(This is a real and true event; God bless you for reading my words.)
I had a fever the day my mother kissed me goodbye. It was December 4th, 1974, approximately thirty two years, eight months, three days, and eight hours ago. It was a viciously cold day; a moment that will forever haunt my dreams and invade my thoughts.
“You are still hot,” mother’s cinnamon tinted lips brushed my forehead.
“I know,” I feigned a dramatic sigh and bit into a marshmallow and chocolate candy bar.
“Stay warm and take your medicine, I have to go…I am going…to work,” mother pressed her body next to mine; she clutched her velvet blue choker as she hugged me goodbye.
“Why?” I frowned. “We are supposed to put up the Christmas tree tonight.”
“I…I have to go...go to work,” mother’s voice held tears.
I wanted to look into her dark chocolate eyes and ask her if everything was okay but mother’s grasp was firm. “I will always love you,” she whispered tenderly into my hair, “God be with you.”
“I love you too,” I clung to her jasmine scented neck, “God be with you too.”
Mother held me for moments but it seemed like an eternity. “Don’t eat too much candy, you are sick,” mother released her hold and began to button her rabbit fur coat.
Somewhere deep within my innocent soul a barely audible voice whispered that my life would never be the same, this day, this moment, would forever change my life. My skin became clammy; I could feel a marshmallow stuck in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I forced a cough and a gust of air pierced my windpipes. I spit the chocolate covered marshmallow onto the floor. “Momma,” I reached for her.
“I...uh…I must go…” mother refused my hand and nervously tucked at a piece of her peroxide hair.
“Momma,” I muttered. “Please…” I tried to look deep into her eyes but she wouldn’t look at me.
Mother’s body became rigid while she spoke, “please be a good girl,” she demanded. “I have to leave…to work. Listen to your father and please do not give him a hard time,” mother whispered as she turned to leave. “Pray always…I have to,” she clutched her keys.
My heart quickened, I wanted to grab onto her and never let go. But I couldn’t, mother’s face had a strange look and her eyes held a deep sadness. I sat frozen on the couch as she turned the faded brass knob, “I will always love you,” she looked at me one last time. Her face void of color as she turned silently and walked out the door. Chills slid down my spine; the clinking of the lock made me shiver uncontrollably. I silently rocked myself back and forth, “she’ll be back…she loves me,” I steadfastly reminded myself.
Three hours, twenty-three minutes later, my father told me that we were going for a drive. Once we circled town square he informed me that mother had asked him for a divorce and that I was to remain with him.
“Don’t worry, we’ll still have Christmas,” father tried to console me.
“It doesn’t matter,” I whispered, “I don’t want Christmas, I want my mother,” I fought back angry and hurt filled tears.
“I know, I am sorry…but we still have each other and Christmas,” tears trickled down father’s unshaven olive colored cheeks.
I sighed and looked deep into his face. He and I both knew that this Christmas, the scent of peppermint candy would no longer greet us as we entered our home. Our large living room window would not beam with red and green lights, our Christmas tree would not have its usual carefully and beautifully placed white and gold ornaments enveloped within its limbs and covered with tinsel and delicate white lights. The familiar sites and smells of the Christmas season would forever be barren.
“I can’t do this,” father’s fist hit the steering wheel. He looked helpless as he stared through the frosty windshield, “how could she?” Father pulled the car into a vacant parking lot. He closed his tired and swollen deep blue eyes.
“It’s okay,” I removed my pink wool mitten and slipped my hand into his. At this moment, I vowed to never let father know the deep sorrow that stained my heart.
Nine months and twenty-six days later, my beloved mother was murdered by a serial rapist. Sorrow consumed my heart but a deep sadness has penetrated my soul forever.