Somewhere in the State of New York
Mom had the eyes of those who know something is wrong because moms know when things are wrong. She didn't say or do anything. She just stayed there, out in the cold winter night, staring at the sky like an enemy, as if challenging God to take her, or, if nothing else, prove his existence to a faith-deprived idler.
I felt strange because I am not used to seeing my mother so helpless. Maybe she is sick, I thought, and that very thought chilled me to the bones because I know that, around here, in this disease riven place, people die when they get sick. This is not an easy childhood, if it is true that there is such a thing, though there must be for it hardly makes sense for things not to have their opposite.
I waited for Mom to come home. I waited, waited, and waited a little more, but as I looked outside for her she was gone, and I thought I had lost her or, maybe, she had lost herself. My sister Sandy and I went out looking for her, but we knew it was useless because it is almost impossible to find people when they don't want to be found.
We searched for her everywhere, but the trees outside were tall and wide, and the bushes too thick to let anyone see through. We called her name out loud, yelled at the darkness, stepped on dead leaves, and heard the dry twigs crackling under our feet. Yet, nothing.
I was scared, very scared. I looked at Sandy, and she squeezed my hand, and said everything was going to be all right, and I felt better because I know she doesn't lie.
We went back home, and Michael was crying, a deep-rooted cry that made me feel so sad and guilty, as if I had killed a dog. We felt sorry for him because we now remembered we had left him alone, and, although we didn't mean it, he was scared and he cried for a long time because he is just two.
We went to bed without mother, and I held Michael close to us this time, and he didn't cry. I asked Sandy to say something, and she said, Something, and we all laughed with our eyes quietly closed as we laid down alone in the upstairs bedroom.
I woke up when strange noises came from downstairs. I thought it was my father, because he always made a lot of noise when he came home, but I remembered I had no father anymore; I remembered I hadn't had a father for almost two years now, since he went away shortly after Michael was born.
It must have been my mother returning from her long walk outside. Maybe she had spoken with God, and He told her to come back home to her children, that they were now cuddled in bed, sharing their body warmth because it was cold, and they had forgotten the bedroom window opened because they are small and can't remember everything.
I wish I could've smiled, or sensed my heart overflow with joy as I heard Mom come back in the house. But all I had was a comforting albeit sterile feeling.
I heard the steps coming up the stairs, the bedroom door cracking open, and I quickly closed my eyes, pretending I was sleeping. I could not see, but I could feel my mother's presence. I got up as she closed the door, and, through the tiny sand-glass shaped keyhole, I could see my mother sitting on the corridor floor crying, her both hands covering her face while her elbows rested atop her folded knees. Suddenly, she took a deep breath, and the movement unveiled the concealed face, and I cold see her sweet soul through her tear-stained eyes.
I wanted to say something. But I didn't.
I went back to bed, and I saw Sandy and Michael sleeping, and I thought that everything would be all right. Just like Sandy had said.