Author: Juju DeRoussie
The weather was nice. Really nice. It was warm yet not too hot, there was a light breeze now and then, but no bothering wind. Here and there, on a tree you could hear some birds singing their love and happiness. It was a Friday, so people around were only thinking about the weekend, and going through work with plastered smiles on their faces.
It was a perfect day for most people. So beautiful and full of promises.
Willow had enjoyed her mother's efforts for a few months now, and endured the shame at night to here her mother having sex with men. Yes plurals. She had tried many things to not hear the moans and grunts but they were so loud. She wore wax earplugs every night now, it kept the noise at bay... most of it anyway. The worst was in the mornings. She would wake up to a silent home, make herself ready for school alone like she had always had to, but also clean things she didn't want to know about. Sometimes a man or another was asleep on the couch, almost naked. It always freaked her out. She was scared of those strangers.
She had understood by now what happened at night. However, it did not mean she understood how it happened. How her mother could be so careless about all of it. She felt as if her mother was forgetting about her as soon as it was bedtime. Moreover, this feeling was making her feel guilty because she knew her mother was already making time for her and she should feel grateful. Lately the guilt was eating her up.
So much that she even skipped class. Yes, Willow Rosenberg skipped class. She was walking aimlessly in the sun, enjoying its rays' light caress on her pale skin. She had walked like this for some hours now; she had escaped her very busy home in a hurry at 6:30, one hour before she had to for her bus.
That morning she went downstairs after having showered and with her school bag all set; she had come to a very weird scene and it had scared so much that she had to run away. Her mother had laid on the sofa, fully naked and only covered by two male bodies. Naked as well of course. And the smell had been horrible, a combination of what she knew now was sex and sweat. It had been so strong that she had been scared to be sick. She had been scared. Period.
She did not want to face anybody, nor "home". She just wanted to be alone.
Willow found a shadowy spot near an abandoned warehouse and sat. Silently crying.
She wiped her sweaty palms on the dark fabric once again. This dress was awful but it was not supposed to be pretty anyway. But it was also uncomfortable, the kind of dress too warm and itchy. And shapeless. A sack.
Yet she did not care one bit, she actually could not care less. Was she wearing something? Then what? Who cared about what could happen now? She did not care one bit. Well almost.
"Hey T, come on let's go, Dr Rastapopulos is here" said a dark haired girl to a blonde headed girl. Automatically Tara got up, smoothed her dark dress and followed the other girl downstairs. Well at least she was not alone. Well not exactly.
"I'll bring them back right away Mrs. Robinson, don't worry." Said Dr Rastapopulos to a middle-aged woman. She nodded at him and then looked at Tara, her eyes full of sympathy for the poor young girl.
The red haired girl got up from her shadowy place and walked inside the warehouse. She had never been there for it was forbidden and Willow Rosenberg never went were she was not allowed to. But today...
Today was a brand new one, and a brand new Willow was born. She mourned herself but she could not ignore the change. She could not avoid it either.
Today she would stop hoping things would really change, from now on she would make them change or face them.
Tara was so angry. It was not a usual emotion for the young blonde head. Especially not when it was toward this person. Her mother. Yet here she was, feeling so many things. Anger was one of the emotions. As well as guilt, love, sorrow. Betrayal. She also felt betrayed. However, any time a negative feeling would make its way in her heart, guilt would wash tenfold.
How could she abandon me? How could she leave like that? How could she have lied to me about where we were going? Angry tears menaced to over flow her eyes and she blinked them away.
She had not seen her mother in over 7 months now. She remembered the haunted and desperate look in her mother's eyes when she dropped her to the youth center. This look would never fade away from her memory. She had fought then. Not wanting to let her mother go.
She had fought for months after that. She had fought against kids who were very mean and trying to steal her few possessions, she had fought against the staff for not letting her go away. Later, she had fought to not go to the foster family. But mostly she had fought the tears and the despair that found her every so often.
In all this fighting, her gentle soul had cherished even more Willow's memory. The only moment she did not fight was when she was curled in a fetal position in the darkness of her bedroom at the center. Even though she was not alone in the room, she still felt free there. So she could hold on Teddy Willow for dear life and cry herself to sleep. It was her only comfort.
Now she wished she had taken it with her. She was grateful that Faith was coming along. It was the only friend she made at the center, and they had been both lucky enough to end up in the same foster family. She was not Willow, but let's be honest, at least she was real. Sometimes Tara wondered if Willow was. And, even if she was, it was one day in her life. It was all. Nothing more.
Yet nothing held more importance that this day now. Her dearest memory.
"I know you mustn't be hungry but... Do you want to go to eat something on our way there?" Asked the middle aged doctor.
Tara stayed silent, empty eyes looking at her folded hands. Faith looked at her and said "Would you mind Sir?"
The man shook his head and said "IHOP?"
Faith nodded enthusiastically. Tara kept on fighting her negative feelings.
A loud bang had woken her up that morning. She believed it was Willow who had not been careful when closing the flat's door. In any cases she had not been able to go back to sleep afterwards.
Although she had been surprised to find herself between two handsome men, she soon had recovered and had decided to give them a good waking call. This had been very much enjoyed.
And now she was late for work. Actually, she was more than late for it was about noon by now. Strangely, she did not care. She was tired to go to this place where people were all so serious and did not know fun. She took right there and then a decision: to quit her work.
What's the point in going to that place anyway? I'll find a better and funnier job. I still get money from those videos Harry made of us. Yeah that's it. I'm quitting this boring place!! Thought Sheila.
As her "friends" left her place, she promised them to see them again soon, and then cleaned a bit the mess they had done the night before, starting by putting away the video camera. When she went to the kitchen to fetch some stuff to clean, she found herself unable to know where things were put.
Now now, where does a genius 11 years old girl put all the cleaning stuff? Of course! The closet under the stairs!
That was one of the thing Sheila loved the most about her flat: it had a second floor. Of course, she would have preferred a house but she could not afford one. If she had not had a kid to raise by herself she could have though. Sometimes she resented Willow for having kept her from doing so many things!
I guess I can't go back anyway... Plus Willow isn't a bad daughter, and she isn't needy. I suppose I can't actually complain? On this thought, Sheila started her cleaning session.
Hunger made her leave the wonderful place that was the warehouse, but she promised herself she would come to investigate it some more after having found something to eat.
She looked into the depth of her pockets, bag, and found about 4 dollars in small change. She went to a drugstore not far and bought a bottle of water and a sandwich.
She made her way back to the warehouse and sat against a huge pillar while she ate there, day dreaming of living there. She could imagine the place so well in her mind. Right now, there was no more beautiful place than her daydream house. It included Tara, making the warehouse the real castle where they both were safe and happy.
She fell asleep with a smile on her face.
After a stop at an IHOP as promised, they went back on the road.
After about half an hour, they parked. Tara exited the car and headed like a zombie toward the open gates.
The dark haired girl jogged to her friend and put a comforting hand around her shoulders, squeezing once to tell her she was there if ever needed.
Tara suddenly stopped. She did not know what directions to take, thankfully the gentle Doctor reached her and smiled to her. In a sweet and low voice, he said "Over there, up the hill, under the tree over there. I'll be right behind ok?" at her nod he turned back to greet some nurses.
Both girls made their way to the spot indicated by Dr Rastapopulos in silence.
Tara felt her chest get heavier and her heart tighten. A big lump formed in her throat and her eyes burned. Her hands began to shake and breathing was harder and harder.
They arrived and she fell on her knees, a cry of anguish escaping her lips, her face a broken grimace.