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The Night

A really painful Sunday Story:

I walked into her room just like I’d walked in every day for the last two weeks; just like I’d walked in every day since I'd brought her there from a stroke caused by the cancer on her brain.

I set my purse down on the windowsill, you know those deep windowsills hospitals have, with vents that can hardly blow those ugly thick striped curtains. I turned toward my mother then.

I turned toward her, and I knew.

I knew.

She was gone.

She didn’t wait for me.

Every day. I’d been there every single fucking day for the last two weeks and still she left in the middle of the night, when I was sleeping and not noticing and couldn’t stop her.

Just like when I was a girl. She left the same way then too. She left when I couldn’t stop her.

And I’d screamed then too. I’d fallen to my knees and screamed and begged for her to come back.

But nothing happened except that nurses came running and they put their arms around me and they tried to pull me to my feet. Just as my dad had done. Just as he had done all those years before, the nurses pulled me to my feet.

But I wanted to be on the ground.

I wanted all of my broken pieces to pour out of me and onto the earth so that I could dig a hole to put them in and cover them up and not have to carry them around with me anymore. I wanted to leave all of those jagged parts in a grave beside her bed so I could be free.

Instead though, I was on my feet and my mother was on her back and gone from this world and it felt the same as twenty years before when I’d found her note on the pillow beside my head.

She was sorry. She’d be back. She wanted me to take care of my father and be loving and kind and do well.

But she wasn’t sorry.

And she didn’t come back for twelve years.

And I couldn’t help my father.

And I was angry and mean and did all things with fear and doubt.

So I went to the windowsill. I reached between the thick ugly curtains and took my purse and turned toward the door and the nurses said something so I stopped and looked once more at my mother.

And then I looked away.

And continued walking.

I continued walking and they called to me, but I didn’t stop.

I walked to the elevator and then onto the street and over a block and another block and into the next town and onto a bus across the state . . .

. . . and the day my mother died became the night.

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