grade isn't that hard... I may be smart, but am not Einstein!
Now it was time to do her homework. There wasn't so much to do. But once it was done she could search a bit more about how to make it legal to live alone before 18, at which age you could do such. She hadn't yet found very much information. She knew all about what an abusive parent could be condemned for, but nothing about being free of her mother before age.
This book of law wasn't really easy. Even as smart as she was, it was still boring to read it, and full of jargon, and also full of notes. Blah blah blah, refers to blah blah blah refers to blah blah blah refers to blah blah bloody blah would say Mr Giles. Even though he would never say bloody in front of her.
There was the Library, her home.
Giles knew Jenny and him should stop. It was past 3:00 pm and so any kids could come in. But she kissed so well. They were just kissing though, nothing too bad. Not making out. Yet it perturbed him that any child could come in and see them kissing.
Finally, the door opening made him and Jenny pull apart. A shy cough was heard, and then a babbled excuse.
"Huh, I'm sorry, I'm going to come back later if you want, huh I'm sorry. Sorry."
Ah Willow. His adorable Willow.
Jenny chuckled and went after the redhead who was trying to find where to go in the hallway of the school, while blushing furiously.
"Willow! Willow wait!" Jenny said after Willow.
Willow stopped dead in her track, fearing a reaction much like her mother's the day prior.
"Hey Willow come in, I'm sorry for what you so. Come in the library, Rupert has brought some cookies and apple juice."
Willow followed her computer class teacher but was very intimidated. She was afraid of being lectured about entering the library without knocking.
It was a weird feeling. To be afraid of Giles, it was something very weird. And it felt very wrong.
With a tiny voice she asked Jenny.
"Am I in trouble to not have knocked? I'm sorry I didn't know I had to knock on the Library's doors, I'm really sorry".
Jenny chuckled once again.
"Sweetie, don't be so sorry. You have done nothing wrong. You don't need to knock on a library's doors. How wrong would that be? Why would you be in trouble? You just walking in a place, and it happens that you saw two person in love kiss. Does it bother you? Do you want to talk about it before we come back in there?"
Willow was shocked. She felt at ease, yet something felt weird. It was so not like with her mother.
She shook her head to say no.
And so they entered the Library where Giles was alone, as all Fridays after school. Who stayed in school after 3:00pm? Only teachers, librarians secretaries and janitors. And Willow Rosenberg.
After the morning's emotions, Rebecca and Tara had had some Mamma/baby girl quality time. They had played together, they had watched a movie together too. they had cooked together. Now, in the middle of the afternoon, Rebecca didn't know what to do to ease her girl's thoughts.
It was a first time for her to not know what to do. Would the situation be normal she would have chase Tara around. But she could not do such a thing anymore.
They would have talked about plans for the weekend or for the next holidays, but she couldn't do that either. Well she could for the weekend. Their last weekend. But she wasn't going to ask to Tara "hey what do you want to do for our last weekend?". There was no way.
The closer she was of this day next week she had think would be best to take Tara to the center, the bitter she became. She wanted her baby girl.
"What do you want to do this weekend sweetie?" She finally asked.
"Can we go to the Aquarium? Please? I wanna see the dolphins." Asked Tara, her eyes shinning at the mention of those cetaceans.
"Sure, everything you want baby girl" Answered Rebecca while kissing her daughter's forehead.
"What about we watch Cinderella now? Please Mamma?"
And our lovely Maclay women watched Cinderella. Both trying to ignore the ache always present in their hearts.