I’m bored mom, I shouted from the love seat right outside the changing room in Nordstrom while my mother tried the dozen clothes that she had taken inside after spending literally an hour searching in the section that had tacky neon and electric pink posters with Sale printed in curly fonts.
I was an 8 year old and an impatient one at that. My mom walked out and handed me a ten dollar bill on which Alexander Hamilton looked away, smiling (more like smirking)
“You can go to the bookstore next door on one condition” she said
“Don’t loiter around, stay in the section for kids” I mimicked in my mother’s accent” (I had finally perfected it).
She smiled at me instead of shouting at me for misbehaving in public, that’s what shopping does to her.
I entered the bookstore, bewildered as ever. One of the women who helped there who remembered me from my previous excursions came to me with a wide, white-toothed smile.
“How can I help you?” she asked sweetly
“Can I go to the kids section?” I said
“Of course love” she replied, catching hold of my hand and guiding me to one of the back aisles.
She took a seat at a corner while I rummaged through fairytales and picture books, graphic novels and comics, mysteries and encyclopedias.
I had a daughter, who looked just like you; she had deep, dark grey eyes, a forever-plastered smile, a crow-like nose, and wavy blonde hair, just like yours. 4 years ago, when she was 7, I was driving her to school. It was just like any other day, my ex-husband called up and shouted, “You’re over Meredith, your happiness is soon going to be taken away and then you can drink as much as you want, drink away to glory.” I retorted, “Shut up you drunkard, go and immerse yourself in your work and bottles of whiskey.” the line was long dead. I cut his call and looked up, staring into the bloodshot eyes of an obviously drunk truck driver.
My car had been split into two vertical pieces. The part where I had been was intact but the part where my daughter had been sitting was in such a bad shape. I could see her hand reaching out to me from underneath the door, I tried to reach out but before I could make a call or save her, her hand went limp.
I ran out of the bookstore on seeing the woman crying, I ran to my mother, crawled inside from underneath the stall and howled like I used to when I was 4.
My mother shrieked first but realizing that it was I, she looked at me, patted my back and pulling me close to her said, “How many times have I told you to stay away from those horror stories, look at yourself, you looked so messed up sweetie.”
I didn’t say a word, just hugged her frail frame and hid my face in her pink fluffy shirt, which had a price tag hanging off the shoulder.