“Just do this one thing for me. That’s ALL I’m asking for, it’s not that hard!”
She sat in silence, the music of the mournful. Her fingers tapped to the rhythm on the table, the distasteful look of such a listener on her face. The scale of things set the chord to be struck and the melody was the air of bitterness that brought her nearly to tears.
“Mom… you always do this.” She sat back in her chair with the mask of patience and the face of defeat. “I told you, I can’t… It’s not a small favor or one thing. Once it’s this, then it’s going to be that. You don’t know how to stop, Mom. You don’t know how to stop asking for favors.”
The mother growled like an animated bear, stomping about the kitchen floor. She pulled at her hair and scratched down her arms. The girl sighed as she watched her, her eyes following her mother as she paced back and forth.
“You make me sound like the bad guy. Well, I’m not the bad guy and you know I’m not! All I want is for you to sleep in bed with me for ONE night, understand? That’s it! I’m your mother, for fuck’s sakes!”
“Mom… I’ve slept in your bed with you every day for a month now. You keep ranting on and on about the monsters, you keep asking me to do things just so you can ‘protect yourself’ but you never tell me what you need protecting from… I’m tired, Mom. You’ve been like this for so long, I can’t even remember when you weren’t. I’m begging you, let me call a doctor. They can help.”
“No! No doctors! I don’t need doctors, I keep telling you, girl. I’m fine, all I need is my baby and I’m fine. You keep trying to send me to the doctor’s office like I’m crazy but I’m not crazy.”
“I’m not saying you are, Mom. I’m just –”
“You are! I can hear it in your voice! You think I don’t, but I do, and I know you’re judging me. I hate that you probably be thinking bout how to put me away. Is that any way to think of your mother? Is it? I raised you, Aveline!”
The girl jumped and slammed her hands on the table, tears now creeping down her eyes – the paint of pain’s brush. “I am NOT Aveline, Mom! For the last fucking time, she died from that fucking shooting a year ago! She’s dead, Mom! She’s DEAD!”
The mother stumbled and propped herself against the kitchen counter. Her eyes were wide, blinded with disbelief. “My baby? My baby Aveline…? No… No, it can’t be… That’s not possible…”
The girl covered her face with her hands and started crying. The mother, seeing this, walked over to her and held the girl in her arms, pressing her daughter’s head against her chest.
“It’s okay, baby. Why are you crying? Mama’s here. Don’t cry…”
“I can’t do it anymore…” the girl muttered between heavy sobs. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…”
“Don’t worry, baby. Oh, hush now, hush. Don’t worry, Mama’s got you. We won’t let those bullies on you no more, hear? We’ll talk to the principal about this. All those derogative names, too. They should have been left back in the sixties, they have no place here now. Oh, it’s okay, Aveline, it’s okay.”
The girl pushed off from her mother and ran to another room, leaving the mother with confusion glistening on her brow. She turned around and started washing the dishes in the sink. She began humming to herself as she went, her hands lathered in soap.
Suddenly, she stopped, a plate falling from her hand to the floor and – Crash! – breaking into pieces on the ground. Her hands began to quiver and her eyes darted wildly left and right. She collapsed on her knees and held her head, her entire body convulsing.
“AH!” Her voice echoed through the entire house and a few moments later, the hurried footsteps reintroduced the girl in the kitchen.
“Mom!” The girl kneeled by her mother and held her around her shoulders. Her eyes briefly caught the mess on the floor, but she ignored it for her mother’s state. “Mom, just breathe. It’s okay, it’s okay.”
“What have I done? What have I done to deserve this? Why, why…!”
“What are you talking about Mom? What’s going on? What’s wrong?”
“My baby! They took my baby! Aveline, Aveline! Baby, where are you? Come to Mama, please! Oh, Lord, they took her! My heart… I can’t, Lord, please…”
“Mom…” The girl pressed her mother’s head on her chest and held her tightly, her own eyes again racing with rivers. “Mom, it’s okay. We can get through this, we can get through it. She would want us to, she would want us to see someone and get the help we need to get past this. It’s not your fault, Mom. You didn’t know what would happen, you didn’t know she’d die that day… There was absolutely nothing you could do. But we can both do something now. We can both help ourselves, we-”
The mother snapped for a shard on the ground, immediately stabbing herself in the back of the hand with it.
“Mom, what the fuck are you doing?!” the girl cried.
She tried to grab her mother’s wrist as the woman tried once more to impale her hand. “Stop!” the girl shouted.
The mother turned to her daughter with a belligerent, crazed glint in her eyes before stabbing her in the thigh with the sharp piece. The daughter scurried back with a pained cry, clutching her thigh as she stared at her mother with fear gripping her neck and covering her eyes.
The mother’s eyes popped as she glanced down and saw her hand covered in blood. She dropped the shard with a gasp before looking to her daughter and seeing her cradle her leg. The mother was a ghost as she withstood the heated glare from her daughter and the shard that she held up against her mother.
“Stay back! Stay the fuck away from me!”
The girl rose and hurried out of the kitchen, limping out of the house with blood trails left behind. The mother slumped over and covered her face; her shoulders shook with silent sobs.
“I’m sorry… I’m sorry, Aveline… I’m sorry…”